Video: Russia’s CNG Hybrid Prepping For Dakar Rally Run?

Perhaps the toughest race in the world is the Dakar Rally, a contest of speed across some of the most unforgiving territory in the world. Despite this (or because of it?) automakers and racing teams utilizing hybrid-electric and other alt-fuel technologies are vying to be a part of the 2012 contest. Yo-Auto, Russia’s newest car maker, may also be joining the fray.

Yo, Dakar!

Unveiled back in December, Yo Auto plans to produce a small car that can run both gasoline and CNG, as well as being backed by a pair of electric motors. This video from a recent demonstration in Moscow may (or may not) indicate that Yo Auto plans to take their CNG-hybrid to the Dakar Rally in early 2012.

Why do I say that? Well for one…look at it. That looks like a Dakar Rally racer if you ask me. Furthermore, why add a ramp to a simple driving demonstration? Seems a little odd. Yo Auto has already seen over 100,000 people plunk down a deposit on this unique automobile, which would also give the up-and-coming automaker a little money to play around with marketing ideas like entering the Dakar Rally.

The Yo Mobile, as it is called, can run either in 100% EV mode or use its ICE engine to run on gasoline or natural gas. Neither mode seems to be particularly fast in this video, although with limited driving room and a wet course, I’m sure the driver was encouraged to keep it slow.

If Yo Auto decides to take its hybrid to the 2012 Dakar Rally, it will be in good company. Tim Coronel will be driving an all-electric McRae buggy in the 2012 Dakar Rally, and will be joined by Latvian race team OScar, who will enter a hybrid-electric truck as well. At this rate, it won’t be long before most of the vehicles running the Dakar boast some kind of alternative fuel or electrified setup, as the advantages of such systems become evident. And it isn’t just the Dakar Rally going green, as Baja 1000 organizers recently announced the Redstone-Sun Cup, an all-electric race across the Baja desert utilizing solar power.

Now they just have to perform as well, if not better than, their gas-powered opponents.

Source: TechVehi

Christopher DeMorro

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.