Hybrids & Electrics

Are Electric SUVs Good for Off-Roading?

With the spiking interest in electric vehicles and hybrids, many manufacturers have begun ditching gasoline for even their most popular cars. We may have once known hybrids as slow, less desirable vehicles like the Toyota Prius, but things have changed drastically in the past decade. Even the most capable SUVs have taken up the option for electric-only drivetrains, but does that do anything to hurt their off-road capability?

Ever capable off-road options

Electric drivetrains have taken over the world of performance, and it was only a matter of time before they made their way into the world of off-road-oriented vehicles. While twenty years ago, classic Jeep fans may have scoffed at the idea of taking an electric vehicle off the pavement, we now know better. With the ability to have all-wheel-drive and instant torque provided by electric motors, electric SUVs might be the rising start in popular activities like mudding and overlanding.

The Ocean racing SUV is seen from the front passenger side. The modified platform has race decals and special fenders.
The Fisker Ocean electric racing SUV | Fisker Inc.

Less components to break

There are some great benefits to picking an electric vehicle to take off-roading. If you’ve ever been rock climbing or tried a risky trail, you know how important having a reliable vehicle is. While SUVs don’t typically have the same electric range as smaller cars, they also have a lot few components, and that means there is less you have to worry about breaking when you take your vehicle off-road.

The GMC Hummer EV is an all-electric pickup truck.
GMC Hummer EV | GMC

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If you are a driver who likes to take on wetter trails with puddles and mud, then you know there is one concern you don’t have to have with an electric motor: flooding the engine. Having an intake that comes out of the top of your car, called a snorkel, can relieve this problem in many engines, but it’s still a concern for standard combustion and even diesel engines.

The aftermarket sales of off-roading

The current biggest downside for picking an electric SUV as your off-road vehicle of choice is that they are very new. While Jeeps have been around for decades and have plenty of aftermarket support to enhance your trail-driving experience, newer vehicles like the electric GMC Hummer are so new that there aren’t many companies making off-road-oriented enhancements.

The Tesla Motors Inc. Model X sport utility vehicle (SUV) is driven during an event in Fremont, California, U.S. | David Paul Morris/Bloomberg, Getty Images

RELATED: Hyundai’s Santa Cruz Unibody Frame Doesn’t Stop It From Off-Roading

Regardless of the current lack in aftermarket support, electric vehicles will be taking off-road trails by storm, if they haven’t already. Very capable of providing the needed torque and all-wheel-drive layout so crucial to successfully driving the path less taken, there is no reason why electric cars won’t dominate off the road as much as they have on it.