When the Mexican 1000 Rally kicks off on April 25th, Volkswagen’s new ID.4 SUV will be one of the cars competing in the grueling 1,141-mile off-road race. Professional driver Tanner Foust and Rhys Millen Racing have modified VW’s EV to drive across the Baja peninsula. While the ID.4 won’t be the first EV to take part in the Mexican 1000 Rally (the SRI EV1 earned that distinction back in 2013), it will be the first production-based one to do so. Rhys Millen Racing left the stock 201-horsepower electric motor and 82kWh battery in place. What it tweaked to make the car race-ready was the suspension. It raised the radiator, added rally-style coil-over struts and steel skid-plates to the underside of the car. They also fitted 18-inch wheels, as well as tires with more sidewall protection.
Additionally, they modified the car’s interior to add a roll cage, racing seats and additional screens so Foust can monitor things like battery temperature. When it comes to recharging the power cell out in the desert, the team will use a portable biofuel generator to power a 50kW fast charger. During the loop event, they plan to try and finish about 98 percent of the stages without stopping to recharge.
As EVs have become a more frequent sight on public roads, they’re also racing more often. It’s not just Formula E running competitions anymore either. This year, Extreme E held its first-ever off-road race, with a field made entirely of electric vehicles. And this year’s Mexican 1000 likely won’t be the last time you’ll see Foust and company drive an EV in the rally. He said the team already has “several ideas of what we’d like to do next year.”
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