Interview: Albert Bosch
The first driver to participate in the Dakar Rally in an 100% electric car…
Just before he is heading out to the Artic Circle (!!!) Albert Bosch kindly took some time to speak to me about his incredible life as an adventurer, entrepeneur, and writer.
His dedication to sustainability lead him to become the first ever driver to participate in the Dakar Rally with an 100% electric car, and the team he created became the first ever to complete the rally just last month.
Dakar has been a distant dream of my own for a very long time, and combined with a passion for sustainable mobility, I can’t help but be massively inspired by what Albert and his team achieved at what is considered to be the toughest motorsport event in the world.
Q: Hi Albert! Tell us a bit about yourself and your incredible career as an adventurer, entrepreneur, author, and promotor of clean energy and sustainability!
Since I was very young, I lived in a little village in the pyrenees, and there I used to do offroad motorbike and mountaineering. I always kept climbing and hiking, but I pushed harder on motorbike offroad racing.
My dream was going to the Dakar rally, and I did it in 1998 for the first time. The first year I had an accident, and the second years I succeeded and I was the only one in my team (Honda) to finish. It was a great moment, but there I realized that I was not good enough to be a professional pilot.
Anyway, I wanted to live connected with my passions, and Dakar and mountains were my real passion. There I changed my chronometer for the compass, and I started my adventure life. I became the promoter of my own racing and adventure projects. I organized the first spanish team with a pilot in a wheelchair, and I was the codriver, and we became the first in the history to finish the Dakar Rally only driving with the hands (the only one team who did it in Africa). I invited other concepts always to be able to sell the sponsorship.
In the meantime I was climbing and doing the project “7 Summits”, summiting the highest peak in each continent, ending with Mt.Everest in 2010. There I saw the most pristine places in the earth, but also the most threatened places, always by human activity.
I was not happy only having fun in the nature, without protecting it. And since my climbing to Mt.Everest I strongly committed to protect and promote the environment, the sustainability and the clean energies. I said I would never again do car races.
Q: What made you decide to race Dakar in an electric car and how did you do it?
After my Everest committment, I went to cross Antartica and I was absolutely alone there for 48 days. I started to think that even I didn’t want to race again, maybe I could put together my values, my experience and my visibility on adventure/racing activities.
I met Agustin Payá, another Electric Vehicle passionate, and we invented the project “Dakar with an electric car”… We spent two years working on that starting november 2012, and on january 3rd 2015 I became the first pilot to drive a 100% electric car in the hardest motor race in the world… and last month (January 2017), the team I created, finished Dakar for the first time in History.
Q: What was your experience of running Dakar fully-electric? What were the biggest challenges and how did you overcome them?
Of course it was an incredible experience. We were conscious that we were pioneers, and therefore we were assuming big risks. We were dealing with 3 challenges in one:
1) The hardest motor race in the world, like all other teams
2) A huge technological challenge… absolutely new techology in extreme conditions
3) A huge logistic challenge… the main problem was the autonomy
Finally we realized that the technology itself was really good and quite easy to adapt… an elecrtic car is really good for any type of race, even in the desert. Very reliable and very effective.
The real huge problem is always the autonomy. To overcome it, we discussed with the organisation a new regulation for “Full Electric Cars” category (only one car really), in order to be able to change batteries or recharge in the same place where motorbikes made their refuelling stops. That meant we needed an autonomy of around 200Km in the race.
Q: Do you have any advice for any future drivers or engineers looking to take an electric car to Dakar?
Be more concentrated with the autonomy, and make a great planning for the logistics…. Dakar is a very long race, that everything runs very quickly… even if you achieve a real racing autonomy of 240km, you need enough logistics to have batteries or recharging systems in all the required points during the stage.
Q: What are your tips for fellow adventurers that wish to stay committed to sustainability?
The real value of our adventures is not achieving our personal goals, such as finishing the Dakar Rally, or summiting Everest, or reaching the South Pole. The real value is making this matter for society and the future of our planet.
We can live our adventures, pursue our dreams, and feel passion for life, but not only for our Ego… we must do all that committed with a possitive impact on the world.
Q: What are your tips for young/aspiring entrepreneurs that wish to focus on clean energy, the environment and sustainability?
If you are an entrepreneur or a professional concentrated in your project, fighting hard for it, investing your best time in life to succeed, but the activity is negative for the sustainability of our planet, you are investing your life, your effort and your talent in the dark side. I wish you to fail, because your success is really bad for the rest of the society, for the environment, or for the planet in general.
On the contrary, if you follow your goals with passion and big effort, and you ar connected to a real sustainable purpose, you can earn money, enjoy life, be successful on your projects, and at the same time, having a real possitive impact in the world. That will make you more happy, powerful and better leader for all the society.
Q: How can people follow your adventures and keep up to date with what you are doing?
They can follow me on my personal website: www.albertbosch.info
And in all my social media accounts:
And you can also catch Albert Bosch at Evodays 2017 where he will be attending as a guest speaker.
Thank you to Albert Bosch and his team
Author: Beth Lily Georgiou