What happened? You were doing so well!
After covering the success of Latvia’s electric OSCar eO, it’s only natural to wonder what happened with the other electric vehicle that was also going for a historic first: Tim Coronel’s electric McRae Buggy. We covered the Buggy back in July during its prep stages in the Spanish Baja. The effort was a labor of love, with input from students from Delft University of Technology, their professor (and past astronaut) Wubbo Ockels, and quite a few partners, including Novolectriq, ProDakar, and All Green Vehicles.
Despite the R&D, the enthusiasm, and the promising results, the project had to be post-poned due to lack of funding. In a press release from October (For shame… but it’s hard wading through Google-translated Dutch!), Mr. Coronel said: “on the technical side, we have everything ready, but the funding is not adequate for the project in 2012… [O]ur regular and new partners… support the project with great enthusiasm and everyone is very excited, but you must remain realistic and unfortunately we have not enough financial resources.” Another victim of the sluggish economy, then.
From his profile on the Dakar Rally’s official site:
“My original goal was to become the first driver to finish the Dakar in a fully electrically powered car. I started the project on the 14th of February with 12 people working full time, but the South Koreans with whom I was working had to pull out. I found a solution with the Chinese but sadly time is our enemy and we’ll have to wait until next year. It’s life and life goes on. We now have a lighter and more powerful buggy and the goal is to aim at the Top 20. For me life without the Dakar isn’t life. The legend of the Dakar is: never give up. My goal is to struggle; it’s good when it isn’t easy. Maybe I’m crazy but I like to be different. The Dakar is like having sex. It’s a way of life.”
Like sex, he says? We’ll definitely be seeing him at the Dakar next year, and if he has his way, we’ll also see an all-electric buggy: “However, I’m absolutely convinced that we can continue to work on this project for 2013 and to start with an electric Dakar Buggy in the toughest and most beautiful rally in the world,” says Coronel. And another reason to look forward to economic upswings. I’d love to see a battle of the off-road electric vehicles in 2013, Team Latvia vs. Team Netherlands.