ABB Powers-up Service Crew at Dakar Rally 2019 with Solar Energy

A pioneering motorsport team, Craft Bearings, has adopted ABB REACT 2 inverter and energy storage solution to help achieve its most ambitious target yet – to become the first team in Dakar Rally history to reduce its use of traditional diesel generators and be 100 percent solar powered for the service and support team.

Working in close collaboration with its partner, SoliTek, ABB’s efficient REACT 2 solar storage solution, has been installed as part of an off-grid solar installation on the Craft Bearings multipurpose Service truck. The set-up is being used to harness enough solar energy during the day to support the service and ancillary team as they undertake essential repairs to the race cars at night, as well as supply power to the team’s bivouacs, media and IT center.

The Dakar rally, which is currently underway in Peru, 6th to 17th January 2019, is known and respected as one of the most challenging and toughest events in motorsport. Often the routes take in mountainous and rocky terrains combined with extreme heat and dry conditions in very remote locations. As such, all the crews require access to remote power, which has traditionally been supplied by diesel generator sets.


For the 2019 event, the Craft Bearings team has set itself an ambitious target of reducing its dependence on temporary diesel power. It is aiming to generate 100 percent of its energy needed for service and supporting infrastructure in its multipurpose truck from solar, taking advantage of the South American climate.

To support the team, six bifacial solar panels measuring 10sqm have been installed on the roof of the main service lorry and include the latest photovoltaic (PV) panels, supplied by SoliTek.

These new generation PV panels are ultra-durable and toughened to withstand the terrain in South America and can absorb the suns energy from the front side and rear side. This enables the panels to produce 25 percent more energy than one-sided solar panels.

This energy efficient hybrid power system features ABB’s market leading technology, REACT 2, selected because of its higher IP class and large storage capacity. The ABB team also installed a frequency converter, ABB ACS355 drive, in order to control the 3-phase compressor and avoid over limits of the system.

The modular solution, along with the inclusion of a high-voltage Lithium-Ion battery (200 V), with a long life and a storage capacity of up to 12 kWh, delivers more reliability and up to 10 percent more system efficiency compared to lower voltage alternatives (48 V). This technology therefore makes it ideal to harness the sun’s energy in South America and use it productively in such challenging and remote locations as seen in the Dakar Rally. During times of reduced sunlight, ABB also provided two external battery blocks to harness and utilize the stored energy.

It is estimated that the current system will enable the service and support team to work for full two days without using any external power sources.

Giovanni Frassineti, Global Product Group Manager for ABB’s solar inverter business said: “This latest installation demonstrates how solar can be used and adapted across a number of competitive applications to promote cleaner and greener energy. We are very excited to see how the team perform and wish them all the best in Peru.”

As demand for smarter solutions and connectivity continues, the Craft Bearings team will also take advantage of ABB Ability™ with REACT 2 to deliver intelligent control over their storage needs and manage their energy production and consumption during the race. This means the team principals will be able to control peaks and troughs in the energy flow and should be able to meet their 100 percent solar energy target for the coverage of service energy needs.

Antanas Juknevicius, professional rally driver for Craft Bearings commented: “We are very much looking forward to this year’s competition and hope to have full power and independent power for the duration of the race from solar. We want to be the brightest and quietest crew in Dakar.”

ABB (ABBN: SIX Swiss Ex) is a pioneering technology leader in power grids, electrification products, industrial automation and robotics and motion, serving customers in utilities, industry and transport & infrastructure globally. Continuing a history of innovation spanning more than 130 years, ABB today is writing the future of industrial digitalization with two clear value propositions: bringing electricity from any power plant to any plug and automating industries from natural resources to finished products. As title partner in ABB Formula E, the fully electric international FIA motorsport class, ABB is pushing the boundaries of e-mobility to contribute to a sustainable future. ABB operates in more than 100 countries with about 147,000 employees.

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