Fuel cells in off-road rallying

Gaussin H2 Racing Truck, © Gaussin
Gaussin H2 Racing Truck, © Gaussin

Breathtaking racing championships often serve as a test bed for new technologies. But it’s not just Formula 1 or Formula E which are putting the latest engineering advances through their paces; off-road races are also getting a look-in.

And now two Formula 1 racing drivers – Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg – are competing in the electric off-road racing series Extreme E, albeit “merely” as team owners. What is special about these racing events is that the all-electric SUVs are powered via AFC Energy charging systems that incorporate a fuel cell and a battery storage unit. Alejandro Agag, Founder and CEO of Extreme E, said: “Hydrogen fuel cell charging in the world of motorsport is truly ground breaking, and Extreme E is the first event of its kind to utilise this technology. The product from AFC Energy offers an end-to-end emission free solution for running our electric vehicles, and I hope it will inspire other organisations to investigate sustainable low emission alternatives when running their events.”

Also generating headlines is Gaussin’s H2 Racing Truck which was unveiled in November 2021. The French manufacturer of electric transport platforms is planning to enter the truck in endurance races such as the Dakar Rally. The vehicle is expected to go into series production in 2022. The H2 Racing model is based on a lightweight chassis which holds the electric drive unit (a pair of 300-kilowatt e-motors), the 380-kilowatt fuel cell, 80 kilograms of hydrogen and an 82-kilowatt-hour battery pack. The truck features all-wheel drive and claims to reach a top speed of 87 miles or 140 kilometers per hour. Its standout look was created by iconic vehicle designer Pininfarina.

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