Two years ago, Albert Bosch was the first driver ever to participate in the Dakar Rally with a full electric vehicle. In his personal blog he looks back at this adventure.
Bosch participated in eight editions before he started his new challenge. When he met Agustín Payá, a passionate racer with sustainable vehicles and a man with technical knowledge, the idea formed to race the Dakar Rally with an electric vehicle. “Beyond our sporting goals, there was a purpose, which was to take advantage of the adventure and the platform of such an important event, to spread the word about sustainable mobility and clean energy as a key possibility and need for our future,” Bosch wrote.
The company ACCIONA was attracted as a sponsor and in April 2014 the agreement was signed. They would participate in the Dakar Rally of 2015, but the vehicle was yet to be build. “It was a stressful period. In less than seven months we had to build a totally experimental car, assemble an exceptional logistics, negotiate a special regulation with the organisation, develop all communication concepts and meet deadlines,” he continued. “And all this we created with a team from zero, with members from multiple disciplines.”
They made it. “The great dream came true. Each kilometer raced was a new world record. We completed the first stage without problems. The second stage was completed with many difficulties, but it should be remembered that 52 cars were blocked in a lethal trap that caused the retirement of a third of the vehicles. That never had happened in the Dakar Rally,” Bosch said.
Although having started the third stage, the electric vehicle came to a halt after 25 km. The control unit was broken and could not be fixed in time.
Changing the world
In a world dominated by cars that run on conventional fuel, the project received a criticism. But Bosch and his partners made clear that nothing is impossible. “We knew that despite the sporting failure, we had achieved a great victory. This was a project of innovation, sharing values and showing commitment. The world does not evolve from conformists and followers, but from those who want to question the existing reality and have the courage to try new things that, little by little, or suddenly, can help to improve the world.”
The Acciona Dakar Team now enters its third Dakar Rally. The second edition was completed for 80% and the Spanish team certainly aims to reach the finish in 2017.