When it comes to EVs and off-roading, the biggest obstacle is getting there. The big question is: does your vehicle have the highway range to get you out to the trail, and if not, is there charging infrastructure along the way to extend that range? That was a tall ask in Australia, where EV adoption is still quite low. But Dave had a few tricks up his sleeve.
“Even in some of the most remote communities, there's power. It doesn’t have to be a listed charge port on an app. Most communities have a space where they might hold a county fair. In all of those locations, there'll be three-phase industrial power available with which you can charge an electric car quite fast.”
Once you get to the trailhead, those range-related EV downsides become off-roading upsides. On the first full day spent off-roading “as slow as possible and as fast as necessary” in their Land Rover, the Daves used only 4% of their battery. Fun fact: That old beloved phrase is actually an old Land Rover catchphrase. They used to include it in their training manuals as a driving tip for navigating rocky terrain.
“At Fellten, we really latched onto that phrase because it’s our approach to driving, but it’s also your approach to our impact into the world that we are traveling in. When you off-road in an EV you’re removing the fumes that a traditional engine would create, but also you’re removing a lot of the potential impact that bringing extra fuel or oil for your engine could create. Finally, you’re removing much of the sound you introduce to wild spaces. It is very cool to be off-roading and to actually hear the birds squawking and the wind in the trees, and the water rushing. You get to more fully experience the world.”
The whole group enjoyed driving a leg of the trip in the EV, which had undeniable power out on the trail. The other vehicles in our convoy were mostly larger, heavily-modified manual four-wheel-drives. The EV was smaller in comparison, a little more maneuverable, and came with instant torque that never stalled.
“The great part of it is again, that it made off-roading so approachable for the less experienced folks. You just keep your foot on the throttle, hold it steady, and the car does the rest. We took that Landy up some impossible hills! To be able to do that without that fear that you might stall or roll backward created some magic first-timer moments.”