Fife-based eRally Motorsport have built the first electric rally car, a Renault Zoe which is charging into Formula 1000 in 2018.
The prototype car will be used in junior rallying, for 14 to 17-year-olds, after being tested in the senior division this year.
Thanks to help from Business Gateway Fife, eRally, which is based just outside Rosyth, has created a sponsorship package that has already attracted Aberdeen’s EC-OG. Further deals are currently being sought which would help the company reduce the car’s price tag from £15k to under £10k.
The sponsorship deals, alongside a commitment from RCI Financial Services to supply a number of donor vehicles to the team over the next 12 months, will also help keep them on course to launch the eRally Championship in Scotland within the next three years.
Jean Hay, co-driver and project coordinator at eRally Motorsport Ltd, said: “Over the past few years there has been a marked change in how motorsport views electric cars, with both Formula-e and Electric GT World Series growing in popularity. But popularity can only get you so far as sponsorship deals are the lifeblood of any rally team.
“Although we’ve lots of expertise and connections in motorsport, we couldn’t say the same for business, so we approached Business Gateway Fife. Our adviser helped us create a feasible sponsorship pricing structure and is helping us with the design and printing of brochures to attract new sponsors. We’ve also had help with business planning, marketing and time-management, all of which will be fundamental to our success going forward.
“We now have a complete package – a rally ready car and sponsorship deals on offer. Although the number of cars RCI Financial Services Ltd’s will supply to us at a discounted or subsidised rate has yet to be decided, having them on board will help us showcase electric car rally driving to the nation.”
Fraser McKee, Business Gateway Fife, said: “We’ve provided eRally with information on how to run a rally team as a business. Getting the pricing structure for sponsorship correct was crucial and with our help they now have packages that will attract the right companies.
“Working with Scottish Enterprise we were also able to team them with a local software company for innovation support. Once the eRally Championship is established the team will look to franchise the event globally so further advice regarding internationalisation will prove useful as will our connections to other support agencies.”
eRally’s electric rally car is the brainchild of former British Rally Championship and current Scottish Rally Championship driver Ellya Gold and Tristan Dodd, Chairman of Formula 1000.
Although the original idea for the car arose in 2006, it wasn’t until Tristan approach the Motorsport Association with the idea of producing an electric car for youngsters to drive last year that approval was given.
The prototype eRally car is powered by a 65kw motor which provides a maximum torque of 220Nm - double the torque currently used in the junior section. The 20kWh lithium ion battery gives the car a competitive range, when driven flat out, of around 25 miles.
Renault has recently launched a new 41kWh battery pack that will effectively double the range of further eRally cars built for customers.
Jean said: “The eRally car looks and goes just like the current junior rally cars with a combustion engine but, with no tailpipe it’s pollution free. Taking the eRally car around schools, we want to educate our future drivers that electric cars can be fun, perform better and don’t damage our health, unlike many of their parent’s cars.”