Truck&Fleet ME April 2021

Page 14

FEATURE

FINDING THE MISSING LINK

Alexander Schey on helping Allison Transmission form a vital link in the industry’s journey towards electrification We did all sorts of things that were verging on criminal,” Alexander Schey tells T&FME as he recalls Racing Green Endurance’s (RGE) monumental trek from Alaska to Argentina in a 400hp, 160mph electric sports car he had put together with his fellow Imperial College London students. In some ways, this was the quintessential pet project that got out of hand. Schey entered his mechanical engineering studies with no particular passion for car design but was forming an interest in electrification technology fuelled by the projects he was seeing on campus and in the university’s labs. By the time they set off for South America they had raised a million 12 APRIL 2021

dollars in sponsorship; and 26,000 km later Schey and his peers were well on their way to the cutting edge of the automotive industry. “I was getting the bug from just being around these projects,” he affirms. “But we were disappointed that when you went out into the real world, no-one really cared or was interested in electric vehicles at the time. So, we wanted to do something to change that perception and built that car from scratch.” He pauses to joke: “I think somebody last summer did Argentina to Alaska on electric power, but we were the first. We are still the first to do it from North to South!” In terms of where electric vehicles were at the time, Schey and the rest of the Racing

We are going into a totally new world now and to be able to work on that is very exciting”

Green Endurance (RGE) electric sports car team were – relatively speaking - attempting to use a technology that had barely pushed itself out of the primordial soup. While there may have been Prii (it took Toyota until 2011 to give its hybrid a plural) on the road since the late 1990s, the perception that an electric vehicle was a slow and expensive novelty was proving hard to shake off. In 2010, the world was largely devoid of Teslas and supermarket fast-chargers. Keeping their ‘SRZero’ electric sports car on the road proved to be one of their biggest challenges. “To be frank, there was no charging infrastructure,” Schey says as he recalls his time as RGE’s project manager. “We were jimmying meconstructionnews.com


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