For what can only be described as, "the most exciting eco-rally ever" taking place in Zambia, Namibia and South Africa, Zero Rally Africa aims to promote alternative vehicles in more ways than one. The race is only open to electric, solar, hybrid, biofuel, and hydrogen vehicles and will take off January 28, 2009 until February 8, 2009. Ladies and Gentlemen, start your engines! One goal of the cross-country trek is to demonstrate that if these alternative vehicles can make it in harsh conditions and over such a long distance, that they are certainly a viable option for city-dwellers in developed countries. The other goal: prove that the Volt really can go 0-60 in 6 seconds, while trying to dodge an elephant!
Registration for the Race
Planned entrants will come from countries all over the world, including, USA, UK, Germany, Canada, the Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, India, New Zealand and Australia. The event is open to anyone with an alternative fuel vehicle. At the end of each day, all participants will end up at the same spot. Most participants will be on tar and gravel roads, except for the biofuel vehicles which have the potential to go off-road. Even on separate paths, all vehicles will still spend each night in the same spot.
Fees And Rules For the Race
For those interested, the entrance fee is $1500 Euro, which covers the costs of two team members. Additional team members can be added for a fee of $150. There will be additional fees for meals and expenses along the route.
If you're seriously interested, there are a few practicalities that you should keep in mind. The road will be mainly tarmac but the remaining areas will be compacted gravel. Officials from the Solar Car Federation have approved the route for solar vehicles, considered the most fragile of alternative vehicles, so other vehicles should be okay.
The route will begin in a malarial area, thus all participants need to be prepared, and a medical team will also follow the route. One final limitation - all participants must be able to get their vehicles to Zambia and home from South Africa. Details to come soon about possible partnerships with airlines to help with the event.
Mahindra Scorpio Diesel Vehicles Available for Celebrities
A few special Mahindra Scorpio SUV vehicles will be available for celebrities and journalists that plan to attend the event. These vehicles are biodiesel and currently available in Europe and South Africa in both petrol and standard diesel and will be available in the US next year.
No word on how these vehicles will refuel over the miles, or how they plan to make repairs that can only seem inevitable over a 2,500 mile trek. May the best man, woman, er alternative vehicle car win!