Ahead of the Dakar Rally, Expleo and Faster engineers will collaborate on the design of a sports 4×4 powered exclusively by hydrogen. The vehicle will be developed in accordance with all the targets of the ambitious energy transition plan, “DakarFuture”, launched by the rally-raid earlier in the year. The project brings together mechanical and electronics engineering experts to design the vehicle while relying on field teams to validate technical choices.
The idea of a hydrogen-powered vehicle for the Dakar rally-raid was born several years ago at automotive engineering company Faster, under the creative leadership of famous driver and former race director Hubert Auriol. To turn the project into reality, a partner with expertise in hydrogen mobility was required. Engineering consultancy Expleo was chosen to partner on the project, thanks to several years of experience in the design and development of hydrogen solutions for all types of vehicles.
Since January 2021, a dedicated Expleo team has been working on designing the vehicle, in close cooperation with its Faster counterpart, which provides motor racing expertise.
Racing driver and former Dakar winner Jean-Pierre Fontenay is providing advice and insights based on his extensive experience of the world-renowned event and will be the driver when it takes to the grid. He will also be responsible for vehicle tune-up and management of the operating team.
The combined team of experts is taking up the challenge to turn a standard combustion-powered rally-raid 4×4 originally designed by Faster into a 4×4 capable of running entirely on hydrogen.
Replacing the internal combustion engine with an electric one as well as integrating the hydrogen tank and other necessary elements requires a complete redesign of the vehicle to ensure the compatibility of the original components with the fuel cell.
Faster and Expleo will be able to demonstrate a prototype as soon as 2022, before finalising the technical and technological details for the final race-ready vehicle.