The Acciona 100% EcoPowered rally car powered its way to the finish of the world's toughest motor event without burning a drop of fuel and with no tailpipe emissions.
The iconic Dakar rally (formerly known as the Paris–Dakar Rally before its move to South America) is a grueling race that covers some 5,600 miles of rough terrain, and it chews up and spits out drivers and vehicles at every chance. It's also a decidedly petroleum-centric competition, with gas-powered motorcycles, rally cars, and trucks all competing for a chance to top the podium in their respective categories. But a few years ago, a new entry in the Dakar rally took a totally different approach, and instead brought an electric vehicle to compete.
The first two attempts, in 2015 and 2016, weren't successful, but this past week, the Acciona 100% EcoPowered vehicle became the first zero-emissions vehicle to finish the Dakar. It didn't win the race, and in fact didn't even place (the team actually came in last, but then again, 26% of all entries didn't even finish), but considering the incredibly challenging conditions of this epic rally, just finishing it was enough, and in doing so, it made history.
"The 4x4 vehicle, crewed by Ariel Jatón and Tito Rolón, completed the world's most arduous motor event to reach the finish line in Buenos Aires — the only one of over 18,000 vehicles in the history of the Dakar Rally to complete the event without consuming a drop of fuel or emitting a single molecule of CO2." - Acciona Dakar
Built entirely in Spain, the home of Acciona (which is a leading Spanish renewable energy and infrastructure firm), the EcoPowered rally car is said to be "the most powerful electric car in the world" thanks to a 250 kW electric motor capable of producing 340 horsepower, coupled with six "ultra-fast charging" lithium battery packs with a 150 kWh capacity, and an onboard 100 W solar panel. With that battery and motor combo, the vehicle can run for about 200 kilometers "in race conditions," with a 60 minute charge time to 'refuel' the batteries.
Although this electric car is something way above and beyond what most (non-racing) drivers need, and isn't likely to ever be a production car, the research and development of a rugged and reliable electric vehicle that can charge in about an hour is yet another nail in the coffin for petroleum vehicles. Learn more about this history-making vehicle at Acciona Dakar.