Following long preparations, Tim Coronel today presented the first electric Dakar Buggy in spectacular fashion to press and business associates, who attended the presentation. In the premises of partner All Green Vehicles (AGV) in Oosterhout, Coronel unveiled the prototype version of the electric McRae 4×2 Buggy, thereby providing a world first.
The Netherlands’ first astronaut, Wubbo Ockels, drove the first few metres in the electric Dakar Buggy and Glennis Grace opened the afternoon with a spectacular performance. The buggy presented is the version Tim used to win the solo category for the second time together with Prodakar in 2011, and is fitted with a 90KW electric engine. Over the coming months the prototype will be used in extensive testing in order ultimately to come up with the definitive version for Le Dakar 2012.
After Coronel intimated a few months ago that he wanted to conquer the toughest rally in the world using an electric buggy, a lot of people thought he was out of his mind, but a small group of experts were willing to take up the challenge. The adventure started at Novolectriq and All Green Vehicles and, through Wubbo Ockels, was given a home at Delft University of Technology where a team of 10 students spent 10 weeks (4000 hours) labouring away at the numbers. Delft University of Technology was primarily occupied with calculating the energy requirements, air resistance and minimum weight of the Buggy so as to produce optimum results. After the students had finished calculating, it was down to AGV and Prodakar to fit the specially prepared electric engine into the existing McRae 4×2 Buggy and prepare it for the first tests. Following months of hard work by the various parties, today the initial results are manifest and phase two of the Dakar Electric project can be set in motion.
Phase two will chiefly consist in testing the Buggy under a variety of conditions and kinds of weather. In particular, the extreme heat in the Atacama desert during Le Dakar will play a significant role in the project’s success (or failure). To this end the different working groups have drawn up a comprehensive testing programme which will be carried out in countries such as the Netherlands, France, Spain and Morocco. The definitive version of the electric Dakar Buggy will be designed on the basis of this test data. Keep a close eye on Tim Coronel’s website over the coming months so as not to miss out on the latest news.