Development of Fuel Cells

Hydrogen Vehicle to Compete in Dakar Rally

20. Januar 2022, 16:14 Uhr | Kathrin Veigel
FEV Rallye Dakar Brennstoffzelle
FEV supports GCK in the Dakar Rally with extensive know-how in the design and development of high-performance fuel cell systems.
© FEV Group

FEV supports GCK Motorsport in the design and development of its own high-performance fuel cell system for a rally raid vehicle. A first demonstrator version was presented at this year's Dakar Rally in January.

Dakar Rally organisers are aiming for an all-green entry list by 2030 to provide a platform for companies to test the performance of their electrified mobility solutions. Back in November 2020, GCK Motorsport announced plans to go completely green in its rally raid entries, unveiling a prototype of its hydrogen rally vehicle e-Blast H2 on 8 January during the 2022 Dakar Rally. It is scheduled to compete in 2024 and features the first fuel cell integrated into a rally raid vehicle. 

FEV is supporting the project with its design and development expertise. As part of the partnership with GCK, a powerful 200 kW fuel cell system has been integrated into the competition vehicle, which is expected to withstand use in the toughest conditions: Ambient temperatures of up to 50 °C, dust as well as constant vibrations of more than 10 g due to the bumpy tracks.

The fuel cell runs on 30 kg of hydrogen stored in four R134-certified tanks at a pressure of 700 bar. The fuel cell is charged by a lithium-ion battery with a capacity of 50 kWh. The battery in turn powers GCK's new 2-speed electric motor, which generates 320 kW (435 hp) of power. With this system, the e-Blast H2 should be able to complete a 250 km special stage entirely on green energy.

After the 2022 Dakar presentation, GCK Motorsport and FEV now intend to continue optimising the fuel cell and the vehicle through dyno and dynamic tests in FEV's new test environment for hydrogen applications in Rouen. In the second half of the year, an extensive test programme under real rally conditions will take place to further develop the powertrain.

GCK Motorsport will then use e-Blast H2 in selected stages of the Dakar 2023 in January 2023, before taking on the ultimate challenge and participating in the entire event the following year.

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