The Amaury Sport Organisation, which runs the Dakar Rally, has unveiled further details of its alternative energy timeline ahead of a full transition in 2030.
Dakar director David Castera launched the event’s DakarFuture vision during a press conference at the Neom bivouac, the location for the ninth stage of the 2021 edition.
The green vision falls in line with Saudi Arabia’s plans to become oil revenue independent by 2030.
Speaking during the press conference, Castera said: “the goal for the Dakar is to become the first fully sustainable adventure rally in the world. [We have] a clear strategy in line with our pioneering DNA, which is electric motors.
“How we define the supply of that electricity is down to the competitors, the rules are open.”
From 2022, a new category for vehicles using alternative energy will be established, putting the focus on hybrid, electric or hydrogen-powered cars and trucks, with other emission-lowering technologies also considered.
“The Dakar was always, and is, a playground for new technology, and for crazy cars,” Quandt said.
“For us, the alternative energy class opens up a completely new area of motorsport. Regardless of whatever we develop in the future, whether it is electric, hybrid, hydrogen or a micro-turbine, the new class will be balanced nicely so that one day they all have a chance to win the Dakar.”
Hydrogen vehicles will also feature heavily in 2022 and 2023, with the Green Corp Konnection – co-run by World Rallycross Championship regular Guerlain Chicherit – and Cyril Desprès and Mike Horn’s Gen-Z outfits entering cars.
Earlier this week, GCK gave its e-Blast 1 a demonstration run on the Dakar stages with test and development driver Kevin Abbring and announced it has started development on the hydrogen-powered e-Blast H2 program for 2022.
The first hydrogen-powered truck will debut next year as well, with Gaussin Group’s H2 Road Truck.
“What we wanted to do at Gaussin was to take awareness of climate change and act,” said Christophe Gassin, CEO of Gaussin Group.
“We want to do the Dakar to show the performance of our trucks, which are hydrogen-powered, but also to show how easy it is to equip trucks with hydrogen generators, along with an electric battery.”
In 2023, it is expected that three top teams will contest the Dakar using electric or hybrid technology, while at least one test prototype will run using hydrogen.
The ASO plans to have the electric/hybrid category “full” by 2025 before all elite cars and trucks are required to switch to 100% alternative energy by 2026.
A “technology transfer” from the elite competitors to amateurs will then take place, with all cars and trucks running fully alternative drivetrains and producing zero emissions by 2030, completing the transition to green technology.
The ASO confirmed that the sporting regulations will be adjusted to ensure a balance of performance between the various powertrain options.
In addition to its future energy plans, the ASO also revealed its goals to create sustainable bivouac, of which 100% of the energy will be produced by renewable sources.
GCK provided the energy sources for the Neom bivouac, which has been used as a test run for the future.
“For two days, the press room, the briefing room screen and the Competitor and Official areas will be powered by cutting-edge solar panel technology that combines energy production, storage and redistribution in one neat package,” the ASO said.
“In the near future, it is the entire bivouac that will be concerned. Once again, the flame of innovation will burn bright at the Dakar to keep the adventure going.”