In its 44-year history, the Baja 1000 off-road race has been about speed, sand and full throttle. This coming November, the legendary race will also be about instant torque and low or zero emissions -- at least, for some of the drivers. A new vehicle class, Ultra Green, will allow electric and hybrid rigs into the fold this year for the first time. And Jeffrey Smith, an experienced Baja racer, is hoping to win the new class with a fully electric vehicle, reports New York Times' Wheels blog.
Smith has assembled a team of EV experts to design a vehicle with 400 horsepower and 600 pound-feet of torque. The chassis was made by Strategic Racing Designs. The drivetrain is the handiwork of EV West, which built an EV racer for the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, a 12-mile course with 4,700 feet of elevation gain. EVs perform well on this course, compared to gas-powered vehicles, which begin to struggle in the thin air of the 14,110-foot peak.
So what does all this mean to you? It means that some day, the rumble and the smell of dirt bikes on your favorite mountain bike trail will be replaced by the whirl of electric motors.