For the 2023 Dakar Rally, GRO is proud to be part of the experienced Team KH-7 Epsilon led by pilot Jordi Juvanteny, which will have José Luis Criado as co-driver and Jordi Ballbé as driver/navigator in the technical section. The KH-7 Epsilon MAN truck will be the first heavy vehicle in the 2023 Dakar Rally to run on hydrogen.
For 2022, the team’s truck was a zero-emission vehicle that relied on a blend of Repsol’s hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and finished twenty-first in class. They have won the 6×6 subcategory every year since 2019 with sixteen total victories, while also being the best finishing Production truck in 2021.
Weighing 11,500 kilograms, the 2023 MAN’s hydrogen power comes from Spanish energy company EVARM, who specializes in converting vehicles for other fuel supplies. The fuel mixes hydrogen and diesel, the former of which is injected from a pair of 420-litre tanks that will be refilled via generator between stages. While the diesel/hydrogen blend is balanced at 50/50, the team hopes to increase to 90% hydrogen for the 2024 race. This would coincide with the Rally introducing a separate category for alternative fuel vehicles that year.
Hydrogen has no environmental footprint and can be created simply from water and solar energy, making it an appealing choice for race teams.
Jordi Juvanteny: “We will replace LPG with hydrogen, which is completely clean and leaves no trace in the atmosphere. This is our way of giving back to some of what Dakar has given us.In addition, the planet demands change from us and we cannot expect only an institutional response. We must continue to move forward among all of us. Our team intends to do great and innovative things, thus contributing a grain of sand to the earth, which the earth expects of us. In 2022, we have already taken the first steps. – Emissions are significantly reduced when combined with LPG. In 2023, we want to take another step forward by using hydrogen as a completely clean energy source. ”
Xavier Rivas, Industrial Technology Engineer and Director of EVARM: “In racing, you can save 40-50% on diesel. “
Jordi Giuvanteny: This is Jordi’s 31st Dakar appearance, and year after year he has faced new challenges: “With so many editions on our backs, there is still a challenge. With races changing and their routes secret and unknown until 15 minutes before the start of each stage, each edition has new motivations. So to finish is a big milestone in itself and of course to finish in the best position possible.This race is our life.”
José Luis Criado, co-driver of the KH-7 Epsilon Team with 32 Dakar Rallies under his belt: “Life is full of challenges and illusions, and our experience has a huge impact in terms of emissions, and we believe that we can contribute to innovation in the freight transport sector, which may not benefit so tangibly from new energies such as electricity. After so many Dakars there are still challenges. Every year is a new motivation, every year the race is different, the route is always secret and you do not know until the day fifteen minutes before the start so that nobody can cheat. Therefore the challenge is to finish the race, which not everyone does, and obviously also try to reach the best possible classification. This race is our life.”
Jordi Ballbe’, navigator: “Our goal is to optimize its use to maximize diesel savings. Acting as a test bench in the face of racing difficulties is a big challenge. “
The planet asks us for changes and at GRO our commitment to innovation and sustainability is very clear
The 2023 Dakar Rally begins on 31 December 2022.