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Discussion Starter #1
Another thread got me to thinking about what would be needed for a truly "trail ready" offroad EV, basically and "electric Jeep" if you'll pardon my bias.

Since my Cherokee is about 90% stock I don't do the highly technical trails but I have braved some pretty challenging locations before and feel like I have a decent grasp of the requirements that an "off-road-electric-vehicle" (EREV) would need to meet but now that I've started playing with the concept I'd love to hear what others think.
 

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I think any electrification of SUVs will initially be done with the typical SUV user in mind, noting that the vast majority of SUVs never leave paved roads. How suitable those are for rough off road, and what aftermarket modifications would be helpful will probably be up to the enthusiast community to discover.
 

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An off-road electric vehicle has to be designed literally from the ground up. The chassis and suspension must be done first, then the powertail and parts location. The battery is special because it must sit low to keep the vehicle stable, but it must also be protected. The body and the rest can be whatever the owner wants it to be.

A gas engine off-road vehicle can be converted to electric as it already has the basics done by the manufacturer.
 

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Nikola Zero probably fits the bill. It has a powerful generator that can fully charge it in 2 hours.

Bottom line is a trail vehicle should have some way to get unlimited range but not be overburdened with batteries. What if you want to drive to a remote area? A generator like that could support several vehicles. Take 6 zeros to a remote area with two hauling generators, others carrying fuel.
 

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For off road then, electric drive yes but BEV no.

A series hybrid in trail mode would be a huge improvement over low range that is used today. The torque of an electric motor at near zero RPM is vastly superior to any torque converter or slipping clutch when barely moving while traversing some object. Best would be serial/parallel hybrid with parallel being available for highway driving. There are no charging locations in places with low population density on road or off so I wouldn't want BEV for a Jeep type application.
 

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Discussion Starter #10

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Unfortunately, I'm not sure "trail ready", "SUV", and "BEV" are compatible given current technology. Off roading is about the most challenging BEV scenario one could one up with.

A true trail machine needs to be light weight and current battery tech is heavy. A BEV relies on superior aerodynamics for range and the typical SUV profile with ample ground clearance is anything but aerodynamic. The torque is there, the suspension is there to carry the weight, but I think you're going to be up to your axels in mud/snow/sand pretty quickly. That's assuming there is any range left by the time you actually got to the trailhead. I'm not expecting a supercharger halfway down the Rubicon Trail until at lest 2018 ;-)

Perhaps a Mr. Fusion, three cases of beer and a banana peel will solve it one day.
 
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