Cross continental car race along the world’s longest charge network

The world’s longest charge network makes it possible to travel by electric vehicle from Seattle on the west coast of North America, via the trans Canadian Highway to North America’s east coast. Over 3,500 miles over an entire continent.

To prove it, the pioneering charge network operator/integrator Sun Country Highway Ltd organised the world’s longest Electric Vehicle Tour – the E-mazing Race, which was successfully completed by a handful of privately owned EVs at the weekend.

The event stretched from Seattle, Washington to Summerside, Prince Edward Island, via the Sun Country Highway Charging Network – a journey of around 3,500 miles depending on the route.

The rally is promoted as “a celebration of conquering one of the most climate diverse, vast and geographically challenging continents in the world… North America. As well, for the first time in the history of the world, an EV charging network is ahead of the automotive industry, it can charge virtually all EVs faster than what they can handle. Oh, and cooler yet.. this coast to coast connection was completed in less than a year without government assistance.”

I think the last bit is worthy of repeating: without government assistance.

The basic model is to supply low-cost chargers to municipalities, businesses of all sizes and EV owners. Charge points include hotels, motels, guest houses, restaurants, supermarkets – any businesses keen to support EVs and attract new customers: the growing number of EV owners. Chargers are installed according to local demand, and a network is born.

Sun Country Highway provide a map and an online trip planner for EV owners, adding every new installation when it comes online and updating people if chargers are out of service.

Because many of the businesses and municipalities install the chargers to attract customers or to encourage EV uptake, it is often completely free to charge up – want to travel the entire continent for free? Quite a proposition.

It’s a smart model which has enabled them to build a large network without huge support from the Canadian tax payers, and they have nicely proved a point with this rally.

Quoting an interview by The Journal Pioneer with Kent Rathwell, President of the Sun Country Highway Charging Network: the event was kept deliberately low key to prevent overloading the infrastructure.

“One of the things we set out to do across Canada in the last year and half was to create the world’s most reliable charging network. Even in the electric vehicle realm they said we were crazy, you couldn’t do it, and you couldn’t do it without government money. Well, who’s crazy now?”

The company has been installing their charging systems, for free, at various stops along the Trans Canada Highway and succeed in going coast to coast in 2012.

“Really this was a test of our network to see what people thought of it – and especially what Americans thought of it, because they don’t have anything like this down there. That’s really where the electric vehicle is the strongest, and yet they don’t have the infrastructure that Canada has now”

Visit the e-mazing race website here: e-mazingrace.com

Original story by Canada’s Journal Pioneer – see press coverage here: Electric cars finish continent-wide rally in Summerside – The Journal Pioneer

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