The ADAC Opel Electric Rally Cup “powered by GSe” has been running for three seasons now, and the most important finding is that electric rallying works.

Opel has been providing solid proof of this since 2021, with the cars, the charging infrastructure, and the rallies themselves. This is motorsport that is fun and focused on the future.

The 100 kW/136 hp, technically identical Opel Corsa Rally Electric cars are robust, fast, and reliable. The events are hard-fought, and the positive perception of the world’s first electric one-make rally cup is continuously spreading. This season, participants from seven different nations (Germany, Austria, France, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and Romania) are fighting for points, prize money, and trophies. The rallies take place in five countries (Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, and the Czech Republic). Applicants for further international appearances in 2024 are literally queuing up.

The Opel battery-electric cars perform impressively on both gravel and asphalt. Thanks to 260 Newton meters of torque and well-balanced handling, the special stage times of the production-near cup machines are often on the same level as Rally5 cars, which have around 30 kW/40 hp more power. At the Rallye Vosges Grand-Est in June, the Corsa Rally Electric lost on average only two seconds per kilometer to the conventionally powered Rally4 cars with more than 154 kW/210 hp!

The durability of the Opel Corsa Rally Electric is also remarkable. To date, the ADAC Opel Electric Rally Cup has completed 20 events. Including the various outings as course car and the tests for the teams, there were around 2,000 km of special stages and over 5,000 km on roads between stages. The “endurance runner” in the field, a test car from Opel Motorsport occasionally also entered on events, has covered 13,000 km at rally speeds. So far, those components that come unchanged from the production model, such as the battery, DC inverter, and electric motor, have proven to be extremely reliable.

The high-voltage battery in particular has comfortably coped with the stress of tough rally use. An analysis of the 50-kWh battery in the Opel Motorsport test car revealed a remaining storage capacity of 96 per cent. The speculation of some outsiders that the battery would need to be replaced after two years or less has proven to be unfounded. “We assume that the batteries will last 20,000 km of special stages. But based on current knowledge it could be even more. On average that equates to at least 15 rally years or eight times the number of road kilometres driven in normal everyday operation. The battery is definitely not a limiting factor,” emphasises Opel Motorsport boss Jörg Schrott.

Since its rally debut, the Corsa Rally Electric has undergone continuous development. The high and immediately available torque of the production motor, as well as the extremely hard loads caused by jumps, bumps, and ruts in rally use, made modifications to the transmission necessary. Instead of the originally used Torsen differential, a multi-plate diff is now installed. The drive shafts were also reinforced. In addition, numerous improvements were made to the car’s software, particularly with regard to battery management. “By keeping the batteries constantly in the optimum temperature window, we were not only able to extend the range of our cars, but also improve the charging performance,” explains Schrott. The charging process from 20 to 80 per cent “state of charge” now takes around 25 minutes.

Conception and implementation of the innovative charging infrastructure represented one of the largest tasks of the joint pioneering work by ADAC and Opel. “The continuous development of all components in this project was a complex and multi-layered process, especially when it came to charging,” says Schrott: “We learned from each event and every kilometre. As a result, when we come to the service station today, the infrastructure is in place, the teams plug the charging cables into the charging cubes and the current starts flowing at 100 kW. Everything works faultlessly – across Europe and under the constantly changing conditions in rallying as well as the local situation.”

In the four years since the first draft emerged, the ambitious pioneering project has established itself as a highly attractive one-make rally cup that delights spectators and teams alike. Beyond all the bare facts and figures, another important finding remains: electric rallying not only works, it is great fun!


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: