Video: Hybrid-Electric Truck to Enter the 2012 Dakar Rally

There’s no race in the world as punishing as the 5,500 miles of the Dakar Rally. It’s not a place to be testing new technology, but a Latvian team aims to enter a hybrid-electric truck in the world famous rally.

For the uninitiated, the Dakar Rally is a long-running race that recently moved from the sand dunes and cities of North Africa to the mountains and deserts of South America. Latvian race car building company OSCar regularly enters its Chevy V8-powered e3 pickup into the rally, but for the next race, they plan on entering an electrified version called the e0. With between 180 and 315 kW and up to590 ft-lbs of torque on tap, this sport truck is sure to have the power necessary to grapple with the extreme terrain of the Dakar Rally, though only at a top speed of 86 mph.

But can the delicate electronics survive the brutal terrain? That’s the real question. Every year more than half the starting contestants don’t finish the race, and the high heat, desert sands, and lack of roads take down many tried-and-true competitors. Backing the battery system, which is good for between 90 and 180 miles, is a Nissan gasoline engine to charge the battery (the actual motors driving the wheels are 100% electric.)

Since this is the first time anybody has tried to enter a hybrid truck in the Dakar Rally, a support truck and gas-powered e3 will also be on hand. It may not be the epic start we were hoping for, but many racing series are looking more and more into “greening” their particular brand of motorsport. OSCar has the full support of the Dakar organizers, and will be entering in a special class that has yet to attract any competitors

Source: Autoblog via OSCar

Chris DeMorro is a writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs. You can read about his slow descent into madness at Sublime Burnout or follow his non-nonsensical ramblings on Twitter @harshcougar.

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