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Africa: Electric Car Takes Off on Kenya – South Africa Adventure

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 11, 2012 (ENS) – For the first time, an electric vehicle is attempting an unassisted journey from Nairobi to Johannesburg, South Africa – a distance of 4,800 kilometers (2,982 miles).
The driver is Xavier Chevrin, who left today after a sendoff news conference Thursday at the Nairobi headquarters of the United Nations Environment Programme.

Peter Gilruth, director of UNEP’s Division of Early Warning and Assessment, flagged off the bright orange vehicle, which drove off with barely a hum from its silent electric motor.

Peter Gilruth, director of UNEP’s Division of Early Warning and Assessment, flags off the Mission Africa electric car, May 10, 2012 (Photo courtesy UNEP)

Chevrin is an English teacher on the French Ile de la Réunion with a history of long trips in electric cars. His 2010 trip from Shanghai to Paris was the longest journey ever made in an electric vehicle – a distance of 13,400 km (8,326 miles).

Called Mission Africa, the journey is part of the UN International Year of Sustainable Energy for All, aims to demonstrate the reliability and energy efficiency of electric vehicles under extreme conditions and also highlight the lack of electricity in many communities in Africa.

After a trek through Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa, Chevrin aims to finish in Johannesburg, an estimated 4,800 kilometers and 45 days later.

“We have been using combustion engines for over a century, but now it is a new revolution,” Chevrin said. “Within a few decades it will be logical for everyone to have an electric car as it fits with the philosophy of having to be careful how we use energy.”

Xavier Chevrin with the Mission Africa Venturi electric vehicle (Photo courtesy Venturi Automobiles)

According to UNEP’s soon-to-released flagship report on the state of the environment, the Global Environment Outlook 5, the current fossil-fuel based transport system accounts for a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions.

This figure is expected to rise to almost one third in the coming decades.
More ens-0newswire.com

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