Venturi does more than create whimsical concept vehicles for auto shows. The company also supports electric vehicles going on long-distance adventures, like from Shanghai to Paris. The latest mission sends an EV along 4,800 kilometres (2,982 miles) from Kenya to South Africa. The trip started last month and the car already has 3,500 km (2,174 mi) under its tires. Venturi says the trip represents "a fabulous human and technological adventure in the interest of sustainable development."

To that end, driver Xavier Chevrin is doing public demonstrations with his "Powered by Venturi" electric Citroen Berlingo along the way. He's also doing press conferences and "endless explanations" to share EV technology and the ideas behind this kind of sustainable mobility across Africa. It's important to make friends with these lessons, since Chevrin didn't do any route planning to make sure he can get from outlet to outlet. As Venturi says, "the batteries will be recharged on the spot, depending on encounters with local inhabitants. As the production of electricity is largely of hydraulic origin at this time of year and in this part of Africa, the adventure will be, as much as possible, 'zero emission.'" It's bold plan – Venture says that 65 percent of Africans still do not have access to electricity – that is sure to draw attention to both electric drive technology and the complications of using it in a place that just isn't outfitted with a comprehensive grid.

Interested in learning more? We've embedded a few videos below and you can find the full flotilla on Venturi's YouTube channel. Also, check out the press release and see the Mission Africa website.

Show full PR text

Undertaking a journey in Africa for the first time and without any assistance in an electric vehicle, recharging the batteries with clean energy... Such is the new challenge to be taken up by VENTURI in May and June, 2012 on roads and trails in Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa, a total 4,800 kilometres representing a fabulous human and technological adventure in the interest of sustainable development.

The aim of Mission 04 in the VENTURI GLOBAL CHALLENGES is to show once again the VENTURI electrical means of propulsion under harsh conditions to demonstrate its reliability, robustness and endurance. VENTURI's President, Gildo Pallanca Pastor, explains that: "This fourth opus is a new challenge for VENTURI with a particular feature; that of combining the pioneering spirit with a human adventure, in contact with different populations who will discover an electric vehicle for the very first time, and all the magic that surrounds this silent means of propulsion. An adventure which also embodies our desire to demonstrate that the electric vehicle is an alternative to the combustion engine all over the world, from Shanghai to Paris, Nairobi to Johannesburg and, tomorrow, in the Antarctic".

This electric vehicle "Powered by VENTURI" is, in fact, identical to those which have been used by LA POSTE on an everyday basis in France and Monaco since 2010, and introduced in Nice on a self-service basis in 2011 as part of the AUTOBLEUE operation. For the requirements of "Mission Africa", the vehicle has been fitted with two additional batteries to extend its range to 500 km. "The vehicle's specifications were never intended to enable it to travel from Shanghai to Paris nor, as today, to cover part of Africa on roads in disrepair, while carrying 750 kilos of equipment," comments Nicolas Mauduit, responsible for VENTURI programmes, "but the torque of an electric motor and the endurance of our components now make this assignment perfectly possible".

Over the years, 45 year-old Xavier Chevrin, an English teacher working on the island of Reunion, has become a specialist in long trips in electric vehicles: the "Green Crossing" between Paris and Almaty (Kazakhstan) on an electric scooter (2008), the return trip of the "Yellow Crossing", a record distance of 13,400 km from Shanghai to Paris in an electric vehicle "Powered by VENTURI" (2010), and now this "Black Crossing" in Africa: "The successful completion of such a journey depends not only on incredible performances from a machine, but also the people you meet throughout the entire trip. Without any back-up or pre-planned stopovers, you have to rely on chance encounters, hoping to progress each day from one point to the next".

Backed by the PRINCE ALBERT II OF MONACO FOUNDATION, this challenge is an official part of the INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF SUSTAINABLE ENERGY FOR ALL. Launched in 2012, the goal of this UNITED NATIONS initiative is to make as many people as possible aware of the importance of access to "clean" energy for all as a vector for human, social and economic development.
In a region where 65% of Africans do not have access to electricity, this journey will make it possible to draw up an inventory of the electrical resources available and visit various initiatives being pursued in the field of sustainable energy.

Several conferences and encounters will also be organized all along the way on the theme of new energies and the technology inherent to electric vehicles:

• UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) in Nairobi (Kenya)
• Alliance Française, Arusha, Tanzania
• University of Arusha, Tanzania
• University of Dodoma, Tanzania
• French Embassy in Lusaka, Zambia
• University of Lusaka, Zambia
• Livingstone, Zambia
• Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
• University of Johannesburg, South Africa

The human dimension of this journey, embarked upon without any reconnoitering and undertaken without any technical assistance, takes the form of daily halts with local inhabitants to recharge the vehicle's batteries. These numerous encounters will give Xavier the chance to present his experience in electric mobility by taking passengers on board to share the event and the efficiency of this means of propulsion.

Departure is scheduled for Friday, May 11th, 2012, at 6.30 a.m. from Nairobi (Kenya), with arrival expected mid-June in Johannesburg. Xavier has not been given any objectives in terms of speed, energy efficiency being the prime consideration.


Nairobi (Kenya) - Arusha (TANZANIA) 280 km
Arusha-Kondoa 250 km
Kondoa-Dodoma 180 km
Dodoma-Iringa 250 km
Iringa-Igawa 210 km
Igawa-Mbeya 130 km
Mbeya-Isoka (ZAMBIA) 200 km
Isoka-Chitambo 220 km
Chitambo-Kanona 250 km
Kanona-Mkushi 180 km
Mkushi-Lusaka 310 km
Lusaka-Choma 280 km
Choma-Victoria Falls (ZIMBABWE) 260 km
Victoria Falls-Nata (BOTSWANA) 320 km
Nata-Joani 190 km
Joani-Maun 120 km
Maun-Letlhakane 320 km
Letlhakane-Lephepe 270 km
Lephepe-Mochudi 160 km
Mochudi-Rastenburg (SOUTH AFRICA) 220 km
Rastenburg-Johannesburg 170 km


A website has been specially introduced to "show" the progress made by Xavier on a digital map:

Videos, photos and reports will be regularly up-dated on-line.

The adventure will also be relayed via Facebook and Twitter :

The content for the website and social network pages will be provided by Xavier Chevrin and Vivien Floris, Journalist and Photo Reporter, who will be participating in the trip.
Throughout the itinerary, photos and videos, free of copyright for the press, will be made available by means of distribution via an FTP server (by request).
Telephone interviews will also be organized (by request).

- Monday, May 7th, 6.30 p.m., EXPLORERS PUB, Port of Monaco.
- Thursday, May 10th, 11 a.m. (10 a.m. French time) at the UNEP headquarters in Nairobi.
A press conference will be organized on completion of Mission Africa.

For over 10 years, VENTURI AUTOMOBILES has pursued a policy of spearhead innovation in the field of electric vehicles. Mastering the most advanced technological solutions in this area, VENTURI can claim expertise ranging from urban to high-performance vehicles.
The VENTURI GLOBAL CHALLENGES are a series of both technological, but also human, challenges, through which Venturi aims to demonstrate its advance in the field of electric propulsion. Taking the form of a specific mission, each challenge is taken up on a different continent and allows new records to be set, while demonstrating the reliability, energy efficiency and robustness of VENTURI electric vehicles under extreme conditions.

The PRINCE ALBERT II OF MONACO FOUNDATION works toward the protection of the environment and promotion of sustainable development on a worldwide scale. Activities undertaken by the Foundation focus on three main areas: climate change and renewable energies, biodiversity, water and desertification. The Foundation supports projects in three main geographic areas: the Mediterranean basin, the polar regions and least developed countries. The Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation backs initiatives undertaken by public and private organizations and companies in the fields of research, technological innovation and socially-aware practices.

International Year 2012 is an opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of improving sustainable access to energy, energy efficiency and renewable energy at local, regional and international levels.

Energy services have a profound effect on productivity, health, education, climate change, secure supplies of food and water, and communications services.

The absence of access to clean, affordable and reliable energy hinders human, social and economic development and constitutes a major barrier to the achievement of Millennium Development Goals.

Yet 1.4 billion people do not have access to modern energy, and three billion people rely on the "traditional biomass" and coal or charcoal as their main of source of energy for cooking and heating.

- Nickel sodium chloride "Zebra For Venturi" - 70.5 kWh (3 x 23.5 kWh)
- Three-phase motor
- Power : 21 kW nominal
- Maximum torque : 180 Nm
Performances :
- Range: upto500km - Top speed : 110 km/hr

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