If you’ve been following American automotive manufacturing for the last decade, you might have heard of the tiny Utah-based three-wheeled roadster builder Vanderhall. The company has been building front-wheel drive three-wheeled roadsters powered by GM drivetrains since 2012, with its first electric model, the Edison, coming in 2018. This week the company announced it would be doubling the size of its factory to produce the new electric off-road buggy called Navarro by 2022.
This little machine actually looks quite intriguing. I’m not sure if it will be road legal, based on the wheels that stick out well past the fenders, so perhaps this will be taking on the side-by-side market. Vanderhall is being a bit cagey on the details here, as the finished product is still two years away, but we know that it will be electric and that’s about it.
We can surmise that this buggy will have four wheel drive, perhaps with a quartet of the motors found in the Edison, which provide 52 kW each. With two of these motors, the 1400 pound Edison cranks out a 4.4 second 0-60 time. It also means the individual motors can torque vector like nobody’s business. Individual wheel control in an off-road environment sounds like a dream come true.
One thing I’m really excited about, which you can tell from the top shot, is that the Navarro has holes in its doors! If the Navarro can undercut Ford’s Bronco (it should), it might officially be the cheapest vehicle with holes in its doors!
I will be curious to see how electric off-roading takes off in the near future. Obviously range anxiety becomes a bit more of an issue when you’re 70 miles from nowhere, but perhaps companies could start installing chargers at trailheads for both road going and off-roading vehicle needs ahead of the surge in demand.
I’d really like to give this a try, because I cannot imagine how awesome it would be to get way off the beaten trail into the middle of the wilderness and hear the birds chirping and the wind rustling through the trees. Silent and low-impact rock crawling sounds like my kind of fun time.