The Corsa-e Rally, an electric racing car developed for Opel’s own rally brand, is soon ready for use. The ADAC Opel e-Rally Cup is in principle the first of its kind in the world. And because, as in all leagues of this kind, they will be competing with vehicles made from series-produced cars, the manufacturer will try to emphasize the values and features that it considers important for road models.
Now, for example, they have revealed how safe the electric rally car will be. In a word: very much.
The basis is, of course, the standard model, with its new-generation, solid frame structure and a steel frame that further stiffens the body to protect the battery pack under the floor. This was complemented by a two-part lower protective cover cut from 5 mm thick aluminum sheet.
A separate standard regulates the safety requirements for electric vehicles, from fire protection to minimal insulation to the protection of batteries against mechanical impact (vibrations, shocks, thermal effects) and electrical loads (short circuit, overcharging, deep immersion).
The Corsa-e Rally gets a special fire extinguisher that sprays an electrically insulating extinguishing agent, so – as there is no flammable fuel on board anyway – the fire risk is significantly lower than in a car with an internal combustion engine.
The high voltage (434V) network is of course not a game, so if any insulation problems occur, the onboard control system will alert you immediately; the car can be de-energized from both the outside and inside. In an accident, this happens automatically, in less than a second.
Incidentally, the human side of safety is also dealt with by the organizers and developers: they provide special training for the service staff, from the judges to the closed park to its employees. They are given different, color-coded privileges; components of racing cars may only be accessed by suitably qualified people with the highest level of authority.