Acciona Bringing Its Electric Off-Road Race Car To Dakar Rally Again (Third Year In A Row)

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For the third year in a row, the Spanish energy giant Acciona will be entering its all-electric off-road rally car, the ACCIONA 100% EcoPowered (appropriately), in the upcoming 2017 Dakar Rally.

As in the previous 2 years’ races, the company’s all-electric rally car will be the only such car competing the race — mostly owing to inherent (though temporary…) disadvantages relating to recharging times and top speeds.

I say “temporary” since electric vehicle recharging speeds are likely to be slashed significantly over the coming years as the technology is refined (Tesla seems to be getting close, going by recent comments made by CEO Elon Musk).

According to Acciona, the motive behind the race entry is an effort to “reach an optimal balance between electric propulsion technology, powered entirely by batteries, and the unique characteristics of a racing car prepared for an extreme adventure such as the Dakar.”

As some background here, the “Dakar Rally” was originally (~40 years ago) a race from Paris, France, to Dakar, Senegal, but it is now a ~5,600 mile race through the deserts and jungles of Argentina, Bolivia, and Paraguay (in South America). The reasons for the switch (made in 2009) were apparently related to security concerns about the route taken through North Africa.

Hybrid Cars provides more: “The ACCIONA 100% EcoPowered electric car employs a 150-kilowatt-hour pack that uses the same Panasonic cells as the Tesla Model S made of modules that can be removed when they are not needed for certain stages of the race. The batteries send electrons through a purpose-built gearbox to a 300-horsepower synchronous electric motor that can deliver a stump-pulling 516 pounds-feet of torque. Top speed is 93 mph.”

Notably, the roof features some solar PV cells, which are used to recharge the batteries … to some degree or another.

Hybrid Cars adds: “With the help of a support truck, the Acciona race team is able to recharge the batteries at various checkpoints in about an hour with a fast charger powered by a biodiesel-powered generator. Obviously, with the need to recharge for an hour at checkpoints and the Acciona Dakar EV’s 93 mph top speed, the car could never challenge the mighty factory-backed Peugeot and Mini teams for the win.”

Perhaps not, but it’s an interesting demonstration of improving electric vehicle technologies anyways. Here’s to hoping the ACCIONA 100% EcoPowered does better this year than previously.

The 2017 Dakar Rally is slated to begin just a few days from now, running from January 2 through January 14.

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James Ayre

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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