The Paris-Dakar Rally is one of the toughest tests in international motorsport, pitting cars against blazing heat and shifting sand dunes. Acciona has become the first team to survive the torture test in an all-electric car, completing the 2017 event in the (catchily named) Acciona 100% EcoPowered.
The EcoPowered draws on a 250 kW (340 hp) synchronous electric motor, attached to all four wheels through a six-speed sequential gearbox. There are six fast-charging lithium-ion batteries totalling 150 kWh within the chassis, supplemented by a 100 W solar panel on the roof. Each battery pack can be charged individually for faster pit stops, crucial in the fast and furious world of racing, while low-rolling resistance tires help to improve range.
This was the third time Acciona has tried to complete the Dakar. Having failed to complete the race in 2015, the team shifted focus and managed to complete the OiLybia International Morocco Rally. Using lessons learned in that competition, the 100% EcoPowered managed to complete 80 percent of the 2016 Dakar, but still fell short of the finish line.
Although it finished 57th in class this year, simply crossing the line in 2017 made Acciona the first team to complete the rally in a car with zero local emissions. Considering more than 25 percent of all entrants failed to finish, that's no mean feat.
"The odyssey is over," says Ariel Jatón, driver of the Acciona 100% EcoPowered. "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."
In the petrol classes, the Peugeot 3008 DKR took out the top three spots in Car Class, with Stephane Peterhansel pipping Sebastien Loeb by just five minutes. Kamaz was first and second in trucks, while Sam Sunderland topped the two-wheeled tables on his KTM.