Latvian team aims to be first to contest Dakar rally with EV [w/video]

Filed under: Motorsports, SUV, Racing

2012 OSCar eO

2012 OSCar eO – Click above for high-res image gallery

The Dakar Rally covers more than 5,500 miles of rough terrain through some of the harshest conditions in South America. It’s hell on both machines and drivers, demanding reliability from high-strung engines and full focus from people running on very little sleep.

The strains are enough to kill even the stoutest internal combustion engines and make veteran drivers crack. Despite all that, Latvian race car builder OSCar has decided to tackle the race in an EV. Powered by a permanent magnet motor making between 180 and 315 kW with between 370 and 590 lb. ft. of torque, the OSCar eO is an electrified version of the company’s Chevrolet LS-powered e3.

The eO’s top speed is a slightly underwhelming 86 miles per hour, but OSCar says the top speed won’t be an issue since it won’t be competing against conventionally-fueled entries.

OSCar says the eO will have a small, Nissan-sourced gasoline engine serving as a generator to help it cover long distances, but propulsion will be 100 percent electric. Helping the generator charge the batteries will be a regenerative braking system. Without the generator’s help, OSCar expects the e0 to be good for about 190 miles under light strain, and roughly half that under pressure.

To make sure the EV makes it from one end of the rally to the other, OSCar is sending along a support truck and an gas-powered e3 to make sure the car makes it to the finish in one piece. Watch for the OSCar eO when the 2012 Dakar Rally kicks off on January 1. Check out the video and press release after the break.

Gallery: 2012 OSCar eO

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[Source: OSCar]

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