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French EV On A Round-The-World Electric Odyssey

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French EV On A Round-The-World Electric Odyssey
By Keith Barry Email Author March 29, 2012 | 9:00 am | Categories: EVs and Hybrids, Infrastructure
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If you happen to live in a small town west of the Rockies and see a small electric car with French license plates, don’t panic. It’s just Xavier and Antonin attempting to circumnavigate the earth in an electric Citroën.

The car of choice for the Electric Odyssey is a Citroën C-Zero, a rebadged Mitsubishi i-MiEV with a French accent and a range of between 70 and 90 miles. Engineers Xavier Degon and Antonin Guy are taking turns behind the wheel, and thanks to the relatively short range get to stop at small towns and big cities the world over to preach the EV gospel. The central tenet of that faith? “If a standard electric car can make a world tour, every single person is able to use it to go shopping.”

We caught up with the team just outside of Nebraska, where they were planning the long journey over the Rockies. After beginning their journey in Strasbourg, France and crossing the Atlantic on a ship, they’ve been driving across the USA since March 7th. Since then, they’ve survived several traffic stops, inscrutable charging stations and days of eating high-calorie diner food — so a few mountains shouldn’t get in their way.

“Usually, if we are stopped somewhere, people around will come to ask us what is our car about,” said Degon. “This situation did not happen so much in Europe.” In addition to speaking at colleges, elementary schools and community events, the little car with the French registration has also twice attracted the attention of the local constabulary.

According to Degon, America seems just as ready for EVs as Europe. “People just need to know more about electric cars,” he said. “Of course, these kind of cars cannot be used for any kind of use. They are only made for short range rides.”


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