BorgWarner engineers have concocted an interesting brew of EV powertrains and off-road buggy lunacy, taking the form of an Ariel Nomad that uses an electric drive system and a bank of lithium ion batteries to power its rear wheels.
Under normal circumstances, you’d expect to find a 2.4-litre K24 Honda engine tuned to be producing around 175kW and 300Nm, but instead there are two high-voltage ‘Hairpin’ electric motors for a combined output of 200kW and a bag-load more torque.
The German engineering firm selected the Nomad for EV conversion as the British-built buggy is/was probably the most fun you can have without a roof on four wheels, but also due to its exposed tubular structure allowing them to quickly install or remove components.
“Our new high-voltage demonstration vehicle illustrates BorgWarner’s leadership in electrification and gives us a fantastic tool to showcase our extensive capabilities, collaborate with industry partners and evaluate BorgWarner’s current and future technology at a system-level. We will continue to embrace projects such as this EV demonstration vehicle that help us validate next-generation products and, ultimately, propel the industry toward a cleaner, more energy-efficient world.” - Hakan Yilmaz, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, BorgWarner Inc.
Having an electric motor be responsible for spinning each of its rear wheels also gives it unique torque vectoring capabilities that the standard Nomad isn’t able to match. In fact, before reaching the wheel, the motor’s output is delivered through two eDriveGear sets, allowing for torque multiplication, finer manipulation of power delivery, and greater durability of the drive unit itself.
These motors draw power from a liquid-cooled 350V pack of batteries amounting to 30kWh in energy capacity, which is impressive given how compact the Nomad is and also because they’ve obviously had to creatively package these power cells to avoid lopsided weight distribution.
Figures such as 0-100km/h times and estimated maximum range are not disclosed by BorgWarner (in fairness, they might not know themselves), but we suspect the former to be an improvement over the standard Nomad’s 3.6 seconds despite the inevitable weight gain from the EV conversion, while range could be in excess of 250km.
The team took a mere 6 months to complete its work on the all-electric buggy and has since been testing it (most likely) in the muddy woods around their North American facility in Auburn Hills, Michigan. Unfortunately, despite how finished and market-viable the EV Nomad seems, BorgWarner insists that it will remain a one-off research and demonstration vehicle.
Time for someone else to take up the challenge of selling these. We’ve got a feeling there are keen buyers out there.