Green Power Race will enter an electric bike into the 2024 Dakar Rally‘s Mission 1000 category for vehicles using hybrid, electric, or other alternative power sources. Fran Pallas will pilot the bike.
Pallas is an enduro and motocross veteran who won the Galician Motocross Championship twice as a teenager before becoming a regular in the Spanish series. He also competed at the Enduropale du Touquet in France, the world’s largest sand race, in 2000, which inspired him to consider racing the Dakar. Later that year, he made his Dakar début and finished eighty-eighth overall for bikes despite a broken toe.
Additional starts came in 2003 and from 2005 to 2009, finishing twice in 2006 and 2009. His most recent effort came in 2018, a race he also completed.
Eventually, he developed an interest in electric motorcycles but high costs prevented him from pursuing it further until the Mission 1000 was introduced for 2024. He eventually tested with Green Power Race before the programme was formally unveiled last Saturday at the Freestyle de A Coruña.
“The organisation (Amaury Sport) is very interested in us going,” Pallas told DxT Campeón. “In fact, I don’t know if we are a bit to blame for making this category, but we have been talking for a long time with David Castera, who is the head of the organisation, and they were very interested in bringing together as many drivers as possible.”
Mission 1000 is a new class for hydrogen, electric, and hybrid vehicles. While it follows the same route as the main Dakar Rally each day, participants will race on a separate 100-kilometre route. Besides Green Power Race, Japanese auto manufacturers will enter the programme with the HySE-X1 hydrogen car while Rainbow Truck Team has a hydrogen-powered Volkswagen Amarok.
While a unique project, Pallas knows not to set expectations too high. Speaking with DxT Campeón, he quickly shot down the possibility of being the first Dakar winner in an electric vehicle before adding Green Power Race would need a top rider like Marc Coma or Joan Barreda in order to be competitive against combustion bikes.
“The handicap of electric motorcycles is the weight, because they now weigh more than a combustion motorcycle,” he explained. “Right now, a Rally weighs around 170 kilos, and I will leave with 220. That is a lot of difference in weight, but if a double refuelling is done, you can go with less battery, which is what it really weighs, and try to equalise the weights of a combustion engine to be competitive. In terms of power, the electric one is more than enough.”
The 2024 Dakar Rally begins on 5 January.