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Optima Unplugged was an electric-only, off-road rally at King of the Hammers

In an attempt to prove electric vehicles belong in the off-road world, Optima Batteries steamed up with DCE, Volta Power Systems, and Autel Energy to host the first-ever Optima Unplugged during the King of the Hammers race week in Johnson Valley, California. If you’ve never heard of “King of the Hammers,” it’s one of the largest and most prestigious off-road races in the country, if not the world. It’s hardly a place you’d expect to find a bunch of electric vehicles, but over 40 did attend the all-electric vehicle rally.

The event was a poker-run style rally and participants were able to explore Johnson Valley in their BEVs. In total, it was a 20-mile trail drive and the only requirement was that the vehicle had all-wheel drive — no other modifications were necessary. The entry-level, off-road adventure was led by professional drivers Tanner Foust, Christopher Polvoorde, and Michael Weiss. Autel Energy provided 2 DC fast chargers and Wallbox supplied 8 Level 2 chargers for the entire week at King of the Hammers, to anyone who needed to charge their electrified vehicles.

Along with the rally, Optima Unplugged also offered the opportunity to ride with Dave Cole in the world’s first fully-electric Ultra4 race car. Optima Batteries also displayed its 2022 SEMA Rivian R1S and R1T project vehicles, equipped with Power Stations trailers. Other vehicles on display and part of the rally include Tesla-swapped off-road vehicles and Tanner Foust’s off-road racing Volkswagen ID.4.

This was the inaugural electrified vehicle event at King of the Hammers, and something tells us there will be many more to come. Even if the hardcore off-road enthusiasts aren’t a fan of electrified vehicles.

“Bringing like-minded individuals together and helping the electrified community navigate the off-road world was our goal for this event, and that’s what being an enthusiast is all about,” said OPTIMA Batteries Director of Marketing Cam Douglass. “We can’t thank all of our partners and participants enough for taking this important first step with us. We’re excited to see how the EV off-road community develops over the coming years.”

Recent updates

Updated (6:44 pm EST, 02/14/2023): Clarified the number of DCFC and level 2 chargers.

Written by Jason Siu

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