Around the World in 80 Days -- with eco twist

Article Image

The Africa Eco Race isn't for the faint hearted. Eco-friendly bikes, cars and trucks race over 3,700 miles in early January.

Posted: Jan 22, 2019 4:00 PM
Updated: Jan 22, 2019 4:00 PM

Nearly 150 years after author Jules Verne's famous character Phileas Fogg first journeyed around the world in 80 days, a new race will attempt to recreate the feat without combustion engines.

The novel of Fogg's against-the-clock circumnavigation of the globe was written when fossil fuels were first used for mainstream transport, and nearly a century-and-a-half later, Verne's tome is acting as the inspiration for another adventurer.

Sailing has its Jules Verne trophy where yachts circumnavigate the world in the fastest possible time, but Dutchman Frank Manders is challenging teams to drive around the planet in the same time as Fogg but piloting only zero-emission vehicles, in a venture called the 80 Day Race.

"Back in 1873, the new tech was fossil fuels," race founder Manders told CNN Sport. "Now, we have sustainable and renewable energy. So it was the idea of bringing back that adventurer style but embracing this new approach."

READ: Around the world in 80 days ... on a bike

Visit CNN.com/Sport for more news, features and videos

But while the race has a low carbon footprint, it comes with a high price tag.

Registration opened earlier this month with 40 places up for grabs at a cost of more than $44,000 for those signing up before the end of March.

There are three rules: no vehicle can have a combustion engine, it has to be road legal, and no more than 40% of the vehicle can be the energy system.

"We didn't want something like a 250-page FIA rule book," said Manders, referring to motorsport's governing. "That way, people can have different approaches to how they see the zero emissions working on the vehicle."

Secret Dakar viewing

For Manders, the 80 Day Race combines his ambition for adventure and his greener credentials -- he had previously set up Wonders of Waste, a race in which teams traveled from Rotterdam to Rome entirely powered by disused cooking oil.

The 80 Day Race will begin in Paris -- scheduled for April/May next year -- and head to Kazakhstan's capital Astana. From there, teams will navigate their own routes across China, before transport across the Pacific to Vancouver. The race will resume via San Diego to Cancun in Mexico and then, after crossing the Atlantic, journey to Marrakesh, before a final run from Monaco to Paris.

Manders' inspiration for the race lies in his passion for the Dakar Rally as a child. The Dakar Rally was born in 1979 with competitors traveling from Paris to Dakar. Since 2009, it has been held in South America, though there's also the Africa Eco Race, which recently completed it's 11th edition.

"I was 12 years old when I first saw the Dakar," said Manders. "It was only on TV at midnight and obviously I wasn't allowed to watch so I'd sneak into the living room in the night when everyone was asleep and watch it."

One of the 80 Day Race backers is former Dakar race director Hubert Auriol, who competed in the first nine editions of the Dakar on a motorbike, and was the first competitor to win the event on both two wheels and four.

"It's funny to think that 35 years ago, I was creeping down to watch him on TV and now I have him on speed dial!" says Manders.

The 47-year-old is no stranger to adventure himself. He and his brother attempted their own Dakar, driving an old Land Rover from their home to Senegal without ever reaching the finish.

"It broke down in Morocco for 10 days so we had to redo the engine and then we were held for another 10 days at the Algerian border as they said our papers weren't in order," Manders recalled.

"I was on vacation so had to return home after six weeks. My brother made it as far as Niger and then sold the car so we never made it."

Scottish entry from oil industry

One of those who have already signed up for the race is Chris Ramsey, a.k.a. Plug In Adventures.

His entry will be purely electric. Most of his adventures -- from the 10,000-mile Mongol Rally in 2017 to the 60-hour Edinburgh to Monte Carlo -- have been at the wheel of a Nissan Leaf.

"For the last eight years, I've been doing sustainable adventures," explained Ramsey, who used to work into the gas and oil industry in Scotland before his job moved into renewable energy.

"We're traveling through some of the most polluting cities and countries with this so we can show what's capable with electric and/or hydrogen power.

"Hopefully we can inspire individuals to make the change, and make them understand electric vehicles are a reliable option."

His navigator is yet to be decided although it won't be his wife Julie, who joined him on his last adventure -- the Mongol Rally -- despite an aversion to long car journeys.

"We had our moments but we're still married!" quipped Ramsey, who also has designs on entering the Dakar race in the future.

READ: British couple drive 10,000 miles in electric car

Ultimately, he believes manufacturers will get on board with the 80 Day Race and what it stands for.

"I'm confident they'll get involved and this place will have a long future on the calendar. This is just the start," he said.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 33558

Reported Deaths: 2110
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion9616571
Lake3538185
Cass15897
Allen145168
St. Joseph124834
Elkhart116328
Hendricks116171
Hamilton115693
Johnson1093108
Madison58559
Porter51627
Bartholomew50034
Clark49241
LaPorte42423
Howard39526
Tippecanoe3903
Jackson3791
Delaware37736
Shelby36822
Hancock32728
Floyd31839
Boone30935
Morgan27824
Vanderburgh2652
Montgomery23517
White2318
Decatur22431
Clinton2231
Noble21121
Grant20621
Harrison19221
Dubois1923
Henry16910
Greene16824
Monroe16612
Warrick16628
Dearborn16621
Vigo1648
Lawrence15423
Miami1411
Putnam1367
Jennings1304
Orange12522
Scott1193
Kosciusko1111
Franklin1098
Ripley1086
Carroll922
Marshall901
Daviess8516
Steuben812
Newton7710
Wayne776
Fayette767
Wabash762
LaGrange712
Jasper651
Washington521
Jay500
Fulton481
Clay471
Rush462
Randolph463
Pulaski460
Jefferson431
Whitley393
Starke363
Sullivan341
Owen341
Brown331
DeKalb331
Perry310
Benton300
Knox290
Wells280
Huntington272
Tipton251
Crawford240
Blackford242
Fountain202
Switzerland200
Spencer191
Parke170
Posey160
Gibson142
Adams131
Ohio130
Warren121
Martin110
Vermillion100
Union80
Pike60
Unassigned0164
West Lafayette
Scattered Clouds
70° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 70°
Kokomo
Broken Clouds
68° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 68°
Rensselaer
Scattered Clouds
64° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 64°
Fowler
Scattered Clouds
64° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 64°
Williamsport
Scattered Clouds
68° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 68°
Crawfordsville
Scattered Clouds
66° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 66°
Frankfort
Broken Clouds
68° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 68°
Delphi
Scattered Clouds
67° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 67°
Monticello
Scattered Clouds
67° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 67°
Logansport
Scattered Clouds
66° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 66°
Cooler, less humid weather ahead by the weekend.
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events