Peak of Innovation: E-Truck Reaches Record Solar-Powered Heights

The team at 21,325 feet/6,500 meters – a new world record for e-vehicles. (Source: Gebrüder Weiss / Anna Pocinska)
The team at 21,325 feet/6,500 meters – a new world record for e-vehicles. (Source: Gebrüder Weiss / Anna Pocinska)

High in the Chilean Andes, a team of adventurers in a solar-powered truck has reached new heights, driving higher than any electric vehicle before.

The truck, built by Swiss startup Peak Evolution with support from Austrian logistics company Gebrüder Weiss, ascended more than 21,000 feet up the slopes of Ojos del Salado, the tallest active volcano on Earth. In doing so, it set a new world record for altitude achieved by an electric vehicle, surpassing the previous benchmark of 19,685 feet.

The achievement caps a multi-year effort by Peak Evolution to push the limits of electric mobility. “This is a record not only for this technology, but for our years of research work and for the very future of mobility,” said Patrik Koller, CEO and developer at Peak Evolution. “We hope that this success will attract more attention to alternative drives and their use in mining and other demanding transport tasks.”

Gebrüder Weiss, Peak Evolution’s main sponsor and logistics partner, transported the truck from Switzerland to Chile and provided financial backing for the record attempt. “As the oldest transport and logistics company, we are committed to the future of mobility,” said Frank Haas, head of corporate brand strategy and communications at Gebrüder Weiss. “This success underlines our ongoing support for sustainable mobility projects and innovative technologies. We are delighted for the team and will now bring the record-breaking vehicle safely back to Switzerland.”

The venture began two months ago, when Gebrüder Weiss shipped the truck from Switzerland to Chile. After another overland journey to the Atacama region, home to Ojos del Salado, the Peak Evolution team spent weeks acclimating to the harsh environment and testing the vehicle at elevations nearing 12,000 feet.

In late November, they first broke the 19,685-foot record. A week later, they reached an altitude of 21,325 feet on Ojos del Salado’s western ridge, setting a new benchmark that no production electric vehicle had ever achieved.

The extreme conditions tested both the truck’s technical limits and the adventurers’ endurance. “Despite these extreme conditions, our specially developed vehicle managed to drive higher than any other e-vehicle – let alone a solar-powered one,” Koller said. “We have been training for this moment for four years, so giving up was never an option.”

With the record in hand, the team is now descending Ojos del Salado and will ship the truck back to Switzerland courtesy of Gebrüder Weiss. The company said it will continue supporting similar pioneering mobility projects, including an autonomous truck test next year and a climate research expedition to Greenland.

Gebrüder Weiss, a 500-year-old global freight forwarder based in Austria, has invested heavily in environmental initiatives as part of its commitment to sustainable business practices. The company employs over 8,400 people worldwide, with locations across Europe, Asia and North America.

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