Hence, we had been trailing the three prototypes of Range Rover Hybrid that had started their tour from Solihull in UK to Mumbai covering a distance of with 1,060 miles (1,700 kilometres). Now on the latest on this topic had lent us that, vehicles had crossed Himalayas and are entering the Nepal-India border. Specifically, the Silk Trail 2013 expedition is about to enter the fourteenth and final country on its epic journey.
The vehicles will enter India from the town Mahendranagaron on the Indo-Nepal border.
Confirming some details about their past experiences, the seventh of the expedition’s eight-week journey started by crossing a deep river ravine on the Friendship Bridge connecting the town of Zhangmu in China with the village of Kodari in Nepal. One-by-one the Range Rover Hybrids were given permission to drive slowly across the bridge with the passengers required to follow them over on foot.
On the other side of the bridge lay a journey to Kathmandu of merely 85 miles – but the traffic was so dense, and the roads so severely potholed, that the Range Rover again had to draw on its reserves of acceleration and its class leading (590mm) wheel articulation to ride smoothly over the bumps. Even so, this short distance took three hours to drive – an indication of the challenges that would lie ahead in the next week on Nepal’s hazardously busy roads.
The next leg of the journey, from Kathmandu to Pokhara, a town surrounded by three of the ten highest mountains in the world, was a 127-mile stretch of road demanding eight hours of unwavering concentration. Every foot of road space was contested by bicycles, tricycles, horse-drawn carts, scooters, motorbikes, cars, mini-buses, buses, trucks, roving cows,slow-moving water buffalo, loose dogs, and fearless pedestrians.
The Range Rover’s commanding driving position was invaluable, allowing drivers to see further down the road and recognise hazards sooner. The need for regular braking also kept the Hybrid motor’s battery recharged, ensuring that it assisted the 3-litre SDV6 diesel engine and further improved fuel economy despite the ever-changing pace of driving.
The three Range Rover Hybrid prototypes then were ready to cross the bridge over the Mahakali River and into India, for the final 1,000 miles to the expedition’s destination, the city of Mumbai.