The Rebelle Rally, a unique off-road competition known for its use of traditional navigation tools like paper maps and compasses, recently made history by hosting its first all-electric vehicle (EV) champion. The victorious team drove a 2023 Rivian R1T, marking a significant milestone in the event’s history.
The Rally, now in its eighth year, spans a challenging 2,120-kilometer course, where all-women teams compete against rugged terrain and unpredictable conditions. Lilly Macaruso, behind the wheel of the Rivian R1T, and navigator Alex Anderson clinched first place in the 4×4 class. Remarkably, the Rivian R1T, affectionately named “Timmy” by its team, underwent minimal modifications, with only tire changes to enhance its performance. However, the team did make some interior adjustments to stay organized during the intense competition.
The Rebelle Rally has evolved into more than just a motorsport event; it’s also a testing ground for Rivian, an electric vehicle startup. Since 2020, the company has sponsored teams in the Rally, using the feedback to fine-tune their EVs. This feedback-driven approach has led to the development of features such as “sand mode” and a new software update that provides real-time data on the vehicle’s performance, proving the Rally’s instrumental role in shaping Rivian’s offerings.
Charging EVs in such an off-road competition is a complex challenge due to the remote nature of the course. To address this, the Rally has formed partnerships with companies like Pennzoil for traditional fuel and Renewable Innovations for green hydrogen.
Renewable Innovations supplies DC fast chargers for the Rally, and a significant recent change saw them transition from using diesel generators to green hydrogen to power these chargers. This transition was the result of years of effort to establish the necessary infrastructure and secure an 800-kilogram supply of green hydrogen for the 10-day event.
Today, there are four charge points distributed strategically along the rally course for EV teams, providing a valuable lesson in sustainable energy solutions for remote locations.
The collaboration between the Rebelle Rally and companies like Rivian and Renewable Innovations highlights the ongoing integration of electric vehicles and sustainable energy solutions in motorsport. It sets a promising precedent for the future of eco-friendly racing and demonstrates the viability of clean energy sources even in the challenging, remote terrains of off-road competitions. This accomplishment not only showcases the capabilities of electric vehicles but also emphasizes the potential for renewable energy to power such events sustainably.