Swiss trio aim high

“We want a new world record for land vehicles!” We? These are the Engadine brothers Patrik (27) and David Koller (29) and their friend from the Unterland region, David Pröschel (30). In order for the three passionate mountaineers, bikers and skiers from Graubünden to do this, they have to go higher than the Guinness Book 6,688 meters above sea level, which two Chileans climbed 14 years ago with their modified Suzuki Samurai on the Ojos del Salado volcano. Our three Swiss summiteers also want to try their hand at this 6,893 meter high mountain, the highest active volcano on earth and the second highest peak in South America on the border between Chile and Argentina. Of course, not with a gasoline or diesel engine, which runs out of power in the thin air, but with a self-converted electric vehicle.

The expedition

Patrik Koller with his mountain bike reconnoitering the 6,893 meter high Argentine-Chilean Ojos del Salado two years ago.

The active volcano Ojos del Salado is located on the edge of the Atacama Desert exactly on the Chilean-Argentine border. Because of the great drought, there is little snow on the 6,893 meter high volcano – the highest active volcano on earth. But the weather is often changeable and always very stormy.

What the three young Swiss can expect on the almost 7,000-meter-high mountain, they found out on their five-week exploration tour in January 2019. “The weather was very nasty and the air above was extremely thin,” says David Koller, who struggled the most with the extreme altitude. “But we now know that there is a navigable route that is not blocked by too large boulders and the gradient of which is within an acceptable range.” If everything goes as hoped and Corona no longer throws the trio through the bill, the expedition (www.peakevolution.ch) should start at the end of November and will take five months including crossings.

However, the three young adventurers are not only interested in the record on their expedition. Rather, with their spectacular “Peak Evolution” campaign, they want to prove that by developing an electric multi-purpose van in combination with photovoltaic on roofs in Swiss agriculture, especially in mountain regions, you can save massive amounts of money, protect nature and support Swiss work. To this end, they founded their start-up DDP Innovation two and a half years ago. “With the idea,” says mechanical engineer David Koller, “to develop a series-ready electric multi-purpose transporter for agriculture, including the infrastructure necessary for operation.” Brother Patrik, wood construction technician, adds: “Because it is difficult to sensitize the public, politicians and investors to the topic, we came up with our idea of ​​a height record.” Site manager Pröschel explains: “The knowledge gained from our adventure should flow into the optimization of our planned series vehicle.”

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