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THE first electric car in history to complete the gruelling, 9200km Dakar Rally has made its Australian debut with a visit to Toowoomba.
The vehicle, a product of a joint venture between global infrastructure company Acciona and Jatton Racing, was built with the purpose of demonstrating the power of renewable energy and is powered by eight fast-charging lithium battery modules.
The car is in Australia to take part in the Finke Desert Race, between 8-11 June, in Alice Springs.
Acciona head of marketing Emma Reiners said Acciona was a company that believed there was a different way of doing things, "and sustainable infrastructure and renewable energy is really important to us".
"Acciona have a research and development arm - a whole separate part of the company in Madrid - and it started from a couple of engineers getting together one lunch and saying, wouldn't it be great if we can build an electric car? And they did just that," Ms Reiners said.
Pilot of the car for the 2017 Dakar Rally, and owner and technical director of Jatton Racing Ariel Jatton, speaking through an interpreter, said the race was "very difficult".
It took him and his team 82 hours to complete the race, across 14 days.
"Completing the whole race was the objective, which we were able to do. The best stage we competed in, we came 17th out of everyone," Mr Jatton said.
In the final placings, the car ranked 30th out of more than 100 cars - a great outcome for the first electric car to take part in the challenge.
But the car's success didn't come without several failures. Two attempts to complete the race in 2015 and 2016 had to be abandoned.
Now, the car is off to Alice Springs where it will be driven by two female pilots.
**Original story appeared in Toowoomba Chronicle on 24/05/2018 https://www.thechronicle.com.au/news/first-electric-car-finish-dakar-rally-visits-toowo/3423145/
Picture: Bev Lacey @ Toowoomba Chronicle