MUNICH, Germany - Three winners of a contest in Europe, organised by Bridgestone and German car magazine AutoBild, were invited to take part in a journey from Munich to Rome following Hannibal's journey with elephants over the Alps in 218BC, driving the new electric BMW i3hatchback and hybrid BMW i8 sports car.
FOLLOWING HANNIBAL'S TRAIL: Three test drivers followed the ancient Carthaginian general Hannibal's route through the alps behind the wheel of BMW's new i8 hybrid (left) and i3 battery car. Image: BMW
The Hannibal Tour 2014 was a test for long-distance travel in battery-powered BMWs.
FIRST TIME EV DRIVERS
The cars were kitted out with specially developed tyres and put through their paces under a variety of road conditions. Bridgestone is the exclusive supplier of tyres for the i3 and i8.
The start point of the four-day adventure was BMW World in central Munich, Germany. It was a first for German Alpine adventurers Claudia Wohl, Oliver Widmann and Christian Lorenz, none of whom had driven an electric car.
IMAGE GALLERY: 2014 Hannibal Tour
The goal for the first day was to reach Zell am See, roughly 170km from Munich. Lorenz said at the end of the first day: “At the start you tend to look at the display quite a lot to check the vehicle's range but after a while you get used to it and it stops being an issue."
STAGE 2 - VENICE
The second stage of the journey saw drivers travel 325km towards the town of Mira, near Venice. The twists and turns of the Grossglockner High Alpine Road provided a great opportunity to test the EVs handling in winter conditions.
To ensure enough grip in the snow and on wet roads, the i3 was fitted with Blizzak LM-500 and the i8 Blizzak LM-32 winter tyres.
The third day of Hannibal's route was the longest at 600km. Heading out from Mira with fully charged batteries towards Florence some 260km away, the drivers took a break before covering the 340km to Rocca di Papa, Rome.
APRILIA PROVING GROUND
The final day posed a particular challenge as drivers took on chaotic traffic in Rome, headed for the Colosseum. The conclusion of the tour was a visit to Bridgestone’s European test track in Aprilia.
Each of the participants were driven around the four-kilometre oval track by former Formula 1 driver and current Bridgestone test driver Stefano Moden behind the wheel of a BMW i8.
Widmann said: “Drifting around corners at 180km/h was really impressive. At that speed, steering a car diagonally is sheer madness and it gave me goose bumps."