The Dakar Rally traverses over 5,500 miles of grueling terrain in South America. It's punishing on drivers and vehicles, requiring a machine that's rugged, reliable and capable. Despite that, an Anglo-Dutch team, headed by Alistair McRae, will field an ultra-lightweight McRae Buggy equipped with a 54-kWh lithium-ion battery pack and a robust 200-kW electric motor that features three power settings (eco, standard and full attack).
Dutch driver Tim Coronel will attempt to navigate the electric McRae Buggy across the torturous terrain and on to the finish line at the 2012 Dakar Rally, which kicks off on January 1. The electric buggy features an aerodynamically optimized body and trick shock absorbers that convert kinetic energy from ruts and bumps into usable electric power. Support vehicles, equipped with DC quick chargers, will likely "refuel" the buggy during the race.
If the Anglo-Dutch team actually fields the electrified buggy in the 2012 Dakar Rally, the vehicle will become the first battery-powered entrant since the rally's inaugural race in 1978. For a preview of what the vehicle can do, hit the jump for a video of
[Source: McRae Buggy]