The 2023 Rebelle Rally begins October 12, and the eight-day off-road event currently has 12 EVs registered to compete. The story of the Rebelle Rally and how it teamed with Renewable Innovations to offer a high-power, portable charging and power system for its remote, off-grid event is incredible. Here’s a look at the impressive systems that keep the Rebelle Rally EV charging stations fed and the event’s base camps powered.
The Rebelle Rally is a Women’s Off-Road Navigation Rally Raid
The Rebelle Rally is the first women’s off-road navigation rally raid in the United States. Over the course of its eight-year history the event has included participants from 322 different cities, spanning 51 states/provinces, and ten countries. For 2023, the Rebelle Rally takes place in the far reaches of Nevada and California over the course of eight days. It begins in Mammoth Lakes, California, and concludes in Imperial Sand Dunes, California. Remote base camps are utilized along the way. The Rebelle Rally is no small event. It contains 65 two-person teams and team members are from 100 different cities, representing 28 U.S. states and three countries. Ages of the competitors range from 23-75 years old and include executives, lawyers, mothers, students, military members, retirees, and many women in STEM. Furthermore, competition entries include ten vehicle manufacturers, collectively fielding a total of 24 teams.
How the Competition Works
Rebelle Rally is an endurance competition and not a race. The event is designed as the ultimate navigation and challenge combined with fun, yet challenging and precise driving. There’s a unique scoring and checkpoint system and it’s combined with roadbook challenges for a wide range of team experience and skills. Participants use maps, compass, roadbooks, strategy, and a vehicle. But here’s the thing: No GPS or other electronic devices are allowed. In the end, participants will drive over 1,550 miles of terrain. The goal of Rebelle Rally is for the participants to increase their competence, confidence, and skill.
Rebelle Rally Vehicle Classes and Awards
There are two vehicle classes and three vehicle designations at the Rebelle Rally. The classes are 4×4 (those with a two-speed transfer case) and X-Cross (unibody vehicles with no low range gearing). The three vehicle designations are Bone Stock (no modifications except for off-road tires), 4030 (over 40-year-old production-based vehicles), and Electrified (battery-electric, plug-in hybrid, or fuel-cell electric vehicles). Electrified vehicles are placed in either the 4×4 or X-Cross class depending on their off-road capabilities and intended use. The top three finishers in each class receive a trophy and a $5,000 credit off the next year’s Rebelle Rally registration.
EVs at Rebelle Began in 2020
The Rebelle Rally is no stranger to EVs. As a matter of fact, the Electrified class of competitors was established in 2020. Fun fact: The Electrified class was in development for two years prior to its 2020 debut. The class was created to showcase electric and alternative powertrain vehicles. It’s also dedicated to testing and proving electrified vehicles. And hey, a great way to test and prove an EV is to thrash it in a variety of environments for eight days. All battery-empowered vehicles at the Rebelle Rally sport an electrified badge and the badge is also prominent on the event website and scoring. Yep, the Rebelle Rally celebrates electrified vehicles. It’s also worth noting that out of the scores of vehicles competing in the 4×4 class in 2021 and 2022, the winning vehicle was a PHEV (a Jeep Wrangler 4xe).
Electrified Class Growth
The Electrified class has grown substantially through the years. In 2020 there was only a Rivian R1T and a Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV in the mix. By 2022 there were seven EVs. The seven consisted of three Jeep PHEVs, two all-electric Rivians, and two hybrid Toyotas. For 2023, the number of Electrified class competitors increases to 12. The tally includes a pair of Toyota Tundra hybrids, a pair of Toyota Sequoia hybrids, three Jeep Wrangler 4xes, a Ford Mach-E Rally, and four Rivian vehicles. The Rebelle Rally notes that the battery-electric vehicle program is limited to manufacturer entries due to the logistics of remote, rapid charging. Additionally, there may be more hybrid vehicles in the competition fielded by privateer teams.
Rebelle Rally EV Charging Stations Powered by Hydrogen and Solar Power Infrastructure
A huge challenge to EVs competing in the Rebelle Rally was how to charge them in remote areas. All rally base camps are in areas with no electric infrastructure. And the base camps are on the move. To solve these problems, event organizers turned to Renewable Innovations. Among other things, the company is bringing its Mobile Energy Command-Hydrogen (MEC-H). This system is equipped with eight fuel cells, and it delivers 360 kW of DC rapid charging. Virtual pipelines allow transport of large quantities of hydrogen to remote locations. In addition to DC fast charging for EVs, Renewable Innovations is providing its Mobile Energy Command-Solar (MEC-S). This system powers the Rebelle Rally base camp. It includes high-density solar panels and Smart Flowers that follow the sun to maximize efficiency. In total, the system can generate 50 kW of peak power.
A Support Trailer Provides Even More Portable Power
Also on tap is Renewable Innovations’ support trailer. It has six energy storage modules and two power modules from Lion Energy totaling 80 kWh. The trailer also has solar panels producing an extra 3kWh of power. The company notes that this will offer level 1 and level 2 charging for PHEVs to ensure no hiccups during the rally. It’s important to note that Rebelle Rally organizers assessed several companies in its quest for remote power and Renewable Innovations came out on top. A Rebelle Rally spokesperson says, “When it comes to powering the Electrified Program, we vetted many companies who all had a lot of promises – but couldn’t deliver, nor have backup plans. It’s been an arduous task and could not be possible or successful without the expertise of partner Renewable Innovations.
The Bottom Line
The partnership of the Rebelle Rally and Renewable Innovations is a proven winner for keeping the Rebelle Rally EV charging stations and remote base camps powered. Furthermore, Renewable Innovations is proof positive that a clean, powerful, portable energy system exists and completes its task.
Photos by Rebelle Rally and Renewable Innovations