A SCOTTISH couple has made history after becoming the first to complete the gruelling Mongol Rally in an electric car.

Chris and Julie Ramsey made it 10,000 miles over mountains and deserts in a battery-powered Nissan Leaf.

The Aberdeenshire pair had no back up and had the only green machine in the 340-strong field.

Loading article content

They set off from Goodwood Race Course in July and said the road to Ulan-Ude in Siberia had been an “incredible experience”.

Yesterday Chris said: “Over the past 55 days we’ve driven 10,000 miles across mountains, desert and grassland and our Nissan Leaf has coped with it all.

“I hope our adventure shows Scotland has taken the right decision to be ambitious and aim to phase out fossil fuel vehicles from 2032.”

First held in 2004, the contest is described by organisers as “the greatest motoring adventure on the planet”, with seven out of 10 entrants completing the feat.

Competitors are limited to vehicles with a 1000cc engine and must travel without a support crew and raise at least £1,000 for charity.

The Ramseys set out on the challenge to promote electric vehicles and raise funds for environmental charity WWF Scotland.

The route took them two months and was documented at their Plug In Adventures webpage, where they posted photographs of their progress and stories about their travels.

This includes tackling man-sized potholes in Azerbaijan and attending the Future Energy Expo in Kazakhstan as guests of the UK Government.

The pair also tasted bright green Tarragon-flavoured beverages in Georgia and drove up 2000 metres to travel the Transfargasan highway through Romania’s Carpathian mountains.

Sam Gardner, acting director of WWF Scotland, said: “We’re delighted Chris and Julie have successfully and safely completed the Mongol Rally, the first to do so in an electric vehicle.

“They’re true ambassadors for the electric vehicle movement and we’re very proud they chose to raise funds for WWF Scotland during the trip. EVs are the way forward.”

While the rally is the most daunting distance-challenge taken on by the couple in an electric vehicle, it is not the first. In 2015 they drove from John O’Groats to Land’s End and back again, and also completed the North Coast 500 around the Highlands the following year.

Speaking ahead of the rally, Chris said: “This is a really exciting challenge and I’m hoping it will dispel many of the myths about electric vehicles and their efficiency.

“I’m passionate about raising awareness of EVs and the important role they are playing now, and will do in the future, in reducing our carbon emissions.”

International Trade Minister Greg Hands has previously said the pair’s exploits could help boost trade with Kazakhstan and the region, with Chris speaking to Kazakh government delegates at the Future Energy Expo.

Hands said: “Through his latest adventure, Chris and his team have helped to showcase the UK’s ongoing commitment to world-leading innovation and sustainable technology.”

Commenting on their success, Chris said: “Being the first to complete the Mongol Rally in an electric vehicle has been an incredible experience.”