DakarFuture. That is the name that the organizers of the legendary Dakar rally they chose to define their plan to make the iconic competition environmentally friendly. With an eye on 2030, when all vehicles are intended to be zero emissions, a route was drawn up that will have its first episode in 2022 during the 44th edition that will take place from January 1 to 14 in Saudi Arabia.
"We did not announce the Dakar Future to dream ... We did it because we think that is the way", explains David castera, director of the Dakar. "There are many projects ... It is not an easy road, but we aspire that in 2030 we will have a fully electric Dakar"added the former motorcyclist and boater.
The companies have already picked up the glove. Audi will debut in the difficult test with a hybrid prototype that uses a combustion engine to generate electrical energy; while in 2024, Toyota I would participate with a model that will surely use hydrogen.
"Making an electric vehicle is not complicated, the most difficult thing is knowing where that electricity comes from"Castera mused. “Audi, for example, has an engine that works like a generator and uses little fuel. That is a good solution, but we want zero emissions. That is why we are attentive to hydrogen and other solutions ”.
When autoworld asked him how the Dakar would adapt to the new technology, Castera said: "Sure we will make some adaptations, but I do not want to fall into doing something like the Extreme E. We have to respect the spirit of the Dakar, that is very important."
And then he explained why they bet on the hydrogen fuel cell. “When we talk about electric vehicles we do not think of something with a battery pack that can roll until the power runs out. The idea is that the electricity is constant and that is why we think of hydrogen, which would allow us to do at least one refueling during the day. That is why we are already thinking with the FIA about having stages of no more than 500 kilometers ”, he said.
Vehicles using an H2-powered electric motor have oxygen added to a battery or fuel cell. That produces the combustion that generates the electrical energy that is capable of moving the wheels.
In this question lies its main difference with the batteries of electric cars, since they generate electricity as the car needs them; while what fuel cells do is accumulate the energy generated.
Although this technology is currently in an initial phase and is still a minority option, specialists say that it will take off once the necessary infrastructures are developed and sales prices are reduced. In that sense, a race like the Dakar can help cut times considerably.