How do you brand Croatia on the world market as an outstanding tourism-oriented country with an incredible scope of historical and cultural sites, all the while remaining focused on preserving its natural resources and staying dedicated to sustainable development? And how should one draw attention of international media to a large number of attractive destinations in one country simultaneously?
With some state-of-the-art electric vehicles, that’s how: Nikola Tesla EV Rally Croatia 2017, already known as the quietest rally in the world, kicked off in Rovinj on 1 June.
The rally covers a 1.400 km route, taking the racers over five islands, six national parks, and numerous charming small towns in Istria and on the coast that aren’t usually promoted as heavily as other Croatian tourism giants.
In 2013, CEO of the company E.V.A. Blue from Zagreb Tina Kolovrat launched the project to promote Croatia’s natural gems and cultural heritage, as well as branding the country as an e-mobility friendly vacation destination.
Nikola Tesla EV Rally is a race for the 21st century; instead of screeching tires, revving engines and clouds of dust our mind instantly jumps to upon hearing the word rally, it presents a completely different approach to racing. Participants from all over the world zoom along the Adriatic coast in eco-friendly electric cars, stopping along the route to charge their vehicles at one of the many charging stations E.V.A. Blue and HEP have been installing in recent years.
“Five years ago, there were only ten electric vehicles in Croatia and only 4 charging spots, so the idea of an EV rally was pronounced brave by the media, to say the least. Today the project gets called innovative and original, and in 2016 an independent international marketing agency listed the rally as one of top 10 premium tourist brand in the world”, said Kolovrat proudly.
Naming the rally after Nikola Tesla seems like the only logical choice. Tesla’s name is considered a synonym for progress and new technologies, states the official website of the event, and the rally is a perfect opportunity for the leading EV manufacturer Tesla Motors to make an appearance at the birth place of the legendary inventor. One leg of the rally will take the racers to Smiljan near Gospić, where Tesla’s legacy is being preserved and promoted by the Nikola Tesla Memorial Park. In a way, the Tesla vehicles are coming home.
The starting idea of the project was to develop a network of collaborating partners, cities and towns, tourist boards and other relevant institutions with a goal of creating quality EV infrastructure in the country. The growing number of new charging stations and the promotion of green technology and renewable energy sources put Croatia on the map of environmentally-friendly destinations.
The event aiming to preserve the environment couldn’t have launched at a better time, as we’re witnessing a worrying trend of world leaders discarding the issue of global warming. On the same day the eco-friendly rally kicked off in Istria, the US President Donald Trump publicly announced the country is withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement. Moments after, Tesla CEO Elon Musk resigned from the President’s economic advisory council, following his pledge to leave the council if the US pulled out of the climate deal. “Am departing presidential councils. Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world”, tweeted Musk on 1 June 2017.
We’re at a crucial moment when it comes to protecting our planet, and events such as Nikola Tesla EV Rally are more than welcome. The racers are currently on their way from Rovinj, via Opatija and Cres island to Mali Lošinj, where the next leg of the race will start tomorrow at 6.