AIWAYS has completed its epic 15,022km road trip from China to Western Europe, which set a new Guinness World Record title in the process. The ‘longest journey by an electric vehicle (prototype)’ record was achieved by the AIWAYS U5 Engineering Drive Team (China), driving an AIWAYS U5, starting in Xi’an, Shanxi, China and ending in Frankfurt, Germany, from 17th July 2019 to 7th September 2019.
During this mammoth 53-day drive, the pair of development cars passed through 12 countries, including China, Kazakhstan, Russia, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Switzerland. They arrived in Frankfurt on 7th September, in time for the IAA 2019 motor show.
Alexander Klose, Executive VP Overseas Operation at AIWAYS, commented: “This world record represents a monumental achievement for our engineers. They have developed a fully-electric SUV that’s capable of travelling hundreds of kilometres between charging in some of the most challenging terrain and remote areas. The fact that we’ve been able to achieve a world record in these conditions demonstrates the U5’s qualities, capabilities and, most importantly, its suitability for European consumers.”
AIWAYS Chief Technical Officer Winter Wang added: “This has been a drive of epic proportions, with the U5 tackling some of the best and worst road conditions that drivers might expect to come across in a lifetime of driving. It shows the high standard of development work that has gone into creating a car that is as suitable for driving in Shanghai as it is in Western Europe.”
The convoy started its journey by tackling the Chinese Gobi Desert and crossing the Kazakh Steppe, locations without an adequate electric vehicle charging infrastructure. The high energy demands of driving on Kazakhstan’s often poor road surfaces, and crossing the Southern Ural Mountains, also posed a challenge to engineers, who frequently relied on low-voltage power sources to recharge the prototype vehicles overnight. Engineers used this to successfully optimise the U5’s charging logic, ensuring compatibility with a variety of different charging standards and varying voltages.
The engineering team on the drive was also in frequent contact with the China-based R&D team, reporting back on multiple hardware and software features. These included the thermal management system underpinning the 65kWh battery pack, as well as the electric motor, suspension components and dynamic characteristics.
With the support of independent test provider TÜV Rheinland, the AIWAYS U5 has recently achieved European homologation in all product aspects ahead of going on sale in Europe next year. The U5 is a statement of intent for the AIWAYS brand as it aims to bring affordable, connected and premium electric transport to the European market in 2020.