Aug 29, 2022 - Business

The hottest cars at the Overland Expo: EVs

The GMC Hummer EV Pickup at the Overland Expo Mountain West in Loveland. Photo: John Frank/Axios
The GMC Hummer EV pickup at the Overland Expo Mountain West in Loveland. Photo: John Frank/Axios

The hottest vehicles at the Overland Expo in Colorado didn't boast 35-inch knobby tires, supercharger engines or 12,000 pounds of towing capacity.

  • Nope, the most eye-catching cars at a festival that celebrates motor-excess didn't even run on fossil fuels.

The intrigue: Electric vehicles built with off-road capabilities are catching the attention of the community least likely to adopt them β€” those who off-road and overland for whom going beyond range is the goal.

State of play: The Overland Expo, a cross-country exhibit that showcases adventure vehicles and gear for getting off-grid, drew roughly 10,000 to Loveland for a three-day festival.

Of the dozens of trucks, SUVs, vans and motorbikes, electric vehicles stole the show.

  • The GMC Hummer EV Pickup displayed a tent over the truck bed, 11.9 inches of clearance and a 350-mile range.
  • The Rivian R1T and R1S β€” the latter on display for one of the first times β€” drew even more attention for its rounded lines that still boast rock-crawling ability at up to 320 miles of range.

What they're saying: "There's a lot of people in overland who want to go this way and be more respectful of the environment," said Travis Wiest, national sales manager at Dometic, a gear company that helped Rivian design its interior to fit off-road equipment.

The other side: Plenty of diesel-driving gawkers scoff at the idea of an electric vehicle on gnarly terrain, such as Colorado's Imogene Pass or Alpine Loop. The questions of durability, longevity and range still need to be overcome.

  • As he admired the vehicle at the Expo, even Wiest acknowledged: "It's still not feasible for long range."
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