The 2022 Dakar Rally is much closer than its name would imply, and those running in next year’s rally have been preparing for a while now. It’s hard to say whether 2021 has passed too quickly or too slowly, but I guess either would be good for French firm Gaussin, which claims it will run the Dakar Rally’s first ever race truck powered completely by hydrogen.
The Dakar Rally is trying to become a more eco-friendly event, with plans to go “100% green” by the end of the decade. This means that starting in 2030, it’s possible that FCEVs and BEVs could commonly run as “Dakar Future” kicks off.
Gaussin’s FCEV has a boring and uncreative name, the H2 Racing Truck, but the tech behind it is far from boring. It’s built on a lightweight chassis from Magna, which Gaussin claims to have been working on throughout 2021. The H2 Racing Truck is the first of five EVs built on the skateboard platform:
Gaussin said it was developing a modular EV platform targeted mostly at the commercial sector in April, for release in 2022. I take most EV announcements with a grain of salt these days because companies have boasted about similar platforms without much in the way of serial production. Sadly, that’s especially true in the commercial sector where these designs make a lot of sense.
But Gaussin claims that the H2 Racing Truck’s Dakar run will give the company insight into the development of the other EV trucks it plans to release next year.
The H2's design comes from Pininfarina, and the truck will have two electric 300kW motors. It has a max speed of 140 kilometers per hour (87 mph) to comply with Dakar’s regulations. The H2 didn’t change much from when it was introduced, and I think it actually looks better in real life than in renders.
The H2's batteries have a total capacity of 82kWh, and it’s hauling 80kg (176 pounds) of hydrogen. Gaussin claims the H2 Racking Truck will have a range of about 155 miles, and will take 20 minutes to recharge. For reference, the 2022 Dakar is nearly 5,000 miles long.
I wouldn’t have believed many of Gaussin’s claims if not for footage of the H2 Racing Truck running and driving in the presence of Paris Saint-Germain players Gianluigi Donnarumma, Achraf Hakimi, Ander Herrera, Georginio Wijnaldum and Lionel Messi.
The players even give the H2 Racing Truck a top-up! Unless, of course, those athletes are not real and that’s really a CGI Lionel Messi. I guess we’ll know if Gaussin’s skateboard EV platform is real when Dakar kicks off in January.