It’s first light on the road connecting Argentina to Bolivia. The journey so far has been one of blind bends and narrow paths, which the cars have to negotiate if they want to reach stage finish line. The objective, closer every minute, still blurs in the face of the unknown.
At night, the obstacles take on a life of their own and add a level of complexity to the race. They interfere silently with the highest ambitions and usual imperturbability of drivers experienced in such terrain, an unprecedented test of their reactions and all against the clock.
When Ariel Jatón and Gastón Scazzuso, driver and co-driver of the ACCIONA 100% EcoPowered, came up against an enormous rock resting at the side of the narrow border road, disguised by the blackness of the night, they called on all their ingenuity and quickening hearts to act just in time.
The front section of the first and only vehicle powered by renewable energies in the Dakar Rally was destroyed. The seriousness of the impact risked the car’s further participation in a race that, despite initial skepticism, had shone the spotlight on this Argentine duo and ACCIONA’s sustainable venture.
Nature had come to defy a joint creation between humans and nature, a paradox throwing out a fundamental truth: the planet is governed by unbreakable rules. Jatón and Scazzuso needed to adapt to them if they wanted to advance in what often seemed like a supernatural race. As quick as they could, orchestrated by the silent murmurings of night at its deepest, the drivers set about repairing the vital damaged parts. Once certain the ACCIONA 100% EcoPowered could retake the road and head towards the finish line, the pilots stopped a moment to take some photos of the rock, as if they wanted to thank it for nevertheless allowing them to pass, immortalizing the geological feature with their camera.
With a little encouragement, back on the road again, they reached camp, an achievement that revealed another elemental truth: nature always gives a second opportunity to those who respect it.
First electric vehicle in the Dakar rally
ACCIONA 100% EcoPowered in 2015 became the first vehicle powered by clean energies to take part in the Dakar rally, one of the toughest motor racing challenges on the planet. Our car’s history goes back to 2012, when an ACCIONA R&D&I team began developing a project with a view to overcoming nature’s most arduous challenges.
After its first outing in 2015, the features of the car were improved to make it more competitive. The battery systems and electric propulsion evolved, as did the electric motor, and the vehicle weight was brought down to 80 kilograms – lightening the car as a whole by 40%.
Before its second attempt at the Dakar rally, the ACCIONA 100% EcoPowered made history once more by becoming the first zero-emissions vehicle to complete an international event in the FIA calendar, the Morocco rally. This milestone strengthened our belief that the car could compete in Dakar 2016, where, as the media’s fifth most featured vehicle, completed 10 of the race’s 13 stages.
Get to know more about the first electric vehicle to participate in the Dakar rally.