2014 WAVE Electric Vehicle Festival, Stuttgart

by | Sep 22, 2014

Coming face to face with a stuffed horse was not what I had expected at Europe’s biggest gathering of electric vehicle enthusiasts. We were in Germany, and likely to see a world record broken, when over 500 electric vehicles gathered together in Stuttgart.

Having just converted the Stellar Violets ute to 100% Electric, it was exciting to see so many unique custom electric vehicles,  as well as the latest offerings from car companies like Tesla and Mercedes.

But it was weird seeing that horse. Its empty black eyes and elegant form, ghostly proud. I eye-balled it for a while, then got the creeps and walked on into the exhibition. It was the Mercedes Museum, and we were there because our host, Jenny, was wildly enthusiastic about it.

We soon understood why. The exhibition was a world-class look at the history of transport, as much as the history of one car company. If we pause and think about human history, it wasn’t so long ago that we depended on the horse, and sail boats, to get ourselves around, and literal horse-power. For thousands of years, that was how it was.

How will it be in another 100 years? Another 1000?

What I liked most about the exhibition was the feeling I was left with. Like at the end of a great film, when it says, “to be continued”.

The last exhibit was a hydrogen fuel cell electric car. It’s obviously not the final answer. The story isn’t over because we’re living it. We’re creating it. What will transport look like in ten, 20, or 100 years? Horses? Hydrogen fuel cells? Or something that hasn’t even been invented, or discovered yet?

With the historical context for the event well and truly under our belt, we hit the parade ground in front of the museum early the next day.

Our Couchsurfing hosts, Jenny and Stephen, were pretty excited about it too. Stephen and his university mates had built an electric beach buggy to go into the parade. No beaches around to test it on that day, but they took me for a spin anyway. We tore around the carpark at mach 3!

Just a few of the 500+ vehicles and their proud pilots, from all over Europe.

Thanks a million to Jenny and Stephen, you were wonderful hosts. Kudos to the fantastic travellers’ network, Couchsurfing, for connecting us.