Automotive | Uncategorized | Student life

1200 km rally with an electric Buggy: Saar-e by ESTACA achieves their goal

28 March 2023

From 12 to 18 March 2023, 12 students from the Saar-e by ESTACA project took part in the Carta rally with an electric Buggy. A rally through southern Morocco from west to east: 5 days of track and 2 days of dunes, the electric Buggy was put to the test in the a tough race in very harsh conditions. Never before has an electric vehicle taken part in such a competition! A look back at their adventure.

An electric SSV on the Carta Rally

After 3 years of hard work on the project to electrify a Buggy, an off-road vehicle for rally-raids, the day of departure finally arrived. The Saar-e by ESTACA team of the ITD association, made up of 12 students, took off on the Carta rally adventure with an electric SSV (Side-by-Side Vehicle), a world first! The Buggy weighs 1200 kg (including crew) and is composed of 2 electric motorbike engines (140 horsepower, 300 Nm torque), 2 front or rear-drive wheels, and a 4×4 configuration, allowing the pilot to manage range and energy as well as possible. The aim of the race was to show that it is possible for an electric vehicle to compete in these off-road races!

A race in extreme conditions

50 vehicles took part in this rally in the GPS Cup category: amateurs and professionals with buggies, motorbikes, 4X4s… A race over more than 1200 km in 6 stages with extreme conditions: 5 days of tracks (sand, stones, rocky terrain…) and 2 days of dunes. After passing the technical inspection to ensure that the vehicle met the safety standards, the team entered the rally. Driver, co-driver, vehicle preparation, navigation, mechanics, logistics, moving camp…: everyone had an essential role in the smooth running of the race!

One of the difficulties encountered was to manage the recharging times of the batteries. With 1h45mins of charging, the buggy has a range of 120 km!

« We were surprised by the conditions in which the buggy had to be driven, they were 15 times worse than what we tested, but the vehicle proved its reliability!  »
Louis and Yvan
Project manager

Each stage had a ranking where the objective was to cover the fewest possible kilometres: Saar-e by ESTACA won the 3rd stage of the race! A great win for the team!

The team’s objective was to get the buggy to the dune stage to test as many constraints as possible. To confront this stage, the students had to assemble a special new gearbox for this very different test from the first days of the rally. After 20 km of dunes, the vehicle got stuck and the crew had to be evacuated by helicopter until a sandstorm passed and they could retrieve the Buggy the next day. In total, the electric buggy covered 1200km in 6 stages ranging from 150 to 240km. Objective more than achieved for the team!

An incredible human and technical adventure

For the team, this rally was a human adventure in addition to the technical one In addition to the technical challenge, the team had a humanitarian objective: it joined forces with the association ESTACAIDE to bring 30 kg of educational and first aid equipment and medicines to the associations on site.

For many, it was their first experience of a rally-raid: living in a bivouac, meeting the other competitors, helping each other in camp in the evening, preparing for the next day’s stages, responding to unforeseen events, tiredness that accumulated as the stages went by; all unforgettable moments that made this rally a complete experience: human, mental, technical, etc.

« What have we learned from this adventure? Work pays off! The nights spent on the project were rewarded with 6 unforgettable days of racing. It’s a great victory and huge pride for the team to have been able to compete in every stage of the rally! »
Project manager

The team would like to do it again next year. Some of them will have finished their ESTACA course, but the next generation of the association will be able to participate in other races!

« Our goal as future engineers is to understand the performance of the vehicle in another environment and for this reason we have decided to enter the Ice Cup, a race on ice next winter. »
Project manager

To follow the rally adventure day by day, check out the story on htps://

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