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Munich-Rome: On the trail of Hannibal

2014-12-11 11:19

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

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.

The Hannibal Tour 2014 was a test for long-distance travel in battery-powered BMWs.


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."


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.


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."

Read more on:    bmw  |  rome  |  green  |  electric cars

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