24-Hour Eco Grand Prix Race at Nürburgring
One person truly can make a difference. When it comes to promoting green energy and all-electric transportation, Swiss entrepreneur and consultant at the German Congress (Bundestag) Michel von Tell (40) is setting world records and changing the way we think about e-mobility. We reported on his riding an all-electric Harley-Davidson LiveWire motorcycle 1,070 miles in less than 24 hours through four countries last year. Now Michel is planning to break a new record.
An Interview with Michel von Tell
In this exclusive interview, Michel revealed his plan for a 24-hour all-electric car race around the famous Nürburgring Gran Prix race course in Germany. Nicknamed “The Green Hell” by racing legend Jackie Stewart, the course is the standard by which all performance cars set lap times and is known for being one of the most treacherous courses in the world. It’s the perfect place to check the stamina and resilience of the new all-electric Porsche Taycan as Michel hopes to put the car through its paces for 24 grueling hours and set a few new world records in an electric car.
Nürburgring Eco Grand Prix
The brainchild of EV racer Rafael de Mestre, known for his exploits to race around the world in 80 days in a Tesla, the Nürburgring Eco Gran Prix race has been in the planning process for the last few years. “The idea is to show that electric mobility is more interesting than most people think,” Michel tells us. “The role model for this event is the 24-hour LeMans which is the perfect setting to demonstrate electric cars’ suitability for everyday use.”
The impressive team that is working to pull this event off was slowed down last year by the corona virus but are pushing ahead to make the endurance race happen this year. “Thanks to the kind help of Michael P. Seiter, a colleague of mine from the Bundestag, we were able to attract some celebrity drivers and make the race even more popular,” Michel says. “For example, German Formula One racing legend Kai Ebel may be on our VIP Team. Christian Lindner (leader of the liberal Free Democratic Party of Germany) is also being discussed. If everything works out, we will start the race together in Team Porsche.” The car of choice for this world record setting race will be the amazing Porsche Taycan Turbo S, capable of zero to 60 mph in under three seconds.
World Record Inspiration
When asked about the inspiration for his world record of riding an all-electric motorcycle for 24 hours, Michel says, “I have loved motorcycles since I was a little boy. When I was 13, I did my first motocross race. Since then, I ride whenever possible. I mainly ride a 30-year-old, very loud chopper, but I also own a Harley LiveWire.”
The 24-hour endurance ride actually began as a bet. “A friend of mine is always making fun of the range of my electric bike,” Michel recalls. “He would talk about how the LiveWire is only good for city traffic and so on.” The LiveWire has an EPA-estimated range of 146 miles. “So, one day I offered him a bet that I could ride it one thousand miles in one day. What can I say, he was reckless enough to bet against me.”
We asked von Tell what it was like to pilot the LiveWire over one thousand miles in 24 hours. “It is a very difficult thing to ride an electric motorcycle,” Michel laughs. “Two of the main things that I love about classic bikes is gone, the sound and the vibration of the motor. It feels a bit like you are in a sci-fi movie. It is very quiet and fast. The record itself was hard. Twenty-four hours is a long time and over 1,000 miles in the saddle is a long journey. The good thing is, I guess it will take a long time until my record will be beaten.”
To wrap the interview up, we asked Michel why he is so dedicated to promoting electric vehicles. “I always like new stuff and to be a ‘first adopter.’ I like to support new trends and I think electric cars will be a huge part of future mobility. They will soon be cheaper than a gasoline powered car. I guess it’s unstoppable.”