Philippe Croizon, the amputee with four legs based in La Rochelle, takes on a new challenge: driving an electric hydrogen vehicle during Dakar 2024. He has teamed up with the French company GCK (Green Corp Konnection) specializing in “green” vehicles.
Meeting challenges has become the trademark, the engine, the DNA of Philippe Croizon. As a 54-year-old, he has just announced a new challenge: being the first man to make Dakar in an electric vehicle running on hydrogen. The goal is set for the beginning of January 2024, and between now and then the work promises to be intense and enormous.
“Since my first race in 2017, I had only thought about going back there under other conditions. I quickly became interested in hydrogen technology. I have read a lot on the subject “explains the four-legged amputated adventurer.”I even tried to convince the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile to try this race with this kind of vehicle. But in 2017, it was too early“.
Five years later, mentalities have evolved, technology has evolved, the economy has changed, and heat engines are in sight and doomed to extinction by 2035 in Europe. Electric cars are more popular than ever. But if individuals see their future in it, in motor racing it remains complicated and confidential, especially on Dakar. During the last edition, three hybrid cars competed.
Philippe Croizon has the idea and the motivation, but he needs a builder. This is where GCK (Green Corp Konnection), a French ecosystem of industrial companies specializing in the decarbonization of transport, comes in. Its spearhead? Brint.
The meeting between Philippe Croizon and GCK took place last summer. “We were won by Philippe’s personality and background“, explains Sébastien de Chaunac, Marketing and Communications Director at GCK.There we start with a double challenge, the car’s clean technology and the adaptation to Philippe’s disability“.
At Dakar 2022, the company presented a static prototype of this hydrogen electric car. Now you need to make it roll and above all feed it regularly. “You must recharge every 300 km when the tank is full, ie twice as long a range as a 100% electric car“, clarifies Sébastien de Chaunac. Yes, it is still necessary to be able to refuel hydrogen in the middle of the desert and at the moment the problem is not solved …
GCK does not really have the ambition to win Dakar 2024. ”Our goal is to demonstrate that hydrogen is an excellent energy for heavy vehicles“. A proof at the farm to demonstrate the interest in GCK’s core business, namely retrofitting (converting thermal cars to electric cars) trucks, buses or even snowmobiles!”We are not in the private car market, especially since the market for them is focused on electricity, not hydrogen“, Concludes Sébastien de Chaunac.
The next few months will be crucial in finding the right balance between handling, reliability and cost. “We use Peugeot’s DKR chassis, which won Dakar in 2018, and we adapt it to hydrogen technology. The challenge is to prepare this chassis to drive on the steepest roads to meet the dunes and rocks. In terms of price, the adaptation has a cost, but less than the construction at the start “specifies the Director of Marketing and Communications at GCK.
GCK also claims that a tank of hydrogen (combustible gas) is no more dangerous than a tank of gasoline. The tank and the materials used would be appropriate.
The challenge promises to be huge, the ability to confirm (or not) that the motto “tout is possible“by Philippe Croizon Works.