ONE INDIA ROAD TRIP is my most ambitious project to date. I say that about all my expeditions, but this one truly lives up to it. A journey of more than 65,000 km, spanning almost all the districts in mainland India, to better a Guinness World Record of the longest car journey in a single country in an electric vehicle (EV).
ONE INDIA ROAD TRIP will be conducted in an electric vehicle. I will travel, eat, brush, bathe and maybe even sleep in it. I will recount the memories of this journey of homage from within this vehicle. This will be my home and office on wheels.
ONE INDIA ROAD TRIP will also provide me with the opportunity to witness the great harmony among the diversity that exemplifies the country. The colours, the people, food, languages, customs, rituals, and the multitude of faiths and religions. And the many natural wonders that have been bestowed on this wonderful and incredible country.
Come and join me on the awesome ONE INDIA ROAD TRIP.
Bettering a Guinness World Record
ONE INDIA ROAD TRIP is an attempt to better the existing Guinness World Record of the longest car journey within a single country in an electric vehicle. The current record, according to the Guinness World Records website is:
The longest journey by electric vehicle (non-solar) in a single country is 57,566.297 km (35,770.0385 miles) and was achieved by Rainer Zietlow (GER) and Derek Collins (USA) and Infineon (USA) in the USA driving a VW ID.4, from 13 July to 18 October 2021.
The tour crossed 48 states, and stopped at 628 Volkswagen Dealerships, and 208 Electrify Charge points.
The difference between the existing record and our attempt at bettering it, is that our attempt will be a solo effort, without any sharing of driving responsibilities. We hope to better the record by exceeding the distance by at least 10,000 km.
We have received confirmation and acceptance from Guinness World Records to conduct this expedition. Very specific guidelines have been received on how to conduct the journey and what evidence to support the effort so that the claim is not rejected on a technicality.
A successful effort will bring the record back to India. The earlier record was held by a trio of Indians (Deepak Shrivastava, Sheetal Shrivastava and Ateef Abdulla) , for a drive they undertook in India. This was subsequently broken by the current record holders. We plan to bring the record back home.
The proposed route
When I started out on the logistics behind the ONE INDIA ROAD TRIP I did not realise that the toughest activity would be to design the route. India is a large country, one of the largest in the world. Yet, to cover a distance of over 65,000+ km, without backtracking on any road, is very difficult to put together. The route that has been designed covers 68,254 km travelling through 28 of the 29 States (except the Andaman Islands), six of the eight Union Territories (except Ladakh and Lakshadweep), and 594 of the 695 districts in the country. According to Guinness Worlds guidelines, any part of the track that is repeated has to be deleted from the overall distance count. Even though a lot of effort has gone into ensuring there is no overlap in the tracks, I suspect I will end up driving a distance in excess of 75,000 km to cater to any eventuality.
The journey will start and end in New Delhi. There will be at least one recharge stop in the afternoon and one overnight. Which really means that i will be travelling between 200 and 250 km between recharges. I do not wish to take on the added burden of range anxiety and therefore the route and the stops have to be very carefully calibrated.
Taking an average distance of 400 km every day, covering 75,000 km will take at least 188 days. Not accounting for breakdowns, health issues, or sheer fatigue. I am giving myself a target of 200 days to complete the journey. As a point of comparison the current record holders complete the journey in a total of 98 days, half of what I am envisaging.
One concern with long distance travelling in an electric vehicle is the availability of charging points. Infrastructure in India is still developing, though at a fairly rapid pace. I plan to use the app called PlugShare to identify charging points. They are an aggregator and display many charging points. I suspect there will be many locations where I will need to charge at a roadside dhaba or depend on the goodness of heart of people on the way to use their home wall plug, but this is certainly going to be useful.
EVs are the future - let's save the planet
Our beloved home, this little Blue Marble, the third rock from the Sun, our Planet Earth is going through a crisis. It is heating up and global warming is not just something scientists talk about, but it is a reality. We all need to do something to reduce our individual footprint as far as adding to this crisis is concerned.
The technology behind EVs is still evolving. Two concernes that we hope to address during this journey are of (1) mileage, and (2) charging.
A lot of fast charging stations are coming up all across the country, most of them concentrated in and around the larger cities. However, technology has advanced to a stage where even a household outlet can charge the vehicle. It will take much longer, but one will not be stranded in the middle of nowhere. This will evolve further and we are still in the lower floors of this evolution.
ONE INDIA ROAD TRIP attempts to allay the fears that people have about electric vehicles. We hope that through this incredible journey more and more people will make the switch and leave the world a slightly better place for children.
Honouring India's fallen heroes
ONE INDIA ROAD TRIP is a journey of homage. Through this journey I will be remembering the soldiers, sailors and airmen who have died in battle since Independence protecting and defending our country from her enemies. I will try and lay wreaths at as many war memorials I come across. We need to remember the sacrifices made by members of our Armed Forces who readily face the bullet, and sometime die fighting for the flag they hold so dear. We need to remember and honour them. It is they who put their lives on the line and some give their tomorrow for our today. We sleep in peace at home because these awesome men and women in uniform stand at the borders, ready to take on any and all offensive aggression from our enemies.
Often we look to other people for inspiration. We idolise those who have achieved some eminence in their lives. We like to see achievements in people and revel in the reflected glory. However, it is much more important to be able to strive to become better individuals ourselves. Life is NOT a spectator sport, and even though it is not expected that each of us can or should climb the highest mountains, or cross the oceans, or learn to skydive, each of us do have the capability within ourselves to become an inspiration for those around us, our loved ones.
I am embarking on this journey when I am 60 years old, with a prosthetic knee, artificial lenses in my eyes, a broken collar bone, a couple of broken ribs, and a fitness level that leaves much to be desired. Yet, I am starting this great Indian road trip.
Will I be able to earn a Guinness World Record? I will never know if I do not start the journey. It is not the possibility of success should govern our efforts, but the sheer joy of participation.