Want some environmentally friendly racing action? If your eco-conscience aches every time you watch a desert race, good news: New alternative energy projects are coming to the Dakar Rally in 2022, and the Baja 1000 as well … errrr, maybe.
For years, global race series have talked about alternative energy ideas, but it often goes nowhere. Racers and teams want a level playing field. The comparative advantages/disadvantages of EVs and other alternative energy vehicles make it very hard to have that level playing field.
But, change comes eventually, whether we want it or not. With that in mind, we see that Audi is now working an a gas/electric hybrid car for the 2022 Dakar Rally, with ex-moto racer Stephane Peterhansel on board. Carlos Sainz and Mattias Ekstrom will also run Audi’s new RS Q e-tron 4×4 hybrid, with three of these cars in total.
Audi’s new car has a massive 52 kWh battery on-board powering the electric motors (one for each axle), as well as a turbocharged two-litre four-cylinder gasoline engine. The gasoline engine charges the batteries, as they would not store enough energy to power the car through a day’s stage otherwise.
The batteries also recharge through regenerative braking, as is common with EVs. Find more details on the car at Motorsport.com.
What about hydrogen power? That’s another strong contender in the motorsport market, as it bypasses some of of the drawbacks of electric energy (recharge times, heavy batteries). Welp, SCG (abbreviation of Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus) has announced it’s building a hydrogen-powered truck to take on the Baja 1000.
What do we know about the project? Uh, not much. Supposedly, SCG is planning on developing a powerplant that replaces gasoline engines in standard pickup trucks, and this Baja 1000 racer is related to that project. Customers will actually be able to order one of these vehicles over-the-counter, supposedly, at a cost of roughly a half-mill US. And, that’s about all we know right now. It’s interesting, though, and shows that even while alternative energy isn’t working out so well for motorcycles, it’s going to likely be the future of desert racing. Let’s just hope the tech trickles down to the two-wheeled world, before some bureaucrat bans bikes from competition over their perceived eco-unfriendliness?