Hybrids & Electrics

Edd China Sets EV Ice Cream Van Record

Many are familiar with the Wheeler Dealer television series. Those that are might recall that Edd China was a co-host of the show for many years. Well, Mr. China and the series parted company a while back, but that has not stopped him from pursuing other automotive-related activities. To that end, as an acknowledgment of the growing influence of electric vehicles in the world and a need, Mr. China has taken it upon himself to achieve a new EV record. So, what EV record did he go after?

Choosing an EV speed record vehicle

Edd China, former co-host of the Wheeler Dealer television show stands before his EV ice cream truck.
Edd China, former co-host of the Wheeler Dealer television show stands before his EV ice cream truck. | EddChina.com

In a video that chronicles Mr. China’s build, viewers can follow along with him as he chooses a van, a paint scheme, and as he converts the van into an EV. Once completed, he meets up with a representative from the Guinness Book of Records to document his attempt at the record.

Embarrassing EV record attempt

There was a problem with the attempt, though. As Mr. China began his attempt at the ice cream van record, he heard a noise. Immediately afterward, the van went into limp mode. That is a mode that electrically limits speed. It is intended to warn a driver of a mechanical issue, but still provide enough power to get to the side of the road. In the case of Mr. China, the mode was triggered during his world record attempt. Embarrassingly, he was only able to manage speed in the 20 mile-per-hour range. That, of course, was not a new EV record. 

Edd China, former co-host of the Wheeler Dealer television show serves ice cream from his EV van.
Edd China, former co-host of the Wheeler Dealer television show serves ice cream from his EV van. | EddChina.com

Undeterred, Mr. China went back to work. He isolated the problem as a motor controller. So, after a swap, it was a matter of meeting with the folks at Guinness Book of Records again. But, that is where he ran into a problem. The global COVID-19 pandemic was starting to grip the world right at the time he was ready to attempt the EV record again. 

One last timing day avialable

As discouraging as that might have been, Mr. China found out there was one last timing day that was organized by the UK Timing Association. So, he booked his reservation for the timing event. He then took the van to the event for its timed run. You can see the video of the attempt below.

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This time, he was not disappointed. Although his first run was at 75 miles-per-hour, two runs are required for validation. The average of both runs is what gets recorded as the official speed. So, Mr. China’s average for both of his runs that day was 73.92 miles-per-hour (118.96 kilometers-per-hour). That was good enough for the official 2021 edition of the Guinness Book of World Records. 

Not Edd China’s first record

According to Alex Harrington, over at Grand Tour Nation, “Edd holds a host of other records, including the world’s fastest motorised shopping trolley, which is on its way to becoming street legal, and the world’s largest motorised shopping trolley which stands at 3.5 metres tall.”

Edd’s diesel to electric swap

A green Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van on the production line at the Mercedes-Benz AG Ludwigsfelde plant
Mercedes Sprinter vans | Patrick Pleul/picture alliance via Getty Images

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Edd’s Electric Ices EV ice cream van was built upon the popular Mercedes Sprinter van platform. The diesel engine was pulled and replaced by unknown electric componentry. However, the diesel engine that was pulled out also powered the soft-ice cream machine. So, Mr. China had to come up with a way to power the soft ice cream machine. As handy as he is, he had to develop another electric powerplant specifically for the ice cream. That led him to create an electric conversion kit for the soft-serve machine, which he hopes to market and sell that kit to ice-cream vendors in the future. 

According to Mr. China’s own Youtube channel, the whole project took him two years to accomplish. But, now, he is not only holding the EV speed record for ice cream vans but is also looking to save ice cream trucks in the future. The UK has many pollution control measures in place that are restricting diesel-powered ice cream vans. So, he is pursuing the electric conversion kit industry as a way to make sure ice cream trucks do not disappear forever from UK streets.