When Jurgen Lunsmann (a former V8 racing car driver) first entered Targa West 3 years ago, he had to put up with 200 jokes about extension cords from the “petrol heads.” Last year, it was about 100. This year, there was silence as he aced the field in his Tesla Model 3. Winning in a grueling 3 day, 1000 km race over a range of road conditions, he had the only electric car that was participating.
Not only was he racing an electric car, but the car was charged from a mobile generator that runs on reclaimed canola oil from the local chippy (carpenter).
As Jon Edwards from Gemtek explains: We take the waste oil from the local Vietnamese lunch bar, who empties his fryer once a week. While the oil is still hot, we tip it through a colander, which is lined with an old t-shirt. This filters out the crispy bits. The oil is then sent through a centrifuge which removes any remaining fine particles. That is the end of processing. The oil is then stored in either Jerry cans or a 205 litre fuel tank on the truck. It is fed, unprocessed, directly into the diesel engine. It runs very smoothly, producing 96% of the power of diesel and half the NOx emissions.
Jon is a retired oil and gas engineer who has become an advocate for EVs.
No extension cord, but does your car smell of hot chips?
All joking aside, this is a serious combination of high and low tech which solves a few environmental issues in one go. Adelaide, in South Australia, is seriously considering encouraging EV racing in an effort to have a quieter, more environmentally friendly racing season. The Targa West win might be the thin edge of the wedge as EVs slip quietly into motor racing sports.