20 years ago, in spring 1998, seven TWIKEs under the leadership of the then Swiss National Councillor François Loeb embarked on a 70-day 12,000 km electric journey through 14 countries from Switzerland to the North Cape. This impressive pioneering achievement by all participants was able to demonstrate the performance and reliability of the TWIKE, which was still new at the time, as early as the 1990s.
In the beginning there was the question whether it was possible to travel such a long journey to the North Cape with the TWIKE, which was originally planned as a short-distance electric vehicle. As a reminder: In 1998 the TWIKE still drove with NiCd batteries and only with two to three intermediate charges daily the required 200 - 300km range could be achieved. Each TWIKE consumed about 600 kWh of electrical energy for the entire journey. Consumption was thus equivalent to about 0.5l of gasoline per 100km.
The journey led via the Czech Republic, the Baltic States and St. Petersburg to the northernmost end of the continent and via Norway, Sweden, Germany, Holland and Belgium back to Switzerland.
With the TWIKE Challenge in 1998, a limit in the use of electrically powered vehicles was moved. The distance covered at that time and the daily performances still seem amazing today. The entire Challenge was driven without a support vehicle and the luggage of up to 12 passengers as well as cables and tools were transported into the TWIKE. Electricity could be found every 80 to 100 km from the Swiss Mittelland over the plains of the Baltic States to the birch forests of Lapland.
On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the TWIKE Nordkap Challenge we remember and bow to the pioneering achievements of the participants.