Photos Courtesy of Charly Rodriguez Omalley
For the last two years, the petrol-powered ProDakar McRae Buggy 4x2, the work of an Anglo-Dutch team headed by rally car driver Alister McRae, has successfully finished on the Dakar Rally, perhaps the world's most extreme car race. The route runs 9,000 mostly off-road kilometers (5,592 mi) through Argentina, Chile and Peru. But for the 2012 race, the McCrae team has set itself a new goal: it will be the first team to field an electric vehicle at the Dakar.
The electric McCrae buggy features a custom made energy management system to help it get through the toughest stages of the race. The battery fast charges to 90% in 15 to 30 minutes. For the rest, I quote the press release:
The new evolution will be powered by a 54KW/h Lithium Ion battery pack through a PM motor with 2000Nm(but it will be limited to 120 NM) of Torque and 200 KW power rating with a weight less than 40 KG
An aerodynamically optimized body is been developed in conjunction with energy recovery shock absorbers that will turn kinetic engine from the ruts and bumps in to electrical energy.
Also, check out the video preview of the attempt:
The Dakar Rally was first held in 1978, and ran from Paris to Dakar, Senegal - thus the name. It was moved to South America in 2009, after the cancellation of the 2008 rally due to fears of terrorist attacks along the route in Mauritania. More than most races, the Dakar is very much an off-road race, and a test of endurance, more than speed.
That's why it's great to see an electric vehicle taking it on - if all goes well, we'll have fantastic proof of the potency of electric cars. Then it'll be a question of getting everyday drivers on board.
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