We’re in Brighton, England, to witness the RAC Future Car Challenge from this charming seaside town to London. The race starts early tomorrow morning here, and we’ve just got back from the Hilton Metropole, the base for all participating teams. Team Proton is now charging up its three entries in the hotel carpark – the Saga EV, Exora REEV and Persona REEV.
As a recap, this is the second year of the FCC, which runs the opposite direction of RAC’s famous Veteran Car Run, and one day before it. Last year, Proton made everyone stand up and notice when they won the “Best Range Extender EV” award with the Exora REEV. The Saga EV also participated, and was close to winning its EV category. This year, both cars that were co-developed with Fraser Nash return to the challenge, accompanied by the just completed Persona REEV.
Proton is particularly proud of new boy Persona REEV. This is because a team of eight Malaysians modified and finished this car at Proton UK in Bristol. Shahril Nizam Abd Aziz, Group Project Leader of Proton’s Green Tech Department, tells us that the car started life as a CBU from Malaysia Proton Persona Elegance.
They dismantled it and removed the Campro engine, gearbox and fuel tank, among other things, before fitting the electric motor and Wankel range extender from the Exora REEV. Some mods were needed to fit in the new heart, and they had to make new brackets, mountings and modified the exhaust system from the Exora. The brackets are for the battery pack and new fuel tank. It took five days to do all the above, and three more days were needed for testing. The process ended just two weeks ago.
With a lighter and more aerodynamic body, surely the Persona REEV will do even better than last year’s winning Exora? Yes, according to Muhd Zulfadzli, Lead Engineer and Head of REEV. He said that while the Exora had its rotary generator running for 34 minutes in last year’s race, the Persona REEV didn’t need to use the range extender at all during a simulation of the 92 km race. In other words, it didn’t use a drop of fuel and ran solely in EV mode.
So they’re expecting the best tomorrow, naturally. Zulfadzli himself will pilot the Persona REEV. All the best, girls (there are two ladies in the team) and boys! Stay tuned for updates.