A TESTING Scottish rally which set out to show what electric vehicles (EVs) can do has been so successful it is to become an annual UK event. Launched as the EV Rally of Scotland (EVROS), the aim was to knock down some of the myths and misinformation surrounding EVs by proving they are capable of travelling many miles on a single charge and that the public infrastructure exists to support them even in the most remote places.
The 1200+ mile drive took place in Scotland over five days during COP26, across some of the most challenging terrain in Europe and gathered so much attention that it featured in news bulletins as far away as the US and Australia.
Sponsors, manufacturers and drivers have already signed up for next year when it will become the Great British EV Rally and will attempt to send EVs from John O’Groats to Land’s End. The first event, which began and ended in Glasgow and reached as far as Thurso, showcased the range of EVs now on the market, with five teams and 19 cars and vans taking part.
“E-mobility and the decarbonisation of transport is seen as a key element to help drive the shift towards net zero and the rally was designed to show that when it comes to EV use, Scotland and the rest of the UK are leading the way,” said rally organiser Colin Boyton of PSI Group’s GREENFLEET Events. “What we were trying to prove is that EVs are not going away and are more than capable of being your everyday family car or your everyday work vehicle, be that car or van.”
Boyton pointed out that the range and the technology of today’s EVs is far superior to the first generation that hit UK roads almost a decade ago and are now more than capable of driving in excess of 200 miles on one charge. Day three of the rally did, in fact, involve 320 miles of driving, pushing the EVs to the limit but every single one managed the distance. The participating manufacturers and sponsors of the event were Polestar, Kia, Maxus and Stellantis, comprising a vehicle each from Citroen, Peugeot, DS, Vauxhall and Fiat. EV charging specialist, SWARCO, who manage the ChargePlace Scotland network, were the official charging and innovation partner, joined by the Michelin Scotland Innovation Parc (MSIP) in Dundee.
The AA were the roadside assistance partner, having recently introduced a dedicated EV support service but the only job they were required to do was check some tyre pressures. “It just goes to show how reliable EVs are,” said Boyton. “The maintenance and cost of a combustion engine is far greater than that of an EV which has far less to go wrong.”
With EV leasing being one of the ways of financing an EV, be it for work or private use, the rally was joined by leasing and financing specialists Vanarama.
Support on the rally came from Maxus, who provided an all-electric eDeliver3 van to the organiser’s crew, while Polestar provided the staff and media support along with Western Commercial.
“The rally was fantastic,” said Boyton. “Yes, we had some challenges but we knew we would and, despite them, we did what we set out to do which was to push the boundaries of what is thought to be possible in an EV. Having 20 plus EVs descending upon the same part of the charging network at one time was always going to stretch it and push it to its limits but we did it and overall the ChargePlace Scotland network held up. Not once did we have anyone run out of charge which was great.”
He added: “The vans had a trickier time than the cars, predominantly because of their more limited range, but again they performed very well and went round in one piece. Nobody believed for a second they could get round but they did, all four of them. The longer-range vehicles showed where EVs have got to now in terms of range and capacity and were capable of doing well over 300 miles on one charge.
“There was a nice variety of the other vehicles and all of them performed over and above what they thought they would. To be brutally honest, I did think the Fiat 500E which had the lowest range, would struggle but it was absolutely superb.”
This article was brought to you in association with EVROS