A solar-powered bivouac
January 13 th 2021 - 08:18 [GMT + 3]
Whilst the Dakar organisers presented the project aimed at transforming the rally into a very low emissions event by 2030, Guerlain Chicherit’s GCK group is pursuing a twofold involvement because, in addition to a hydrogen-powered car, the driver turned businessman also wishes to provide green electricity to cover the energy needs of the bivouac.
Guerlain Chicherit is the type of guy who thinks on a grand scale. Since he took a step back from competitive rally-raids after having notably achieved fifth place on the Dakar in 2010 and won the World Cup in 2009, he has established a rally-cross team, launched real estate ventures or also purchased the Charade circuit near to Clermont-Ferrand, always with the guiding principle that he has refined and amplified as the years have passed: to promote green energy by imagining an entire ecosystem each time dedicated to this priority. At the heart of his many activities, the former extreme skiing champion is especially preparing a comeback on the Dakar unlike any other. “It’s a genuine vision with the ambition of effecting change,” he maintains enthusiastically and confidently on the telephone, because the birth of his third child has retained him in Tignes whilst his teams were presenting the GCK e-Blast in Neom. “This project has been two years in the making and this prototype is already capable of driving. So, I’m counting on returning to compete in and win the Dakar, but also to wage a revolution, because motorsport and the Dakar in particular must set the example in the way we use and procure energy”.
This multi-faceted project with multiple levels is well and truly up and running. On the bivouac in Neom, the GCK holding that he set up with his associate Eric Boudot has installed an array of solar panels that is experimentally powering a small part of the bivouac. For this first step, the system deployed was easily sufficient in fulfilling its mission. However, in the short term, GCK wishes to provide a solution that will cover all the needs of the 2,500 people who live on the bivouac, with their very specific constraints: “We precisely came to Neom to calculate the amount of energy required to replace all the generators that are running here,” explains Boudot. “The things that make our project possible are the electricity storage units that we have developed. This technology has been around for almost ten years, but our innovation has focused on making these units mobile, which is the major challenge for an event such as the Dakar”. The prospect of green energy powered vehicles travelling between clean bivouacs is something that spurs on Guerlain Chicherit as well as the Dakar’s teams. In this perhaps not so far-off world, another revolution will also be immediately discernible: a silent bivouac.