First All-Electric Off-Road Racing Effort

Raise your hand if you’ve ever made fun of a Prius. Go ahead. I won’t judge. With their torpedo shape and quiet efficiency, hybrid and electric vehicles are a smart choice for the city and many others who enjoy….That kind of thing. Don’t get me wrong: I, as are most offroad enthusiasts, am a steadfast advocate of conservation. I believe in taking care of our surroundings so that they’re here for generations to enjoy.

However, I also enjoy knowing that my vehicle is on after I turn the key by hearing the tell-tale signs of a motor. It freaks me out when a hybrid drives by and I hear nothing. It’s like an alien hovercraft is cruising through the post office parking lot. And admittedly, I like the smell of gasoline. I can’t help it. Mother Earth, forgive me for I have sinned, and likely will continue to do so.

As lovers of all things motorized, most off-roaders are more likely to do their part by using less electricity and recycling our cans opposed to purchasing an electric vehicle. But that may not be the case for long.

Believe it or not, electric vehicles just got cool.

Later this month, the Strategic Recovery Institute will run their SRI EV1 in the Mexico 1000 along the Baja Peninsula, marking the first time that an all-electric vehicle will compete in a major off-road race. Or perhaps, ever, for that matter.

The vehicle, with a powertrain built by EV West, is powered by dual 9-Inch NetGrain WarP electric motors, and with 138 3.3-volt prismatic lithium ion-cell batteries, weighing in at 1,950 pounds, give the vehicle an impressive range and top speed.

How impressive? With a reported 535 Horsepower and 750-foot pounds of torque, top speeds for the SRI EV1 clock in at 125 MPH. I have never seen an electric car go over 50 in the fast lane, so 125 miles per hour is a pure feat of electric off-road mastery.

Currently, operators estimate that the vehicle can go 100 miles between charges, but are hopeful that by impressing sponsors with their innovation and ability that future sponsorships for additional battery packs will allow “hot swaps” so that instead of charging, packs can be switched mid-race and allow the vehicle to complete and entire course.

In today’s off road world, major races require pit stops for fuel, tires and the unexpected repair, so it leaves one to wonder just how far off battery changes during pit stops may also be the norm.

Here’s to the folks at the Strategic Recovery Institute for dreaming big and bringing electric technology to off-road. This sport is the creation of innovators, and there’s always room for new ideas.