Forty-nine provincial capitals, around 7000 kilometres and one challenge: to visit them all in seven days in a fully electric vehicle. This is Endesa X's e-Reto Challenge; a non-stop adventure involving twenty expert drivers at the wheel of a latest generation Nissan Leaf e+, who can be tracked in real time during their journey using geolocation. The aim is to raise awareness of electric mobility across Spain and gradually promote their everyday use even outside major cities.
The starting gun was fired for the challenge today at Endesa's offices in Palma, Mallorca, with Endesa's general manager for the Balearic Islands, Marín Ribas, joining the first two drivers taking part in the adventure.
They are just one of ten relay teams of two expert drivers from the car magazine, Autopista who will hit the road to complete the challenge. The teams will hand over to the next in Ciudad Real, Malaga, Seville, Alcalá de Henares, Tarragona, Zaragoza, Santo Tomé del Puerto, Santander and Vigo, and the challenge will end at Endesa's headquarters in Madrid on 14 November.
Although the charging network is growing exponentially, planning will still be crucial for the longer legs. During this edition of the e-Ruta Challenge, it is expected that around thirty rapid (40 kW or more) or fast (22 kW) charging points will be used.
The distance between charges will generally be less than 300 km as the aim will be to use ultra-rapid charging points, putting the new battery of the Nissan Leaf e+ to the test.
The Leaf e+ model
The second-generation Leaf launched by Nissan early last year will be used for the challenge. The company recently unveiled a second version of the car with a new 62-kWh battery (versus the 40-kW battery in the previous version), boasting a range of 385 km according to the WLTP standard. This makes it the ideal electric vehicle for long journeys. In fact, in this edition of Endesa X's e-Ruta Challenge, around 80% of the route will be on toll motorways or dual carriageways.
The Leaf e+ can be charged using charging points with a power rating of up to 100 kW, enabling it to be used with ultra-rapid chargers such as those Endesa X plans to soon roll out across Spain.
Today it's a challenge, tomorrow it won't be
The aim of the initiative is to highlight how electric vehicles are becoming more commonplace. What is currently a challenge will very shortly form part of our daily routines. This is achievable but requires a firm commitment to implementing electric vehicle recharging infrastructure plans. At the end of last year, Endesa launched the most ambitious plan in Spain; entailing an investment of 65 million euro, the company will install 8500 public charging points between now and 2023.
In the initial phase (2018-2019) of the plan, Endesa X will roll out a network of 2000 charging points, which will connect cities with over 35,000 inhabitants and routes covering 15,000 kilometres of main roads and urban areas, thus enabling 75% of the Spanish population to access public charging facilities in their area. This will mean drivers always have a charging point within 100 kilometres of their location and can cross Spain safe in the knowledge that they will not run out of power.
In the second phase (from 2021 to 2023), a further 6500 new public access charging points will be installed at shopping centres, car parks, hotels, service stations and on public roads etc., in order to keep up with the growth in the electric vehicle market, providing better coverage in urban areas and the main strategic communication hubs across continental Spain and on the islands.