Autoview Motorsport & Motoring

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Range Extended Electric vehicle becomes first to Finish Gruelling Dakar Rally

The Oscar eo in action

A Latvian Rally team has stunned the Motorsport world by conceiving, building and then finishing the most gruesome and gruelling of all the worlds motorsport events in an electric vehicle. 

The 5,600 miles between Mar del Plata in Argentina and Lima in Peru represent some of the most hostile terrain that any vehicle could face. 742 competitors started the Dakar this year, and with the OSCar eo finishing an impressive 77th place overall. Although, there isn't as yet a category for fuel efficiency, the OSCar would have surely won it!

A series hybrid configuration was chosen as the most appropriate for the rally. A single 235 kW / 800 Nm permanent magnet electric motor was coupled directly to a 6-speed transmission which produced enough torque to negotiate the huge sand dunes as well as allowing a satisfactory maximum speed of 120 km/h on off-road terrain. A 60 kW range extender was in constant operation during the rally to maintain the charge level of the 52 kWh Li-ion battery pack from Winston Battery. Range extender’s petrol tank was sized at 240 litres, giving the overall autonomy of up to 1000 km. The team recorded 50% reduction in fuel consumption relative to the conventionally powered rally-raid cars. A significant contributor to this economy was the regenerative braking function of the electric motor, operated by a dedicated hand-lever in the cockpit.

The eO team was thrilled to have completed the rally with no major electrical problems, despite the extensive and harsh loads and the ambient temperatures often in excess of +40C. The well-prepared and robust technologies allowed the crew to focus on the driving duties. Reaching the finish of each leg was indeed no mean feat as even the leading drivers noted that the organizers had laid out an exceptionally difficult route this year.

Finishing the last stage of the rally Māris Saukāns, the project initiator and OSCar eO pilot, said: “This is a great achievement for the whole team and is likely to have implications of a global scale. Motorsport has once again successfully demonstrated new applications of alternative energies and has identified new directions for development.”

Andris Dambis, the technical director and OSCar eO co-driver, agreed: “This is a new highlight in my motorsport engineering career. I am excited to be leading such a rapid development of the future technologies.”

The brand name Drive eO has earned its recognition during the Dakar rally and further public appearances are planned for the near future. The OSCar eO vehicle will showcase its technologies at motorsport, trade and public events. The company is also currently completing its first road-going electric vehicle conversions as part of a larger programme to develop and market electric drive solutions.

No comments:

Post a comment