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COP26 Rally

In 2020, the English association “EVA England” (led then by the dynamic Bridget PHELPS) was under construction.

The holding of Cop26 in Scotland at the beginning of November 2021 gave this very young association the idea of ​​making itself known by organizing a convoy of electric vehicles between London and Glasgow, by associating the Irish and the Scottish associations, all members of GEVA.

Stéphane SEMERIA, then president of FFAUVE and regular member of the Global EV Alliance meetings, having captured this meaningful project, proposed to give it a much greater dimension by bringing, as far as possible, people from the 4 corners of Europe continental association of electromobilists from the various national associations.

The idea of ​​this extension to the initial project having attracted our friends across the Channel, Stéphane then began extensive prospecting work to contact and involve as many countries as possible, even as the first COVID pandemic began.

Referring to his emails from the first and second quarters of 2021, he explains having contacted with varying success Belgium, Germany, Holland, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Spain including Catalonia, Portugal, Sweden, Poland, Denmark, Norway, Croatia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Greece, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Finland, Ukraine, Estonia, Luxembourg, North Macedonia, Morocco, Slovakia, Slovenia, Russia, Czech Republic, Iceland and even Lichtenstein and Monaco!

The further the country contacted was from the target, the more illusory it seemed to hope for representation, even though COVID made the entire project hypothetical…

For your information, the idea was to define five main routes to Belgium:

  • The northern route (for Holland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland)
  • The Eastern route (for Germany, Poland, Ukraine, Russia)
  • The Central European route (for Austria, Switzerland, Czechia, Slovakia, Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Türkiye)
  • The Balkan route (for Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Greece
  • The Iberian route (for Spain, Portugal, Morocco)

So that a given country (indicated in bold above) can take the lead over a group of countries close to it and so that part of the organization is delegated.

An appointment was made in the vicinity of Brussels, on a date compatible with the arrival of the convoy in Glasgow the day before the opening of the COP.

Christophe GILLAIN from the Belgian association Amperes played an important role in the logistics of this meeting (hotel reservation, meals, meeting room, stickers and flyers).

In the end, around fifteen cars showed up in Belgium and twelve took the Channel Tunnel.

The gradual arrival in Wavre allows vehicles to be stickered:

  • Standard stickers for all cars (as the “global warming band” on the rocker panel of the car…)
  • Specific stickering of certain cars (example : France and Belgium with “SAP Labs France” and “Réseau ZEN by Proviridis” as sponsors).

In the evening, there was :

  • a briefing for the participants,
  • the handing out of jackets and flyers,
  • then a meal.

The opportunity to get to know each other because most of us had never seen each other.

The following day (October 28, 2021), we set off towards the Atomium in Brussels, an emblematic monument

Before going to the premises of AVERE Europe, at the invitation of Philippe VANGEEL to listen to him introduce us to its professional association and to eat there.

Then we took the road from France and Calais, via Dourges to charge all the cars in a charging hub, managed by Providiris, one of our sponsors.

At the end of the afternoon, we were expected in Gravelines, historical small city close from Calais.

On the morning of October 29, there was a very early departure from the hotels located closest to the entrance to the Channel Tunnel.

At the exit of the tunnel, we reached the GRIDSERVE charging station in Braintree, near Cambridge, where we met the English participants, including Bridget PHELPS, Warren PHILIP and Aseer KHALID

After a speech by the CEO of the Gridserve company (Harper TODDINGTON) and the local authorities, then a friendly drink, we took the road (300 km further north) to reach the headquarters of the MYENERGI company, sponsor of our English friends.

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