A new era in trucks

If you had to play to find the differences, there would probably be innumerable those that would stand out between a competition truck for the Dakar and a city bus Barcelona. But, can you imagine what they have in common? Apparently nothing. But if we delve inside, we find that the prototype of the KH-7 Epsilon Team will be propelled by the same hydrogen with which they circulate in the Barcelona. Jordi Juvanteny remember that it was three years ago when david castera “he presented the Dakar of the future, which said that it had to go towards more sustainable paths” and now that the truck category is facing a new era at a competitive level, this transition also coincides with that of the race towards a more ecological model where the Spanish structure will be the first to take action.

“Making the truck work with hydrogen” will be this year’s challenge, for Jordi Juvanteny who will visit the desert for the 32nd time. With so many participations, it may seem that he has had time for everything, but nevertheless, this novelty shows how the Dakar continues to have room for surprises. Despite the fact that the idea has now become effective, it began to be forged three years ago: “We wondered who dominated this subject in Barcelona and we got in touch with him (Xavier Ribas) to have him close and create a close project”. They went to work just a year ago and although the Catalan admits that “hydrogen arrives a little fast, we thought that this had to be the first year to start trying things.” “Xavi got his act together” and they will finally be at the starting line on December 31 after overcoming a challenge that his creator also spoke about.

Like any challenge, “it has had its difficulties, since integrating all this into this type of vehicle is not easy,” he acknowledges. Xavier, after “a lot of sacrifice and weekends” that have been destined to work against the clock. So much so that even the hours of sleep also changed: “We worked a lot in tireless days that went from seven in the morning to ten at night. It is a project that required that and the rehearsals, we did them at dawn at two in the morning going up the port of Bruc because there was no traffic and you could step on the truck”. Also, because the rest of the day was dedicated to the work of the mechanics, who were in charge of integrating this complex system into the truck.

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“The adaptation has a main part, which is where the hydrogen is loaded. Then there is a series of regulators on the other hand so that this pressure drops a bit and is conditioned to be able to inject hydrogen into the engine. And then there is a more electronic part, which includes both the management of the engine that removes diesel so that you inject the hydrogen, and the electronics so that it detects the security systems ”, he relates Xavi about a creation that came after Jordi’s requests. He never asked for more power, “just less consumption” to settle “a debt we have with the Dakar after everything it has given us.” How it will perform in that territory will be the great unknown, since they are at the expense of seeing “how it really behaves on the battlefield” and although reliability respects them, they are realistic with their aspirations.

the new favorites

“This year will be a very open race” due to the absence of kamaz. The great dominators of the category are left out of the test after not agreeing to sign the Code of Conduct established by the FIA ​​after the Russian invasion of Ukraine and despite the fact that the range opens giving way to uncertainty, Juvanteny is very clear about who can inherit that dominance: “There may be surprises, but Rooy’s team has two very young drivers with two years of experience who are going very fast. Then there is the Tara de Loprais, although he is always fighting alone ”. Can someone join the party? “Yes”, but they do not consider the KH-7 Epsilon Team as the surprise of the edition: “The category is very defined between prototypes and series trucks like ours. We have nothing to do with prototypes. If we can be in the series category among the first, as in recent years, we will be satisfied. And to be in the top 15 overall would be a good position as well.”

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