Testing and development work of the Opel Corsa-e Rally is progressing well despite Opel facing challenges in being the first manufacturer to build an electric rally car.
Opel Motorsport director Joerg Schrott says the test program is currently focused on covering as much mileage as possible in order to build up a log of data for this unprecedented venture.
While independent constructors such as STARD, which now builds the base kits for Projekt E rallycross cars, have designed electric rally cars before, Opel is the first mainstream manufacturer to do so.
Its 100 kW (136 hp) Corsa-e Rally uses the same battery as the road car and will compete in a single-make championship in Germany, with the first event scheduled for August 2020.
“We have two objectives,” said Schrott. “Both cars are covering as many kilometers 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 with real data.
“Other focuses are on loads and temperature management of the battery under rally conditions, as well as adapting the software. I am pleased to report that our program is going smoothly.”
Opel plans for the ADAC Opel e-Rally Cup, which will consist of around 15 identical Corsa-e Rallys, to replace its current ADAC Opel Rally Cup. The existing series uses petrol-powered Opel Adams.
“With a brand cup car, it is important that the performance remains constant and accessible under all conditions,” said Schrott.
“The equipment should guarantee equal opportunity for all participants. We also decided that the Corsa-e Rally should match and 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 260 Nm of torque is much higher than the Adam Cup’s.
“The center 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 setup, so in January we will start simulating some real rally stages.
“The aim is to supply our customer teams with a fully reliable, easy to handle and powerful rally car that will enable the ADAC Opel e-Rally Cup to seamlessly continue the success of its predecessor, the ADAC Opel Rally Cup.”