First hybrid vehicle competes in Dakar Rally05 February 2020

At last month’s Dakar Rally, the Riwald team was the first ever to race a hybrid-electric truck, featuring a hybrid driveline developed by ZF and MKR Technology.

Called the CeTrax Lite RS, the driveline is a prototype of ZF’s central electric axle drive, with hardware and software reconfigured to meet the challenging rally conditions.

Fitted to the Renault Trucks C460, the driveline gave the all-wheel-drive truck an additional 80kW of cruising power, a peak performance of 150kW and 1,400Nm of torque.

The 13,000rpm asynchronous electric motor had to be adjusted to the 2,700rpm that the 1,000bhp diesel engine produces at the transmission output. In addition to the electric motor, ZF supplied integrated power electronics and the hybrid control unit, including the software that has been programmed specifically for the Dakar Rally.

A ZF automatic transmission was also installed in the driveline.

“The extreme conditions of the Dakar Rally – lots of sand and rough terrain – offer us a unique and amazing opportunity to subject our hybrid driveline to the ultimate acid test,” said Ralf Boss, ZF’s director of special vehicle systems.

The Dakar Rally took place in Saudi Arabia from 5 to 17 January. The team’s aim is to achieve a top-three ranking in the race within three years.

Laura Cork

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