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2011-04-12 07:11

PROPER DOUBLE-CAB BAKKIE: Defence experts say electric vehicles will soon crowd the battlefield. Bremach does a lot of military contract work – which explains its T.Rex’s rather imposing styling.

Electric vehicles are much in vogue right now.

Tesla’s electric performance car, the Roadster, has been around for nearly four years now and Nissan’s Leaf is set to revolutionise the way people budget for personal transport expenses as it rolls out across global markets throughout 2011.

Hardcore off-road enthusiasts though, have been left out in the cold by this rampant vehicle electrification craze – of have they?

Italian badge, US built

Legendary Italian heavy-duty off-road custom vehicle manufacturer, Bremach, has now revealed an all electric drive version of its T.Rex – sure to appeal to those who like to enjoy the great outdoors without contributing to its demise by virtue of their motorised transport of choice.

A project completed by the Italian company’s Californian division, T.Rex EV combines all the ruggedness associated with Bremach’s heritage of emergency (and military) service vehicles in an electrified package.

Running on a robust spaceframe chassis (with a reinforced cab able to withstand 5g of vertical shock), the all electric T.Rex uses a prismatic-shaped, lithium-ion battery pack (producing 150kW/h) to power three electric motors to a peak of 200kW. Drive is via a four-speed GM-sourced automatic transmission, with 4:1 reduction ratio gearing for off-road work.

With the T.Rex featuring hydraulically lockable centre- and rear-axle differentials, off-road ability is prodigious. Ground clearance is adequate at 290mm and with solid-axles both front and rear, it will take a concerted effort and a series of serious errors of judgement to get T.Rex EV stuck.

Heavy-duty off-road vehicles always struggle with braking issues on-road, due to their mass and load-bearing tyre design. With its light (yet strong) space frame chassis construction, the T.Rex is able to run SUV-sourced Brembo brake rotors (290mm front, 306mm rear) and four-channel Bosch controlled ABS, which should ensure class-leading stoppage times even when burdened close to its 3.8t load capacity. 

Amazingly, Bremach claims its T.Rex EV has an operational range of 250km, even when loaded to capacity or operating over severely broken terrain – which sounds a little too good to be true.

Bremach refuses to release full details concerning its electric drive system (ostensibly developed in-house using proprietary technology), but will happily charge you R1m for one of its T.Rex EVs.


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