Let’s face it, it’s going to be a while before we see electric vehicles capable of handling overland and adventure journeys. You need an electric SUV with impressive range to get to the Kaokoveld. But electric tech is already resulting in some pretty awesome adventure transport. Here are our top five electrified adventure toys.
For better or worse, electric seems to be the way of the future. Just about every vehicle manufacturer is betting big on electric vehicles, with many prominent brands promising full-electric vehicles by 2020. But how long, we can’t help but wonder, will it take until the hardcore 4×4 market is dominated by electric vehicles? Building a zippy little electric city car is one thing; building a heavy overlander than can be powered by sunlight and do 1 000km on a single charge is quite another. That said, some fun and interesting electric transportation solutions are already available to adventure enthusiasts. True, these aren’t long-distance solutions, but they can provide plenty of thrills if you like going fast and playing dirty. Moreover, they often allow you to go much faster than usual with a fraction of the effort.
5. Gratis X1
Here are two things that don’t often mix well: water and electricity. You might be surprised then, to discover that even water-based transport is going electric. A company called Free Form Factory is taking pre-orders on the world’s first electric jet ski. It is called the Gratis X1, and it can run for 45 minutes on a single charge. That’s okay, but not exactly mind-blowing. Also, the Gratis will cost $18 000 (R235 000) in the US, which is a lot for a jet ski; more than a top model from Sea-Doo. On the upside, though, the Gratis X1 is quiet and clean, and can be used on waterways where normal motors are prohibited.
4. Segway x2 SE
The Segway isn’t just for mall security guards. This is Segway’s rugged outdoor model, the x2 SE. Thanks to its robust design and rugged, grippy tyres, the x2 SE can go off the beaten path. The company website even has a picture of a camouflaged bow hunter stalking deer on the whisper-quiet x2 SE. That’s undoubtedly the manliest thing you can do on a Segway. In addition to those big tyres, this model also has cargo handles for your kit and a wider platform for some added stability. It has a top speed of 20km/h and can handle inclines of 20 degrees. It has a range of around 23km.
3. Boosted Board
Skateboards are fun if you’re going downhill or traversing flat terrain, but once you hit an incline, skateboarding becomes more effort than walking. Enter the Boosted Board: an electric longboard that can achieve a top speed of 35km/h and travel up inclines of 25 degrees. But it gets even better. The Boosted Board is operated with a hand-held remote that allows you to brake, something a regular skateboard is incapable of. So, it makes skateboarding up steep inclines manageable, and skating down steep ones survivable. It even has regenerative braking to improve range.
2. Rungu Electric Juggernaut
Any product with the word ‘juggernaut’ in its name undoubtedly means business. This is certainly the case with the Rungu Electric Juggernaut. If Mad Max had a mountain bike instead of a V8 Interceptor, this would be it. In fact, it isn’t even called a mountain bike. Instead, it is a “portable off-road electric vehicle”. It has pedals, of course, for those who enjoy having a huge amount of effort transformed into a smidgen of forward momentum. For sane people, it has a 2 000W motor and a throttle that provides a top speed of more than 30km/h. Two fat tyres at the front improve traction, and allow the bike to handle sand and mud.
1. Outrider Horizon
The Outrider Horizon is an electric trike built for ‘shredding’. It can get up to 64km/h, which in a light and low-slung little metal contraption is quite a lot. It can achieve this speed thanks to a lightweight construction that combines an electric motor, pedal power and a low centre of gravity. It doesn’t have the fat tyres of the Rungu, but a promotional video on the Outrider website shows the Horizon dealing successfully with streams, rocks, mud and long grass. It’s not easy to look cool when you’re lying semi-horizontal on a trike, but who cares when you’re also barging down a rocky hill at 60km/h?
Text: GG van Rooyen