Opel is currently testing the world’s first-ever battery-electric rally car at Dudenhofen Test Centre in Germany.

The Corsa-e Rally uses the same battery as the production car.

With a capacity of 50kWh, it has a range of 336km according to WLTP.

In order to optimise the range for rallying, the battery offers three modes.

In “competition mode”, full power and maximum torque are available for at least 60km.

Electric cars have especially high torque, so “rain mode” gives a torque curve adapted to slippery surfaces.

Teams will use the energy-saving “eco mode” between stages and for driving to service.

With no previous experience to drawn on, Opel Motorsport Director, Jörg Schrott, said the team had been compiling data.

Other focuses are on loads and temperature management of the battery, as well as adapting the software, Schrott said.

“I am pleased to report that our program is going smoothly,” he said.

The next stage of development will focus on the speed of the 100kW electric rally car.

“With a brand cup car, it is important that the performance remains constant and accessible under all conditions,” Schrott said.

“The equipment should guarantee equal opportunity for all participants.

“We also decided that the Corsa-e Rally should match or even exceed the high standards of its petrol-engine predecessor, the Opel ADAM Cup. We are on the right road here too.

“While the power output is almost the same, the 260Nm of torque is much higher than the ADAM Cup’s.

“The centre of gravity is low, thanks to the underfloor-mounted battery, and the weight distribution is also very good, which is extremely important for an agile competition car.

Now we need to find the most balanced chassis setup, so in January we will start simulating some real rally stages.”

As soon as development of the Corsa-e Rally has been completed, a reference car will be built that will also serve as the template for customer vehicles.

Around 20 examples are expected to be built for the 2020/21 season, up to 15 will be delivered to customers in the summer – in time for the first test event in July.

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Electric rally car undergoes testing


Chris Riley has been a journalist for 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.
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