20 Aug 2019

Paddon unveils plans for world's first EV rally car

1:44 pm on 20 August 2019

New Zealand rally driver Hayden Paddon has unveiled a plan to design and build the world's first electric rally car.

Hayden Paddon hopes to have a prototype EV rally car up and running by April.

Hayden Paddon hopes to have a prototype EV rally car up and running by April. Photo: Supplied

Paddon hopes to have the prototype up and running in eight months with Hyundai Kona EV eventually capable of competing in full length rallys.

Paddon said he's been working on the idea since early last year.

"Alternative energy powerplants are very quickly evolving in the consumer-focused automotive sector, but the same developments are not as widespread in motorsport and certainly not in rallying.

"A friend and I discussed the concept of electric-powered rally cars. Not unlike most motorsport enthusiasts and their first impressions of the concept, I thought 'not EV!' But the more I thought about it, the more potential I could see to align top tier rallying with the technology aims of major vehicle manufacturers."

The project is being undertaken at Paddon Rallysport Group's headquarters at the Highlands Innovation and Technology Park in Cromwell.

"This first EV rally car.... will be a showstopper in terms of performance and will do things differently to electric-powered competition vehicles seen to date."

The Hyundai EV rally car project requires a number of engineering challenges to be resolved.

"From some of the EV technology that already exists, performance is already there - some cars have up to 1000bhp (745kW). It's how you harness that performance for rallying, for example with torque vectoring for gravel/low grip situations and the range needed to complete a full day's rallying."

World Rally Championship of Australia,  Haydon Paddon and co-driven by Sebastian Marshall

Paddon wants full noise from the rally version of the Hyundai Kona EV. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Paddon said ensuring that the EV rally car produces sound is also vital.

"I'm committed to making sure our car creates the kind of noise a rally fan enjoys. From an entirely practical point of view, a rally car needs to create a loud and distinctive sound for the safety of officials, marshals, media and spectators out viewing the rally action."

"Rallying opens up more challenges compared to circuit racing in terms of range, charging systems and sound, and when we find solutions for these elements, many will be applicable to the general road user/EV car owner."

With April 2020 the target to complete the first prototype Hyundai EV rally car, PRG will continue testing and developing the car, and run it smaller domestic events through the rest of 2020.

They then hope to to run in full length rallies in 2021.