As of today, old-fashioned combustion engines are still the popular choice should you want to take your car bouldering or to the sand dunes. However, this era of off-roading may be coming to an end. Companies like Rivian, Jeep, Ford, and many others are trying to design the perfect EV off-roader for weekend warriors.
Advantages of off-road EVs
While everyone has their own favorite reason for off-roading, wildlife lovers, in particular, will appreciate off-roading in an EV. Everyone remembers the first time they got to ride in an EV because of how quiet it is. Off-roading EVs will have the same silent advantage, meaning they won't scare off wildlife as much as loud combustion engines.
Even if you don't care for wildlife, you may be surprised to hear how powerful EVs are. According to
MotorBiscuit, EVs produce a high amount of torque. To grossly oversimplify, a combustion engine's torque is anchored to the performance of the gearbox and clutch.
EV's don't need these parts, and can achieve full torque potential as soon as it begins to move. This makes ascending steep inclines much easier and smoother with an EV engine.
What brands are designing off-road EVs?
EVs have the potential to revolutionize off-roading, perhaps more so than city driving. This has drawn the attention of both young and established car companies.
Rivian is a newer EV company focused on trucks and vans. Specifically,the
R1T model is for outdoor adventures. Since the parts required for an electric engine are far smaller than those needed for a combustion engine, the R1T has far more cargo space than old-fashioned trucks. The space under the hood is more of a cargo area instead of housing for parts.
But Rivian is not alone in making an EV for the outdoor enthusiast. Jeep has a prototype Magneto Wrangler that should be hitting showrooms in the next few years. Ford is planning to start delivering the all-electric F-150 Lightning in the next few months. And Volkswagen is developing a fully electric Amarok.
Downsides of off-roading in an EV
Of course, off-roading EVs will have their tradeoffs. The biggest is refueling. For the serious off-roader and explorer, they could bring gas cans to keep the party going all day and night. That won't be an option for EV off-roaders, making overlanding an impossibility.
But the biggest limitation to off-roading in an EV is simply the lack of availability of vehicles. Rivian and Ford won't start delivering their EVs until later this spring. The official release date for the Jeep Magneto and Tesla Cyber Truck is to be determined. While off-roading in an EV offers a lot of promise, it is still a few years away from being easily accessible to the masses.
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