The same people who drove an incredibly fast electric BMW M3 up Pikes Peak this May are back with something even more exciting: an all-electric offroad racecar built for the Baja 1000.
Even though it boasts 535 hp and 750 ft.-lbs. of torque, EV West's SRI EV1 race vehicle's powertrain is mostly silent. Powered by a 400kW, 2000aH hot-swappable battery pack, the lack of a high-revving motor means the driver hears a symphony of suspension sounds and crunching gravel.
San Diego-based EV West says the car has a range of 100 miles, can go 100 mph in the dirt, and that its two 9-inch DC motors can pick the front wheels up off the ground from a slow rolling start. But when you look at the car's torque numbers, the only thing that comes as a bit of a surprise is its range.
Americans have been paying more at the pump over the past year, but this project goes beyond domestic gas price woes. A retired army general issued a challenge to designers to create something that soldiers can use, because if you think gas is expensive in the land of the big PX, try dragging it out into a barren desert to power the fighting man's vehicles. It's about $400 per gallon once all the hidden costs are factored in. That's even more than the biofuel for the U.S. Navy's oft-critiqued Green Fleet.
The batteries EV West is using are perhaps the most significant demonstration of the car's move away from fossil fuel. Sure, during races, the SRI EV1's battery packs have to be quick-charged with a diesel generator. But when slower charging is possible, the packs are designed to be charged using solar power.
EV West raced the SRI EV1 at this weekend's Southern Nevada Off-Road Enthusiasts (SNORE) "Rage at the River" off-road race in Laughlin, Nevada. We haven't been able to dig up any results, so if you've heard how their 5,200-pound buggy fared, let us know in Kinja.