Tom Coronel's electric McRae BuggyEnlarge Photo
McRae Buggy and Tim Coronel are working on the first electric buggy for the 2012 Dakar Rally, and it finally got the chance to test in some real race conditions at the 2011 Spanish Baja, running as the opening car for the Super Special stage.
With a base weight of just 1,440 pounds for the McRae 4x2 buggy it's based on, the electric is designed to skitter across the dunes on its bug-like, long-travel suspension and rear-wheel drive. At 120 horsepower, it's not what you'd call powerful, but it delivers just 20 fewer horses than the gasoline-powered 4x2 buggy, and in the video, it looks like it's somewhere between a lot of fun and a handful.
The oddest aspect of the buggy is in the second video, though: the weirdly soothing sensation of watching a dune buggy do its high-speed work to the sound of nothing but the susurration of a shoreside rainstorm and shifting sands.