The 2024 Dakar Rally is scheduled to take place from Friday, January 5 through Friday, January 19, 2024. In this year’s rally, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Honda, and Yamaha have all teamed up to create one experimental vehicle that will take to the grueling rally course for the first time ever—but it isn’t a bike. 

Back in May 2023, Japan’s Big Four teamed up with Toyota to create HySE, the Hydrogen Small Mobility Engine Research Association. On October 18, 2023, HySE officially announced that it’s entering an experimental vehicle called the HySE-X1 in the 2024 Dakar Rally

As you’ve probably guessed, this vehicle won’t be participating in any of the usual classes of the event. Instead, the HySE-X1 will be running in the special Mission 1000 challenge, which is a part of the Dakar Future Program. This program is specifically aimed at encouraging existing motorcycle and automotive manufacturers to develop carbon neutral technologies, allowing them to use the rigors of the Dakar as a test bed. 

What is the Dakar Rally Mission 1000 Challenge? 

According to the official Dakar Rally description, the daily route for the Mission 1000 challenge will be around 100 kilometers (or 62-ish miles). It will be located “on the fringes of the official route but boasting similar difficulties.” 

It’s also worth noting that per the official rules, there are no winners or losers in this class. While that obviously won’t keep competitive individuals or teams from working hard to achieve their best times and results, the main goal is experimentation and using the course as a laboratory for technologies that haven’t been tested before. 

The project has the full backing of both the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile  (FIA) and the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM). Around a dozen or so total vehicles across all types—cars, bikes, and trucks—are expected to participate in this class.

They’ll also have their own dedicated section of the bivouac, but free travel will be allowed amongst participants so that as much discussion about the Mission 1000 vehicles and technologies can take place as possible. 

What is the HySE-X1? 

HySE is currently using a hydrogen-powered engine developed for motorcycles in its research, and that’s the same engine that will power the HySE-X1. The chassis for this experimental vehicle is built by Belgian company Overdrive Racing, which has partnered with HySE for this project.  

The HySE-X1 engine is a liquid-cooled, four-stroke, inline four-cylinder, dual overhead cam, 16-valve, 998cc engine. It’s also supercharged. Those wishing to see this vehicle and engine up close will be able to do so at the Toyota booth at the Motorsports Program booth at the 2023 Japan Mobility Show. 

The HySE-X1 vehicle measures 3,530mm long by 2,070mm wide by 1,700mm high, or approximately 139 inches high by 82 in. wide by 67 in. high. Total vehicle weight is 1,500 kilograms, or just under 3,307 pounds. 

"We have decided to participate in the Dakar Rally, which we know has a rich history and tradition. Our main reason for participating is to give us the chance to communicate the results of our research in a way that's easy to understand,” HySE chairman and Yamaha Motor Company executive officer of technical R&D Kenji Komatsu said in a statement. 

“Also, by participating in the event, we can identify potential issues and refine our technology to solve the technical themes required for the establishment of hydrogen small mobilities as soon as possible. We hope everyone will look for us there and cheer us on!" he concluded. 

Got a tip for us? Email: