Vauxhall says its sister brand Opel is currently conducting durability tests for its Corsa e-Rally Cup model — the first-ever battery-electric rally car — at the Dudenhofen Test Centre in Germany.
Opel Motorsport director Jörg Schrott said: “Both cars are covering as many miles as possible, in order to gather the maximum amount of data at an early stage.
"There is no experience of an electric rally car that we could turn to, so initially we had to rely on calculations and simulations.
"These are being gradually replaced by real data. Other focuses are on loads and temperature management of the battery, as well as adapting the software.
"I am pleased to report that our programme is going smoothly.”
In the second phase of development, the engineers at Opel Motorsport will turn to the speed of the 100kW (136hp) electric rally car.
“With a ‘brand cup car’, it is important that the performance remains constant and accessible under all conditions. 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 set-up, so we will shortly 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, and up to 15 will be delivered to customers in the summer – in time for the first test event in July.
More information is available at these Web sites: (www.opel-motorsport.com
) and (www.adac.de/e-rally