We’re on TV!

Today was the first official day of the tour and it was packed with activities. All participants gathered at the Mercedes-Benz Museum along with dozens and dozens of other electric cars – since we were going to attempt beating the current world record for the longest electric car parade, which was 305 cars and vehicles. Long story short, we succeeded and lined up no less than 507 cars and vehicles. We also managed to create this picture which includes everyone involved. If you want to try and spot our car, look out for the Swiss flag in the “A” of Stuttgart.

There’s also a TV report on Swiss regional Tele 1 that shows the most important bits of today. Again, look out for the blue car with the large Swiss flag on the roof, that would be us – it shows up several times. The real milestone though is this report where we have a prime moment, lasting exactly 0.8 seconds right at the beginning of the report; so we’re famous now.

In any event, later on we left for Heilbronn where we presented our cars on the Rathaus square – we got lots of interest and answered many questions about charging, range and batteries.

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From there, we moved on to Wolpertshausen for dinner and will now spend the night on a horse ranch in the middle of nowhere. This will also be our excuse for not posting too many pictures today because we are having a hard time getting a data connection at all here. We’ll see how cell coverage will be in the next few days…

Nevertheless I can’t resist and post this picture of a 220b spotted in the midst of  Stuttgart traffic. I know some of you will enjoy this… you know who you are.

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Getting serious…

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After leaving Trossingen in the morning and stopping for lunch somewhere on the way, we arrived in Bietigheim by the end of the afternoon. Finally, the big picture is coming together since now all 78 teams were assembled on the same parking lot – that’s quite a view. Unfortunately, cars were cluttered and trees in the way so there were no clean pictures to be taken. I’m sure there will be other opportunities to show all cars together in one frame.

The big news is, since the race is now on, we are now wearing our team dress. Now that sounds at least one order of magnitude more dramatic than it is, because we just both wear the same shirt with our mascot on the front and our team name on the back. yaay…

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Later in the evening, the pre-race team briefing took place; roadbooks and timeplans are now issued and have to be studied carefully. it looks like we have a short night ahead of us since there is some homework to be done…

Today’s featured car is a Volkswagen T2 bus, originally from the german THW Katastrophenschutz; later imported into Switzerland, it was converted to electric power by Designwerk. It now has a 100 kW electric motor, but the power is artificially reduced to keep the gearbox from disintegrating. It does run properly though and has a range of over 300km on one charge. We think it’s totally cool and I’m sure a few of you people out there will think alike. Its most important features are listed on the Designwerk website.

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On the move

We had a leisurely start today. After picking up Erich of Team Lightning Rods on the way, we moved on to Dachsen where we met Team Roadrunner, Max and Simon. We used a local charging Station to power up.

 

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Toys for the boys

While the cars were charging, we had a great time chatting and kicking tyres. But things got wild when Erich pulled out his latest toy: an RC drone with a camera. That pretty much made our day…

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We successfully annoyed the locals by flying around over their houses and took minutes if not hours of spectacularly boring video footage. Still, we couldn’t restist and posted a twenty second video clip here on YouTube. Note that it might not show properly in IE – in that case please use a different browser and complain directly to Bill Gates.

There’s not much to report about the rest of the day… an uneventful drive through the rain, we’re now spending the night in some kind of cabin up in the woods. Tomorrow should be more exciting since we’ll meet more teams along the way, and all 78 teams will be on site at Bietigheim tomorrow evening for the official briefing – the tour starts on Saturday morning at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, so stay tuned.

I keep saying this, but make sure you check our facebook wall on a regular basis since we’ll be posting pics and comments on the run as we progress.

Our ride

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During the WAVE Trophy, we’ll be driving a 2012 Nissan Leaf. You can find specs and opinions here and here. Other than that, I assume most of you will know how to use Google to find further information.

Even though it seems like a tiny little critter with limited power, it is surprisingly fun to drive, mostly due to the electric motor. Unlike combustion engines, the maximum torque is available over the whole rpm range, which makes it take off like a rocket when you step on it. Of course, that’ll cost you in battery range… But that grin you get on your face is priceless so who cares.

We’ll see how the Leaf fares across Germany and in the Alps. I think we have lots of fun ahead of us…

Meet our mascot

It’s time to introduce James “Wattwurm” the mascot. Hopefully he’ll keep us out of trouble and bring us luck.

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We’ll be the first to admit that the pun about “Watt” only works in german, since a Wattwurm would be a Lugworm in english, due to the fact that what is referred to as Watt in german is called intertidal zone in english. In our opinion, that sounds rather boring and dull which makes the whole thing a bit disappointing.

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In any event, we hope you’ll forgive us this linguistical mismatch and enjoy following our adventure anyway. James will be sitting on the rear view mirror of our Nissan Leaf and will be watching the road for us.