by Bach Lien
HA NOI — Two French engineers on an around-the world trip in an electric car to promote electric mobility are about to depart from Ha Noi.
Charges d'affaires: French engineers Xavier Degon and Antonin Guy are making a world tour with their electric Citroen-Zero to promote electric mobility.
|Power-up: Antonin Guy recharges his car during a break in his journey around the globe. — VNS Photos Truong Vi
Xavier Degon, 27, and Antonin Guy, 28, began their world tour in February from Strasbourg, France. They are driving a standar Citroen-Zero, the first French electric car sold in France and which emits neither carbon nor any polluting particle.
They travelled through Belgium, the Netherlands, the US, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Laos to Viet Nam, collecting flags of the countries to decorate their car. They will cross another eight countries to finish the tour.
"The goal is to promote the image of electric vehicles and to reassure the public over their reliability and convenience," Gegon said.
"If a standard electric car can make a world tour, every single person is able to use it to go shopping."
Marie-Cecile Tardieu-Smith, head of the economics section of the French Embassy, said at a press conference: "Viet Nam is faced with the challenge of environmental issues.
"France has invested in projects to develop public transportation in Viet Nam and French enterprises want to present this experience of an electric car."
The idea of the Electric Odyssey was born in 2010 in the minds of the two friends who share a thirst for adventure and a desire to travel.
To make the world tour, they plan to travel 25,000km during eight months across 17 countries and with an electricity consumption costing only 250euros (US$350), five time cheaper than the same trip using petrol. Their car must be charged every 110km, which means more than 250 charges at local people's homes.
Every day, the two men meet and convince members of the local population to lend them their outlets and they pay for the estimated megawatts used. The charge time is six hours.
"Luckily, the people we meet are all ready to help us," Guy said.
"This voyage is like a true human adventure for us because it gives us the opportunity to be in close contact with people all around the world, through the American Rockies, the heart of Japan, the silk road between China and Kazakhstan and Europe."
"In some of countries the English language is enough to communicate, but in most of them, sign language is mainly used to find outlets."
The two adventurers spent seven days in Viet Nam. They leave Viet Nam today and will continue their trip to China through the Ha Khau border in Lao Cai Province.
The two men said they had interesting experiences on the Ho Chi Minh road to Ha Noi from Laos.
"We were impressed with the landscapes and hospitality of Vietnamese people. We stopped several times and ate with local people and truck drivers. We invited them to try our electric car and we were excited to drive a truck," Degon said.
In Ha Noi. The two men enjoyed nem (spring rolls).
All their images of Viet Nam and the news of their adventure can be followed through the web in real time at www.electric-odyssey.com and through social networks such as Twitter and Facebook.
Degon has been an engineer in the State -owned French Electricity Provider Company since 2009.
Guy has been consultant for four years at Capgemini Consulting in the public sector. He has been driving several studies about electric mobility in collaboration with ESCP Europe (European Business School) since 2009.
To make the tour, they had to take one-year holiday.
"We will finish the tour in two months. If everything goes as planned, we will get back to Strasbourg in October," Degon said. —VNS