21 December 2018, Hangzhou– At the 2019 Dakar Rally, the Geely Auto Shell Lubricant Cooper Tire team and Asia’s “Off-road King” Han Wei will compete with a 100% methanol fuel powered rally vehicle for the first time in the races history.
On January 6, 2019 the 41st Dakar Rally will be begin in Lima, Peru and will undertake a 5,000 km journey. The Dakar Rally is considered one of the world’s most challenging and top motorsports event on par with F1 World Championship, 24hrs Le Mans, and WRC World Rally Championship. Many of the world’s top drivers come together each year to challenge the Dakar Rally, but the average completion rate for the event is only 38%. Only the most rugged vehicles in hands of the most skilled drivers can complete the competition.
Han Wei joined Geely Group Motorsports roster in 2016 forming the Geely Auto Shell Lubricant Cooper Tire team to challenge off-road rally races around the world. Since joining Geely his team has become three time champions of the Taklimakan Rally, took third place in the Silk Road Rally from Moscow to Xi’an, and first place in the Rallye du Maroc T1.3 Category. Han will compete in the 41st Dakar Rally in a newly designed and engineered methanol powered rally vehicle from Geely Auto.
Methanol is considered a clean and efficient fuel which can be sustainably gathered. Compared with gasoline or diesel, it produces less particulate emissions and burns more efficiently allowing vehicles to perform better and be more environmentally friendly. In motorsports, methanol is used regularly due to its ability to handle higher compression ratios and produce more power. Methanol can be obtained from transforming dirty coal to clean methanol or recycling CO2, removing excess greenhouse gases from the environment. The advantages to methanol is in line with Geely’s pursuit of more efficient, more environmentally friendly mobility, including in motorsports.
For over a decade, Geely has been actively researching and developing methanol powered vehicles, becoming a leader in methanol technology. In 2015, Zhejiang Geely Holding Group invested in Iceland’s Carbon Recycling International (CRI) who have developed sustainable technologies turning excess CO2 captured from power plants, factories, and other sources into clean methanol and commercializing the renewable fuel. Taking part in China’s “Methanol Vehicle Pilot Implementation Plan,” Geely Auto has provided over 90% of the pilot methanol vehicles since 2012. Geely Auto’s methanol taxis have been in operation for over 5 years, traveling nearly 1 billion kilometers. Geely Auto’s methanol powered rally vehicle in the Dakar Rally is the group’s latest innovation in methanol technology.
In October 2018 at Rallye du Maroc, the Geely Auto Shell Lubricant Cooper Tire team tested Geely Auto’s methanol powered rally vehicle. Rallye du Maroc held in the Sahara desert has become a classic precursor to Dakar. Famous for its complex terrain and harsh environment, it was the perfect opportunity to test the viability and reliability of the methanol powered rally vehicle. The successful test has laid a solid foundation for the vehicle to be used to challenge Dakar. Soon methanol powered vehicles will be on the world stage, at the world’s largest off-road rally event. The extraordinary performance that Geely Auto’s methanol powered rally vehicle will show and the environmental friendliness of methanol will leave a mark in the history of motorsports, helping push the development of methanol powered vehicles around the world.