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The new electronic Hyundai Kona EV, which has been developed in his base in Cromwell over the past 18 months, was revealed by Paddon Rallysport at Hyundai Motors New Zealand in Auckland yesterday.
The car was 80% designed in-house in terms of chassis design, engineering, aerodynamics, suspension, steering, cooling and electrics. Austrian company Stohl Advanced Research and Development contributed to the project as a technical partner, providing guidance and advice.
EV technology powers a range of competitive motorsport vehicles, primarily in disciplines at one location, such as a race or rallycross track, and usually run over a relatively short period of time.
Rallying is obviously very different, raced over days and in remote locations with limited time to tend to vehicles.
The design concept for the Paddon Rallysport EV needed to combine performance, range and reliability into one package. The EV rally car needed to be fast and spectacular, as well as capable of competing against normal internal combustion engine (ICE) competition. It also had to provide a distinctive sound.
Paddon and his multi-championship winning rally team focused on creating a car with considerable ‘‘wow’’ factor.
“The car is faster on paper than an ICE car, has better weight distribution and is more reliable as there are fewer moving parts and the potential with the technology, electronics and design of the car is endless,” Paddon said.
“It’s simply a new era of rallying that has new limits.
“The EV package is capable of over 800kW, but we have focused on building this car to have comparable power to a current ICE rally car and aim for it to be winning rallies against normal ICE competition from 2022.
‘‘A lot of work needs to happen between now and then, and we are confident that EV technology is going to work in a normal rally environment.
“Finding the way to move forward with EV technology is something we identify as being very important for the future of our sport, not only in New Zealand but globally. If the sport doesn’t respond, it will be left behind commercially and technologically compared to other motorsports.”
The car weighs in at around 1400kg and has the same suspension travel as a WRC car.
Having designed and built a new concept of rally car from scratch, the team is ready for an extensive eight month development programme to learn and extract the most from the car.
Paddon believes New Zealand offers the perfect test bed for his team to refine the EV technology in a normal, competitive environment – an environment that Paddon obviously knows well.
“The next phase of the project is focused on performance and reliability, before we build up to a full length rally in the second half of 2021.
“Long term, we see this as a platform from which we will further develop the cars and our team to take on the world.”
The Paddon Rallysport team comprises Paddon, project manager and electrical engineer Matt Barham, lead technician Mike Pittams, mechanical engineer Rory Callaway, technicians Ben Fretwell and Ari Pettigrew and plant manager Matt Bowater.
Paddon has teamed up with Meridian Energy, battery chargers YHI and the EECA as well as other long time supporters in the project.