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First Electric Off-Roader Racing in Baja

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On: Wed, May 1, 2013 at 5:23PM | By: Chris Weiss

First Electric Off-Roader Racing in Baja

The National Off Road Racing Association (we'll call 'em NORRA from now on) announced last week that for the first time ever an all-electric off-road vehicle would race in its Mexican 1000 hot rod race, which is underway now. The rally, which is open to vintage and alternatively fueled vehicles, provides an interesting test bed for EVs, which suffer from range issues and performance problems in extreme weather - say 1,200 miles of hot, mouth-cottoningly dry desert in Baja. The SR1 EV1 truly has its work cut out for it. 

Designed by SRI, SRD and EV West, the EV1 is a 535-hp buggy that uses dual nine-inch Netgaain WarP motors to twist out 750 lb-ft of torque. The motors arecontrolled via Evnetics Soliton 1 high-performance controllers and power is sent through a Mendeola S4D sequential gearbox. Motor power comes from dual 69-cell China Aviation Lithium Batteries "hot swap" packs. When combined with the 4-cell battery pack dedicated to lighting and electronics, the car rolls out of the garage with enough electricity to power an average house for a week.

Given the battery life-range issues that all EVs face, the EV1 team didn't get too ambitious. It was never angling at the entire 1,200-mile rally, but said prior to the start of the race that it would complete all three special stages on day 1 and continue on with the special stages that fall within its range for the remaining three days. Its plans do include the final "Secret Stage" on day 4.

The greater Mexican 1000 rally is made up of individual special stages run over the course of 4 days. Each stage is defined by GPS directions provided by NORRA but has no physical markings. NORRA says that the event gives the SR1 team the chance to demonstrate the EV's capabilities thanks to its rally-style structure, which deviates from the typical non-stop Baja endurance events.

"This is a monumental undertaking that has been 18 solid months in the making," explained Strategic Recovery Institute (SRI) founder Jeffrey Smith."Our entire team is excited about what we are stepping forward to do. We are confident that our upcoming Mexican 1000 capabilities demonstrationwill generate future battery sponsorship to allow the ability to 'hot swap' multiple battery packs and complete entire races in the near future."

SRI's long-term goal is to build a vehicle that can travel 100 miles between battery swaps, go 125 mph, and have the endurance to travel 1,200 continuous miles on the world's roughest terrain.


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