EV completes Dakar rally for the first time
For the first time in the Dakar Rally's 39-year history, an electric-powered vehicle has completed the multi-stage race across South America.
The Acciona 100% EcoPowered completed the 5,600-mile rally event at the third attempt after trying to finish the race in the previous two events.
Spanish energy company Acciona, which is mainly researches renewable sources of energy and infrastructure, funded the project to show "the capacity of clean energies as a competitive alternative to fossil fuels."
Driven by Argentinian Ariel Jatón and co-piloted by fellow countryman German 'Tito' Rolón, the team finished 57th in the 'Cars' category, 82 hours, 31 minutes and 18 seconds behind the winning Peugeot 3008 DKR of Stéphane Peterhansel and Jean Paul Cottret.
As the world's only top-level electric-powered rallying vehicle, the EcoPowered marks a large milestone in sustainable racing and is the first model in over 18,000 competitors to complete the extreme off-roading event.
Powered by a six fast-charging batteries – which can charge in 60 minutes – the EcoPowered had the equivalent of 340bhp at its disposal, with a six-speed sequential gearbox working alongside a 4x4 traction system. The vehicle is also fitted with solar panels on the roof to help power the internal systems.
After the team finished the race in the Argentinian capital Buenos Aires, Jatón said: "The odyssey is over. This year's Dakar was very tough, with some very intense stages complicated by the weather, and the altitude in Bolivia. It was the most gruelling race in South America, so we are thrilled to have reached the finish line, particularly in an electric car."
With two stages having to be cancelled due to the Río Grande river bursting its banks, organisers described this year's edition of the race 'the toughest in South America', with more than 26% of the competitors in the 'Cars' class withdrawing.
Written by Jack Healy