Tuesday, May 14, 2013

An Electric Off-Road Racer: 535 Horsepower and Something to Prove

On the Mexican 1000

Recharging the EV1 took 4.5 hours. (SRI photo)

Think about it: Is an electric car the ideal vehicle for an historic 1,200-mile no-holds-barred off-road race through Mexico's rugged Baja Peninsula early this month? Probably not, except for Jeff Smith, founder of the non-profit Strategic Recovery Institute (SRI). He used the the NORRA Mexican 1000, with a history dating to 1967, to prove what electric vehicles can do.

The SRI EV1 is certainly a fearsome beast, with 535 horsepower (400 kilowatts) and 750 foot-pounds of torque from its pair of NetGain Warp 9 motors. No gas tank, but it carries 138 CALB 3.3-volt prismatic batteries adding up to 82 kilowatt hours and 100-mile range. It looks like, well, a dune buggy on steroids.

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