Truck No. 2,277 is the primary EV to cross the end line at a King of the Hammers occasion.

Nicole Dreon

Final week marked the primary time an electrical car ran within the King of the Hammers off-road occasion in Johnson Valley, California. Racer Kyle Seggelin and his crew completed the Each Man Problem in truck No. 2,277, a Toyota 4Runner with the powertrain from a Nissan Leaf EV.

The 4Runner/Leaf rig was constructed by Seggelin and his crew. It began the race with two 20-kilowatt-hour batteries, sufficient to get it to the primary pit cease some 17.5 miles away. There, the crew swapped out these batteries for the 62-kWh pack discovered within the Leaf Plus — a course of that took a mere seven minutes.

The important thing to rapidly swapping batteries? Customized-built sliders. The crew divided the battery packs into sections, every weighing roughly 200 kilos. They match securely into the sliders and related to the electrical motor with a big, high-voltage connection, and one or two smaller Molex connectors, relying on the pack dimension. All of the crew needed to do was disconnect, slide the packs out after which reverse the method. Straightforward peasy.

Whereas Seggelin and his co-driver, his sister Dahlia Seggelin, have been out on the subsequent 55 miles with the bigger 62-kWh battery, the crew charged the unique, smaller batteries with a 12,000-watt generator. 

It was on this 55-mile part of the race course that the camaraderie of off-road racing actually shined. One other crew’s crew requested Seggelin to hold some components out to their rig, which was stopped about 5 miles outdoors of pits. The KOH guidelines state that there isn’t any pitting outdoors of designated areas, however rivals may help one another. However earlier than Seggelin received to his fallen foe, his energy steering went south. Seggelin seen that the opposite crew’s device bag had the half he wanted: a easy bolt. Not figuring out what was fallacious with the competitor’s rig, he took a danger and used the opposite crew’s half anyway.

Celebratory champagne on the end line. 

Nicole Dreon

Displaying true sportsmanship, the opposite driver was prepared to surrender his race in favor of his competitor ending, till Seggelin seen that the opposite rig simply wanted a heim joint to get going. As soon as once more, the device bag offered the answer, and each vehicles have been capable of make repairs on the path.

The 4Runner, nonetheless, was additionally working on three-wheel drive because of a damaged entrance axle, and Seggelin stated his truck misplaced energy a couple of instances. The crew made the second battery swap in underneath 10 minutes, however in all, it took him 7 hours, 42 minutes, 9 seconds to complete the 91-mile lap. Preliminary knowledge evaluation exhibits that the truck received extra vary than the anticipated 1 mile for every kWh of juice, however the crew will not know the precise figures till they actually dig into the computer systems.

Seggelin was in a category of 1 within the Each Man Problem, solely needing to complete the primary desert-focused lap of the race to take the rostrum. Subsequent yr he and his crew want to return in a tube chassis EV with twin motors, strong axles and kit reductions to essentially get probably the most out of the ability plant. He’d prefer to see different rivals deliver electrical rivals, as nicely, together with main automotive producers.

“If a few guys in a storage with a junkyard Leaf and a 30-year-old hand-me-down truck can do it,” Seggelin stated, “what’s stopping the auto trade from giving us some competitors?”