While electric vehicles (EVs) may seem like something strictly for individuals aiming to “go green,” some performance motorsports enthusiasts are actually looking at electric engines as options for their vehicles as the industry advances. Yes, that means even off-road enthusiasts, as more and more competitors are eyeing the perks of electric power, according to Off-Road.com. Sound crazy? Well, it may not actually be too far fetched!
To support the growing interest in electric performance vehicles, companies dedicated to getting the power you want out of an electric engine for all types of performance applications are popping up all over the country. Even shops that have always dealt with building off-road performance vehicles, like Strategic Racing Designs (SRD) in Vista, California, are developing EV departments dedicated to building its famed models with electric power plants.
But this shouldn’t come as a surprise to those in the industry, as electric motors basically provide torque on demand and allow for more ground clearance and less components to break on an off-road course, Rubicon Express driver and 2013 Ultra4 Series winner Jason Scherer points out. Michael Bream, owner of EV West agrees, noting that electric motors are simpler than traditional powerplants.
Earlier this year, SRD and EV West teamed up to create the first ever all-electric off-road race vehicle. Entered into the NORRA Mexican 1000 in April of 2013, the car performed like a pro, only limited by the two company’s financial backing for batteries.
The batteries that power the SRI-EV1 race car cost $16,000 each and two are needed to run the vehicle just a short distance. Because of this, the company was allowed to compete in special sections of the race course while putting the car back on the trailer to charge in between, just to test their completed product.
According to Justin Herrmann, SRD lead fabricator and EV project manager, the SRI-EV1 was able to run nearly 60 miles on wide open terrain with its twin DC motor setup before needing to be recharged.
Just a few years ago, electric vehicles were a thing of the future, but while there are still a few bugs to work out, electric vehicles are now here to stay. And if we’ve learned anything from past powerplant innovations, we know that it’s only a matter of time before this latest technology infiltrates the industry in an undeniable way.
Would you consider racing an electric off-road vehicle?