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Latvian race car builder OSCar has decided to enter the Dakar Rally in a new rally vehicle that will be solely powered by an electric motor. According to Andris Dambis, director of OSC, "electric vehicles can already be seen across various motorsport disciplines but nobody has dared to tackle rally raids in the Dakar. We will be the first." The Dakar Rally encompasses more than 5,500 miles of some of the roughest and most dangerous terrain in South America.
The car will be powered by a permanent magnet motor that produces somewhere between 180 and 315 kW with between 370 and 590 lb-ft of torque. The OSCar eO will be an electric version of the Chevrolet LS-powered e3. According to the company, the eO's top speed is just 86 mph, but they claim this isn't an issue since the car will not be competing against other vehicles that have conventional fuel-powered engines. In addition to its electric motor, the eO will have a Nissan gasoline engine that acts as a generator for long distances, but overall propulsion will remain 100 percent electric.
There will also be a regenerative braking system which will help the racer go for about 190 miles in light conditions. As backup, OSCar will be sending a support truck and a gas powered e3 to insure the eO completes the rally intact. We'll be seeing the eO in action at the Dakar Rally that begins on January 1st, 2012.