E-racing – powered by electricity over rough and smooth
A battery manufacturer in Austria is hoping to take their place on the race track with the big names in rallying. umlaut is providing support to get them through the pit lane.
The only experience of car racing that most people have is with a gamepad in their hands – for example, in the legendary pixel worlds of "Colin McRae Rally". When the sports car belonging to Scottish racing driver McRae flies off the track in the video game, a virtual robotic arm picks it up and puts it back on the starting line.
But because this is unfortunately not the way things work in real life, vehicles used in car racing are constantly being optimised. The tiniest adjustment to a vehicle chassis or engine can prevent an accident – and deliver the decisive extra seconds.
With combustion engines, technology can build on decades of experience, set out in the regulations of the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA). Yet there are now plans in Austria to launch the first fully-electric rallycross car – in this case, there are no benchmark values or load cases available.
Curtain up for battery manufacturer Kreisel Electric, who have been commissioned by the FIA to manufacture a standard kit for the Electric World Rallycross Championship. As a first step, they have created the prototype "RE-X1".
Requirements management on top
umlaut is part of the racing team and at Kreisel they are implementing a special type of software to handle the complex requirements management. This software documents the status of load cases, integrates parts of project management and automatically generates specification sheets for suppliers and for the FIA. The drive system for the RE-X1 has a large number of complex components, such as the battery, the engine, the housing, the inverter and a charging interface. In some cases these still needed to be developed and delivered.
The world's most famous E-driver: Arnold Schwarzenegger
A challenge that the Kreisel Electric team were happy to rise to. The main product of this Austrian company is a battery technology for use in electric and hybrid vehicles which is known for its low weight and high capacity. International OEMs are keen to draw on the company's expertise – as was Arnold Schwarzenegger.
This environmental activist, former US governor and action hero asked Kreisel to convert a Mercedes G-class to electric drive and he regularly picks up the car to go out for a drive when he is visiting his home country. What sounds like a PR stunt is precisely that. The aim here is to increase the visibility of this alternative drive system in the world of motorsport.
Goal: WRX and WRC Hybrid 2022
Rallysport unfortunately wasn't able to escape the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. The goal of entering the first electric racing cars in the 2021 FIA World Rallycross Championship has been put back by a year. By way of preparation, Kreisel are planning to enter the RE-X1 in the Austrian National Rally Championship (ÖRM) – also to gain experience for a new assignment. Because the FIA has commissioned the company and a German partner to make a hybrid kit for the 2022 FIA World Rally Championship. At this event, CEO Philipp Kreisel wants to drive the car to the starting line himself – without the help of a robotic arm. To paraphrase Colin McRae: "We're here for a good time, not a long time."