Volkswagen of America has announced its entry to the 2021 Rebelle Rally, an all-women off-road navigation rally raid in the United States. But instead of a proper off-road ready baja/pick-up truck, VW has instead opted to participate in the 2,500 km rally with their newly-launched ID.4 fully-electric SUV.
Now, obviously, bringing a bone stock ID.4 to the deserts in Nevada will be – in simple terms – pushing it, so VW America turned to Rhys Millen Racing and Tanner Foust to modify the EV SUV into a capable off-road racer.
Starting life off as a regular ID.4 AWD PRO, the Rebelle Rally challenger is given a new suspension set-up with better wheel articulation and travel to take on the rougher terrains of the desert. There’s also the new chunkier tubular control arms, alongside custom-fabricated skid plates and additional underbody battery protection to withstand the elements.
The electric powertrain and battery itself however, were left as-is from the production model. The all-wheel drive Volkswagen ID.4 will be powered by a pair of electric motors, one on each axle, to make a combined 220 kW (295 hp) and 460 Nm of torque.
Power comes from an 89 kWh battery pack, which is enough for a range of 400 km according to the EPA test cycle. Though of course, with this being a race (a rally through the desert, mind you), expect to see a much lower figure on the rally race car than that.
Completing the set of modifications are the OZ Racing alloy wheels, off-road tires, and a Thule roof rack that holds a spare tire and other accessories. The rally-prepped Volkswagen ID.4 was also given a fresh decal wrap, specifically designed by Salt Lake City-based artist Liz Kuz to make it stand out in the desert.
The Rebelle Rally will run from 7th to 16th October, and Volkswagen of America’s entry, Team #211, will be driven by freelance automotive journalist Mercedes Lilienthal, and assisted by co-driver/navigator Emily Winslow.
As per the rules of the rally, competitors will not be able to use phones, or any GPS tech for their navigation, so it should be quite a spectacle to watch the teams navigate the vast Nevada deserts. Want to cheer them on? You can keep track of Lilienthal and Winslow’s progress in the VW ID.4 throughout the entire event on Rebelle Rally’s website here.