Here are 10 electric off-roaders
Because where we're going, we don't need roads. Might need a battery charge, mind
“A truck built for whatever you call a road. Your electric adventure awaits,” reads the Rivian website on its all-electric R1T pickup. Might seem slightly superficial, but when you dig into the nitty-gritty you realise just how capable this thing is.
Rivian claims its 14.9 inches of ground clearance, over three feet wading capability, and 100 per cent gradient rock crawling ability means it can traverse just about any terrain, while four permanent-magnet electric motors (two at the front and two at the rear) can individually vector torque completely to either side to get you out of any sticky situations.
And it’s not short of power, outputting 835bhp and a monstrous 900lb ft plus of torque. Then there’s the 0-60mph time of 3.0 seconds – on perfectly smooth tarmac at least – but limiting this thing to on-road use only would be a sore waste of its talents.Advertisement - Page continues below
GMC Hummer EV
Billed as the “the ultimate off-road EV supertruck”, the Hummer EV measures eighteen feet long, six and a half feet high, more than seven feet wide and weighs more than four tonnes.
Big claim, big sized, but then again, big pedigree. The Hummer for the electric era gets 1,000bhp from three e-motors, 11,500lb ft of torque, and a reported range of around 350 miles. More pertinent to any off-road pursuits, however, are the 37-inch tyres and a “CrabWalk” feature that points the front and rear wheels in the same direction, for any nimble manoeuvres.
GM claims the Hummer can wade through over 600mm of water and scale “18-inch verticals”, making it the Alsatian of the off-road EV world. This thing will take some beating, that’s for sure.
Fisker Force E
Based on Fisker’s Ocean electric SUV, the Ocean Force E is an all-terrain, all-conquering, go anywhere off-roader that has got plenty of people talking.
It gets the standard Ocean SUV’s dual motor, all-wheel drive set-up, but adds 20-inch reinforced wheels wrapped in 33-inch all-terrain tyres, a full-length titanium underbody plate, skid plates front and rear, and increased ground clearance for traversing any terrain.
Inside, it also gets rubber floor mats, extra grab handles for clinging on to, and additional tie-down points for strapping any precious cargo to.Advertisement - Page continues below
Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo
Bet you weren’t expecting to see a Porsche on this list – but hear us out. Because while the Taycan Cross Turismo is, at first glance, a regular Taycan given the Audi Allroad treatment and a bigger boot, dig a little deeper and its off-road credentials might just surprise you.
The eagle-eyed will have spotted the plastic body cladding, but it also gets adaptive air suspension plus a dedicated Gravel mode which raises the ride height and optimises the power delivery and traction control for any off-road pursuits. A rally stage, for example… as Ollie Marriage, head of car testing at TG, demonstrates here.
Otherwise, it’s largely identical to the Taycan saloon, a car we like very much indeed. Next stop: an all-electric 911 Dakar please, Porsche.
Here’s what we know so far. Inspired by the Jeep Wrangler, it gets a retractable roof and removable doors for the ultimate open air off-roading experience, while four-wheel drive, raised ground clearance and shortened front and rear overhangs should help avoid getting stuck in the mud. Those bright blue tow hooks give you all the encouragement you need to attempt to do so, mind.
There’s no powertrain specifics just yet, though we’re told battery packs of over 100kWh are in the pipeline for venturing further astray, and it’s set to arrive in Europe late 2024. Stay tuned.
Meet the Munro MK_1, a five seat, all-electric utility vehicle conceived, designed and built in Scotland.
The all-electric Defender rival promises to be every inch the utilitarian off-roader, thanks to ground clearance of 480mm, approach and departure angles of 84 and 51 degrees, and a wading depth of up to 800mm. Naturally, the back-to-basics interior is also completely waterproof for easy hosing down, while the load bay gets a rough and ready hardwearing plywood floor.
Prices start from £49,995 (excluding VAT), which gets you a range of up to 141 miles, a 295bhp electric motor, 443lb ft of torque and 61.2kWh battery. And it’s designed to last 50 years, apparently.
Mercedes-Benz EQC 4x4²
Back in 2020 Mercedes-Benz revealed an otherwordly version of its EQC electric SUV, a car known as the EQC 4x4² (squared?), to showcase the future of electric off-roading. Goes without saying that if this is what it looks like (just check out those flared wheelarches), count us in.
While the electric gubbins remain regular EQC (200+ miles of range/408bhp electric motor/80kWh battery), it rides twice as high, has portal axles, and wears 20-inch off-roading tyres, which all contribute to greatly improved approach/departure angles. Meanwhile, the power delivery has been retuned to make best use of all the off-road gubbins.
Sadly, the EQC 4x4² remains a one-off for now (though there is an electric Mercedes G-Class on the way), but that didn’t stop TG’s Tom Ford driving it up a mountain in Italy. Click these blue words to find out how he got on – and if he managed in his quest to get stuck.Advertisement - Page continues below
Nissan Ariya (Pole to Pole)
The Nissan Ariya isn’t a car we’d advise taking off road. Fortunately, this isn’t that. This is a customised Nissan Ariya, designed to transport husband and wife team Chris and Julie Ramsey from North to South Pole. That’s some 17,000 miles, in case you were wondering.
While the powertrain and battery remain completely standard, it gets plastic arch extensions, jacked-up long travel suspension, mammoth 39-inch off-road tyres, a drone launcher on the roof to enable the couple to document the journey, and – most importantly of all – a coffee machine in the boot.
Given the lack of, uh, charging infrastructure along the way, the couple, who set off on their expedition back in March, are also towing a portable, renewable energy unit that includes a lightweight wind turbine and solar panels. Sounds like the perfect camping set-up, we reckon…
Where the regular VW ID.4 is a little dull to look at and even duller to drive, the VW ID.XTREME is anything but, courtesy of its 3D printed widebody kit, front lightbar, rally suspension, and off-road wheels.
Built by Volkswagen’s development department using an old prototype ID.4 GTX (which gets an off-road ready dual motor all-wheel drive setup, remember), the XTREME isn’t all show and no go either, because total power output has been upgraded from 295bhp to a very healthy 377bhp. We’d expect an improvement on the GTX’s 0-62mph time of 6.3secs too, handy for making any quick escapes.
While it was initially unveiled as a concept back in late 2022, we’re told that it could apparently make production if demand is strong enough.Advertisement - Page continues below
OK, we’re sceptical that this one will ever make production, but what’s life without a little fun, eh? First revealed back in 2019, the Audi AI:Trail is an all-electric four-seat off-roader with a glass cabin similar to that of a helicopter to offer occupants a panoramic view of surroundings.
Measuring 4.15 metres long and 1.67 metres high, each 22in wheel (wearing 850mm tyres) gets its own individual motor with up to 430bhp/738lb ft of torque on tap, while it also offers 34cm of ground clearance and can cross rivers half a metre deep. Audi reckons on up to 300 miles on road and up to 155 miles off-road, due to the extra power required traversing difficult terrain.
It remains a concept only for now, but we could certainly envisage a future where these things exist in the real world. If you’re reading this in 100 years’ time, you heard it here first…