Hyundai Kona SUV – An Electric Car

Highest Altitude achieved by an Electric Car - Guinness World Records

Story of Guinness World Record for achieving highest altitude (5,771 meters) by an Electric Car – Hyundai Kona SUV

There is a saying “Our goals can only be reached through the vehicle of a plan” Team Triumph Expeditions had the event plan to be executed for the Record-breaking achievement a long back. It is not just an overnight achievement, the road to Guinness World Record for Hyundai Kona SUV began with Triumph’s plan that immediately came into execution, the entire team made this event possible with their hard work and it was purely an outcome of the team’s passion for adventure.

The success story of this event began two months back and we are glad to share the memorable moments throughout the event through the most adorable images and videos. There were more breathtaking moments and indeed it will wow you and be a visual treat.


On November 21st, 2019 Hyundai India approached Triumph Expeditions asking for an attempt to Everest base camp of 5200m with Hyundai Kona SUV – An electric car for Emission impossible program.

We, Triumph Expeditions made it clear to Hyundai India that the existing Record for driving an electric car to the highest altitude is 5,715.28 meters and we need to make it for at least 5716meters to achieve Guinness World Record and Triumph Expeditions took the task with great pleasure due to the adventure stays behind the breathtaking journey.

As a first step, we applied to the Guinness World Record for approval of the attempt. Once we got the approval the hardship begins right from the initial stage, Locating the lowest altitude place, as well as the highest altitude pass. It was a great challenge for the entire team. We communicated around plenty of Tour Operators, Road Trippers, Backpackers in Tibet, local guides & people residing in local to find the highest pass and no one was aware of the location, road condition, weather condition and we were spending two weeks to know about the pass. Till December 5th 2019 we couldn’t gather the information on the condition of the pass at 5800m altitude. We were not sure how to proceed further to find the pass on the highest altitude!!!!!


On December 5’th We started our Journey to Lhasa, Capital of Tibet where we experienced a freezing Temperature of -.25 degree Celsius. Then we travelled to the North, East and Western parts to find the Highest Altitude area of Tibet for the Operation.

Then We planned to reach out Purog Kangri Glacier which had the highest altitude of around 6000 meters above Sea level. Unfortunately, the Purog glacier was officially declared as a National Reserve by the Chinese Government. So that was dropped.

After a long Exploration on December 12’th, We at last found the Sawula Pass which had an altitude of 5828 meters above Sea Level as a Perfect match of achieving the highest altitude by an electric car – Hyundai Kona SUV. Special credits to Namgyal Jigme who played a vital role in finding the Sawula Pass. Also in Sawula at times of Winter, it’s a very hard thing of surviving in terms of Food and Accommodation. Our Team overcame all those situations.

And in the Last Besides all those It was also not an easy task to reach Sawula, As the Indians were not allowed to enter the Pass as Order issued by the Tibetian Government!!

GUINNESS WORLD RECORD (Hyundai Kona SUV) STORY – DAY 1 (01.01.2020)

After obtaining the Official Permission from the Nepalese and Tibetan Government Our Team Scheduled the Mighty Trip for achieving the “GUINNESS WORLD RECORD for driving an ELECTRIC CAR (HYUNDAI KONA SUV) to the HIGHEST ALTITUDE” title.

On the 1’st of January 2020, around 5 am in the morning, We started from Kathmandu, Capital of Nepal to Mukhiyapatti Musaharniya situated at a Lower altitude of 40 meters above sea level in the Indo Nepal Border and reached Mukhiyapatti Musaharniya by 3.00 pm.

Once after reaching Mukhiyapatti Musaharniya, we started with our Official formalities and it was over by 05.30 pm taking around two and a half hours from our Arrival. Then we started to Bardibas, which is around 65kms from Mukhiyapatti. The Journey to Bardibas took nearly three hours.

After a Challenging day, we Stayed overnight at Bardibas to continue our Toughest Journey the next day.

GUINNESS WORLD RECORD (Hyundai Kona SUV) STORY – DAY 2 (02.01.2020)

We started our day two journey from Bardibas at 5.00 am and headed towards Kathmandu. The temperature was 5 degree Celsius and we are aware that the temperature we faced at day two was just a glimpse of what the team is going to experience in the upcoming days which will be even worse.

After travelling for a distance of around 200km, we reached Kathmandu by 3.00 pm. We were given a warm welcome from the team which was very much enthusiastic after a long journey in the rough conditions. Once after reaching the Hyundai showroom, we charged the Kona SUV electric car for 3 hrs and we had our meals.

After charging the vehicle we started our journey again from Tunkune at 5.30 pm and reached Bidur at 10.00 pm. Road conditions from Kathmandu to Bidur was poor. Even though the conditions were poor, the performance of the electric car was too good to mention. After a journey of 17hrs (with 3 hrs halt) we ended the journey for the day at Bidur and waited for the sunrise to travel towards our achievement.

GUINNESS WORLD RECORD (Hyundai Kona SUV) STORY – DAY 3 (03.01.2020)

The third-day journey started at 5.00 am with great excitement since the team was going to cross the Nepal border and enter Tibet for the next stage of the adventure. We covered the distance of 80km in 9 hrs due to poor road condition and reached the Nepal border around 3.00 pm. It was a long journey without exceeding 10-15km/hr speed.

Though we reached Nepal border at 3.00 pm, it was almost the closing time for Tibet entrance since they follow Beijing time and it’s 2.15 hrs ahead of Nepal. We were left only with 60 minutes for custom clearance inside Tibet which is around 80 Km distance from Nepal border.

To our great surprise, the road condition post-Nepal border was literally like a highway (covered with snow) and temperature falling below sub-zero degrees, it was contrasting to the road condition we travelled from Bidur to Nepal border due to which we were able to cover the total distance of 60 Km within one hour with Hyundai Kona SUV – An Electric Car and cleared Tibet custom with the cooperation of Chinese officials. After clearing customs procedure we reached Keyrong at 7.30 pm and halted to proceed our day four journey.

GUINNESS WORLD RECORD (Hyundai Kona SUV) STORY – DAY 4 (04.01.2020)

Day four journey started from Lower Keyrong at 9.30 am after breakfast. We couldn’t start at 5.00 am like the first three days since the temperature at Keyrong was -20 degree Celsius which made the entire team suffer from symptoms of AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness). Somehow we managed to start the journey due to the passion the team carried for adventure.

The plan for the day is to reach Saga, and the route plan is Lower Keyrong – Upper Keyrong – Saga. The team travelled 20 km in the lower Keyrong valley, and we were blocked by army check post. We reached the check post by 10.30 am, and we were informed that Upper Keyrong is fully covered by snow for 5 feet.

We were asked to wait until the snow-covered area gets cleared. Finally, we were informed by the officials at 3.30 pm that the permission for the day to cross the check post is closed because the snow-covered area couldn’t get cleared completely.

The team with a great disappointment returned to the lower Keyrong at 4.30 pm and halted at the hotel where we spent Day three charging Hyundai Kona SUV – An electric car and hoping for better climate at Day five.

The scenes got even worse when we started to experience -28 degree Celsius post evening. Continue reading to feel the adventure we faced in crossing upper Keyrong at the drastic climate.

GUINNESS WORLD RECORD (Hyundai Kona SUV) STORY – DAY 5 (05.01.2020)

The Day five again started from Lower Keyrong at 9.00 am with the hope to reach Saga before evening. Once again, we were stopped, at the army check post and, the reason was the same as day four. We started to wait at the check post carrying the dreams to reach Saga within the end of the day. It was half-past noon still we didn’t get approval to cross the check post. Somehow we managed to stay with hope and, it was 4.30 pm yet we didn’t receive any permission nor the officials didn’t send us back.

At 5.00 pm team got permission to travel past check post. We started our journey towards Upper Keyrong. The road was very much skidding due to hard snow-covered road condition. It was very tough, to drive in such road condition but, adventure lovers would love to be in such a situation and Hyundai Kona SUV – An electric car really performed well on the tough road condition. It took four hours to reach Upper Keyrong.

We reached Upper Keyrong army check post at 9.00 pm and, the Chinese officials were not ready to allow us to cross the check post since there is a high pass at 5280 meters and it is not safe to travel the pass during night time. We were in a situation to reach Saga the same day since we have to complete the Guinness World Record attempt and leave China before 09-02-2020. Delay in reaching Saga would end up in a total mess.

Finally, after explaining the entire plan and issue in skipping the night travel, the officials at the check post informed us about an option to travel the same night. It was to reach the police headquarters to get permission from the head in charge. We reached police headquarters around 10.00 pm and met the person in charge at midnight and explained the entire story in detail.

After hearing our situation, he allowed us to travel to Saga at our own risk. We were overwhelmed with happiness and started our journey to Saga at 12.30 am experiencing -30 degree Celsius climate. It was around 2.00 am when we faced the next hurdle in our journey.

The team was travelling in the Hyundai Kona SUV – An electric car, due to the same reason, we couldn’t use the heater since using the heater in electric will consume a lot of power in a quick time. It was freaking -30 degree Celsius climate with glasses opened driving in hard snow-covered road condition. No words can explain the team member’s mentality at the time of travel. Suresh Kumar Narayanaswamy was driving the car and, when we reached the high pass, the road was covered by snow for two feet. The entire team started to clear the snow. On the process, we noticed that Suresh Kumar Narayanaswamy suffered frostbite in legs.

With few medical kit and first aid, he managed to survive the situation and proceeded the journey with us. We started from the pass around 2.30 am and reached Saga at 4.00 am. It was almost a day journey from Lower Keyrong to Saga. The team had a great adventure which would be worth remembering for a long time.

GUINNESS WORLD RECORD (Hyundai Kona SUV) STORY – DAY 6 (06.01.2020)

At 4.00 am the team reached Saga and visited the regular hotel where we usually stay when visiting China, but the team faced power scarcity in the hotel. We need the power to charge the car then only we can proceed for the attempt. So the team started searching for the hotel in and around the city. Then we found a hotel around 6.00 am and plugged the Hyundai Kona SUV for charging and went for rest after a long day of 21Hours.

Around 11.00 am we went to check on the power status of the car, to our surprise, it was charged only 5%. The reason for the same is due to power fluctuation in the city.

Again the team went in search of the electricity resource and found one last destination at 3.00 pm. We started to charge the electric car and had the discussion and preparation for the next day, which is the official attempt day. In the meantime, almost entire team members (9 members) were severely affected by cold, AMS and, they were suffering a lot at freaking -30 degree Celsius.

Keeping the health condition of the team in mind, we decided to send back a few to Kathmandu except Mr Suresh Kumar Narayanaswamy, Mr.Wang Dui, Mr.Jigme Namgyal & Mr.Dawa Sherpa. After sending others back to Kathmandu, the team had the discussion and plans for the attempt day. Hyundai Kona SUV was charged till 1.00 am and everyone in the team was witnessing the charging process on an alternative basis since if it gets failed the next day attempt will be in a total mess. At 1.00 am the electric car was charged fully and ready for the attempt the next morning. After the confirmation of full charge, the team went to have a good sleep awaiting for the Sunrise.

GUINNESS WORLD RECORD (Hyundai Kona SUV) STORY – DAY 7 (07.01.2020)

The Official Guinness World Record attempt day has begun with great excitement and the entire team of five members in two-car, Mr Suresh driving the electric car Hyundai Kona SUV and other members in another car started the journey from Saga at 10.00 am to achieve the Guinness World Record for driving An electric car Hyundai Kona SUV to the highest altitude. After crossing the 5300 meters high pass, we started to travel towards Tsochen County where the attempt destination was a deviation of 80 Kms from the highway. The entire 80 Km was Gravel road and, it was very much challenging for the team to drive in such road condition.

Around 2.00 pm the team has covered almost 60 Km of the distance and was in great enthusiasm to achieve the record and return within a couple of hours. The climate was so drastic it was the furious wind blowing in such a way that it would take even a person down. The team slowly managed to get to the 5630 meters altitude and was 100 meters away from creating the Guinness World Record.

The unexpected hurdle team faced at 5630 meters was the entire 100 meters and beyond was covered by snow. It was more than 8 feet from the road level. The entire dream got shattered seeing the road condition and all the members of the team except Mr Suresh decided to drop the mission since it is not possible to clear the snow under such climatic condition without sufficient manpower. The team somehow convinced to drive Mr Suresh back to Saga. On their way back they found a small village with only six home and around 15-20 people residing and a lady Chinese official looking after the village.

The team got a little bit of hope and approached the lady officer for help to clear the snow. The team explained the entire situation and hardship we have crossed in the 45 days expedition to attain the Guinness World Record title. She listened to the entire story and initially, she refused since Sawula pass was not open to Indians and she started questioning how did Mr Suresh get to the pass. After submitting the legal permission documents and cross verifying with the other Chinese officials in the border she agreed to help the team the next morning to clear the snow with manpower.

It was 6.00 pm and she provided accommodation for the team since it is not safe to travel back at evening and promised to help the team achieve the Guinness World Record title the next day morning. Once again holding back the dream in hearts the team spend the night hoping for a successful attempt at Day Eight.

GUINNESS WORLD RECORD (Hyundai Kona SUV) STORY – DAY 8 (08.01.2020)

The team spent the night with a lot of mixed emotions out of which fear and anxiety to complete the forty-five days long journey with great achievement made the team sleepless. Every hour was like spending a whole night and temperature drop down to -35 degree Celsius. The Guinness World Record Title is just 60 Km ahead from us. Everyone’s thought was to make the perfect move next day and achieve the record for driving an electric car (Hyundai Kona SUV) to the highest altitude.

The team was ready by 7.00 am and approached the lady officer for the journey, but she was very clear to start the travel only by 11.00 am due to the weather condition. She provided breakfast for the team and asked us to wait. Around 11.00 am eight local people, started their journey to clear the snow. Once after reaching the destination, the labours started clearing the snow. The issue everyone faced on the eight-day is the climate condition the wind was so drastic. Since the Sawola pass is a valley, on clearing the snow, the wind blowing from both side of mighty mountains keeps on covering the road on the high pass with snow in a short period. At a point of time, the team couldn’t get down from the car due to the wind blowing on the pass. The labours left the place and, only the team was waiting with hope to complete the achievement.

It was around 2.00 pm we started to lose hope since the car started to shake heavily with the drastic wind flow. We waited for the wind flow to get back to normal. Around 3.00 pm the wind flow reduced slightly the team begun to clear the snow. The increase in airflow made us feel the drop in temperature. After nearly one hour of hardship, Mr.Suresh, Mr.Mohammed Thahir, Mr.Wang Dui, Mr.Jigme Namgyal & Mr.Dawa Sherpa cleared the snow and climate paved the way for us.

Now the 100 meters journey left for the title achievement. The most enjoyable journey the team ever made in the past forty-five days. Yes, the team reached an altitude of 5771 meters in an electric car (Hyundai Kona SUV). We started recording the evidence for the Guinness World Record. It took nearly two hours to complete the Formalities. The team started the journey back to Tsochen County. It was a journey of rejoicing after achieving great success. Team Triumph Expedition was extremely proud and happy after making the impossible possible with the passion for adventure left within the entire crew. The team reached the village around 6.30 pm and thanked the lady officer for her help and reached Tsochen County to spend the night.


Triumph Expeditions believes in “Showing Gratitude is the simplest yet most powerful thing one can do!” We take this space and post to thank everyone who has done their part most wonderfully to achieve this Guinness World Record Title. It’s been a long journey and, many have put their hard work and, the passion which made the dream to come true. Team Triumph Expeditions have to thank four pillars of this achievement.

Shekhar Babu Bachinepally – Founder of Transcend Adventures, is the one who was the moral support for Triumph Expeditions throughout the journey. He has the most experience with the Mount Everest Climbing on the northern side and vast knowledge about the terrains of Tibet, which was most helpful for the entire team of Triumph Expeditions. He explained the precautions and climatic condition of the journey to the team in detail. He also guided Mr Suresh when he suffered frostbite, which was helpful to overcome the situation. Team Triumph Expeditions takes immense pleasure in thanking Mr Shekhar Babu Bachinepally through this post.

Mohamed Thahir is the man behind the plan and execution of the entire event. He travelled with the team throughout from the beginning to end. He communicated with the GWR team regularly and helped triumph expeditions to execute the plan flawlessly. He was the best in communication which helped the team to communicate with the authorities throughout the event without any issues right from applying the to receiving the certificate. Team Triumph Expeditions thank Mr Mohamed Thahir heartfully for putting his time and effort in achieving this milestone.

Dawa Sherpa is the next pillar of the event. Age is just a number for this person. He is sixty years old, and he was travelling with the team for twenty-five days. His energy was just amazing, he was with the team throughout the journey, till the last day, and his effort despite his age left everyone speechless. Team Triumph Expedition thanks Mr Dawa Sherpa for his efforts and hard work. We are just amazed by the passion he has for adventure.

Namgyal Jigme & Raghunath Reddy were the persons who took the most challenging task of surveying and finding the highest altitude pass and lowest altitude place respectively. Mr Ragunath Reddy was the one who explored Nepal and did a vast survey to let the team know the nook and corner of the journey. Mr Namgyal Jigme just spent his own money of nearly 5 Lakhs INR to explore the Sawula pass. Without their survey, it wouldn’t be easy for the team to travel and manage the situation we faced. It was a remarkable task achieved by Mr Namgyal Jigme & Mr Ragunath Reddy. Triumph Expeditions would like to extend our heartful thanks to them through this post.

Special thanks to Jigme Wangdui, who took care of boarding and lodging of the team throughout the journey. His efforts mean so much to the team. He made the team travel hassle-free. His efforts made us focus on the event without worrying about travel or accommodation. Hearty Thanks to Mr Wang Dui for being there for the team when it needs.

“Alone we can do so little; Together we can do so much!” Once again Triumph Expeditions’ heartful thanks for everyone who stood with us to achieve this Guinness World Record for driving an Electric Car (Hyundai Kona SUV) to the highest altitude.

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