Volkswagen has teamed up with Rhys Millen Racing to enter one of the all-electric utility vehicles in the five-day Norra 1000 race in Baja, Mexico.
It’s not in it to win it, but to test the durability of the electric drivetrain.
The four-door has been modified with a roll cage, chassis reinforcements and an updated suspension that delivers seven inches of wheel travel, which is far less than most of the modern and classic vehicles also taking part in the race.
the ID.4 features a rear-wheel-drive, rear-motor layout, which gives it something in common with the Baja Bugs that have been racing on the peninsula for over a half-century.
Along with aiming to get the most miles possible out of its battery pack, that means the vehicle won’t be setting any speed records on the 1,141-mile course, 893 miles of which are off-road.
A VW spokesman said the typical pace on the first day was 20-25 mph, but that the ID.4, which is being co-driven by Tanner Foust and Emme Hall, hit 95 mph on a flat lake bed. Its finishing time of five hours and 25 minutes over the 168-mile stage was about two and a half hours behind the leader.
The team’s goal is to cover approximately 98% of each stage without the need to recharge and truck with a portable charger is being employed to top it off along the route.
The vehicle required a lengthy recovery from deep sand on day 2, however, and failed to meet the minimum time for the course.
Electric truckmaker Lordstown Motors encountered some difficulties recently when it entered one of its Endurance pickups in the San Felipe 250 in Baja, but was unable to reach its charging points and complete the full distance due to using more energy than expected in the terrain.
VW has not announced plans for an off-road version of the ID.4. but will be adding an all-wheel-drive version to the lineup later this year.