OPTIMA Explores The Off-Road Potential Of EVs At King Of The Hammers

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Premium automotive battery manufacturer OPTIMA is pushing into the electric vehicle game with a new event as the prestigious King of the Hammers off-road extravaganza.

OPTIMA Unplugged was held on February 10th, 2023 in Johnson valley, California which brought together several dozen electric vehicles kitted out for off-roading adventures. The curated event took attendees in their electric vehicles through a curated off-road course to show off the potential of electric vehicles in the dirt and to explore the modifications owners have made to their vehicles to date.

The event was sponsored by OPTIMA, DCE, Volta Power Systems and Autel Energy. It was one of the first events focused on bringing together electric vehicle off-roading enthusiasts and helped raise awareness for the capabilities of EVs. Off-roading and electric vehicles initially seem like distant bedfellows but on closer inspection the new powertrains and technologies ushered in with electric vehicles make them well-suited for the dirt.

Image courtesy: OPTIMA

The event was open to any all-wheel drive electric vehicles and as an entry-level trail, didn’t require special modifications to participate. OPTIMA and team brought in guides Tanner Foust, Christopher Polvoorde and Michael Weiss to help usher attending electric vehicle owners through the course. “Bringing like-minded individuals together and helping the electrified community navigate the off-road
world was our goal for this event, and that’s what being an enthusiast is all about,” said OPTIMA Batteries Director of Marketing Cam Douglass.

Charging for the electric vehicles was provided throughout the event by 8 level 2 chargers provided by Wallbox and 2 DC fast chargers provided by Autel Energy. They brought a range of level 2 chargers to the event to provide constant power to the electric vehicles as they needed it. Combustion vehicle owners looking to play in the dirt are used to carrying jerry cans full of fuel and even increasing the size of the onboard gasoline tanks to extend their range but electric vehicles bring new challenges.

For events like OPTIMA Unplugged, bringing in charging stations and utilizing temporary setups is necessary, but charging must be a part of any plan to get out exploring. Fast chargers along intersecting highways can fill the gaps and this will get even easier as more stations are added. Rivian is building out its Adventure Network to provide level 2 and level 3 charging in strategic areas to enable more adventures, but for now, it is only available for Rivian owners. Solar and batteries have potential to bring chargers into areas with no grid connectivity and have the potential to provide a proverbial oasis of electrons in charging deserts.

Image courtesy: OPTIMA

The OPTIMA Unplugged event was intended to push the limit of electric vehicles and determine what their capabilities were in near-stock condition in off-road environments. “We are proud to play a role in bringing together everyday EV owners and the extreme off-road racing world to promote responsible and sustainable practices in the off-road racing industry,” Clarios Vice President of Communications Tom Downie said.

The new range of technologies that is being brought to bear in electric vehicles presents some new challenges and opportunities in extreme environments like off-roading. Electric vehicles have yet to penetrate the rock crawling over landing and even medium duty off-roading space but companies like OPTIMA, Wallbox, and Autel Energy are helping to catalyze the transition.

Image courtesy: OPTIMA

Most of the electric vehicles in attendance were Rivians this year, but there were a handful of other electric vehicles braving the dust in search of adventure. The future is exciting and with the support of so many companies and events like this one, the future is definitely electric. Increasingly that future is now.

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Kyle Field

I'm a tech geek passionately in search of actionable ways to reduce the negative impact my life has on the planet, save money and reduce stress. Live intentionally, make conscious decisions, love more, act responsibly, play. The more you know, the less you need. As an activist investor, Kyle owns long term holdings in Tesla, Lightning eMotors, Arcimoto, and SolarEdge.

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