This Nissan Leaf is going to take on the 10,000 mile Mongol rally

When I drove the Nissan Leaf around two years ago, I thought it was great – and perfectly matched for city-centre driving. Although the 24kWh model I was in didn’t offer the biggest range, it provided good speed until around 30mph, and was perfect for urban trips.

A 10,000 mile rally, however, doesn’t exactly play to the Leaf’s strengths, but that’s exactly what Chris Ramsay is doing with the world’s most popular EV.

Instead of using the Nissan Leaf for a dash to the supermarket, Plug In Adventures’ Chris Ramsey wants to take it on the Mongol Rally this summer, in a race that stretches from the UK all the way to Mongolia.


The 30kWh Nissan Leaf that Ramsey has used for the trip has been partially adapted for the task, but in many ways it remains a standard Leaf. The back seats and other excess gear has been removed to save around 30kg in weight, while the suspension has also been raised, and a roof rack with a spare tyre and LED lights have been fitted for night driving.

Extra armour has also been added to the underside of the car, with braided brake lines and welded plates protecting the sump, wishbones and other more vulnerable areas. And of course, rally tyres have also been fitted.


Chris Ramsey, founder of Plug In Adventures, said: “The Mongol Rally is our most challenging electric vehicle drive to date, but it’s one we’ve been planning for a number of years. Not only will we face a dwindling number of EV chargers the further east we go, the terrain also becomes more difficult to navigate.”

The 30kWh Leaf Acenta that Ramsey is using has a range of only around 155 miles, and that means it will need plenty of charges along the way. That might be tricky, because as Ramsay moves from country to country, the number of chargers and the quality of them will vary.

“I’m very familiar with the car; it’s always been reliable and dependable for me, and it has the largest network of rapid-charging options in Europe, says Ramsey. “As it will also accept a 240v Commando connection, even in the remote areas when my fast-charge options are gone, I can still charge the battery and keep moving.”


While it will take around 30 minutes to top-up with quick charges in Europe, it will take closer to three hours to charge with three-phase chargers, and around ten hours with standard 240V plug-style charges. These stops are planned into the route, and Ramsey is quite confident it can be done. Furthermore, he states that the rally might actually play to the strengths of the Leaf, since the 40-50mph speeds he’s hoping to cruise at offer the best battery efficiency.

I actually had a chance to drive the special Nissan Leaf, and to be honest, it was pretty much the same as the normal car. Although it felt higher – due to the increased ride height, the Leaf’s suspension coped well with the loose gravel and rocks that I drove on, and it was even able to pick up some good speed.

Of course, if the Leaf completes the rally then it will generate more than a little positive PR for EVs – but whether or not it will actually finish remains to be seen. We’ll find out this summer. 

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