In Austria, the hills are alive with the sound of whirring electric motors and tires squealing on pavement, as electric cars are silently motoring through the mountains in the Silvretta Electric Car Rally.
The event, held in the Montafon region of Austria, coincides with a major classic car show that attracts car enthusiasts from all over the Alps. The second annual Silvretta E-Rally started earlier today and ends Friday, and promises to truly test the limits of the participating electric vehicles.
Unlike many EV races, this one isn’t about speed. Instead, the winning entrant will successfully navigate 185 miles of mountainous roadway with grades of up to 14 percent on a course with a total altitude difference of 3.4 miles. Once the cars are in the hills, they’ll also undergo speed and time trials. Luckily, the region is also home to Project Vlotte, a major infrastructure project that has already installed 32 EV charging stations in that mountainous region of Austria.
If an EV can make it here, it will make it nearly anywhere. And if things don’t go so well, at least drivers will have a gorgeous view of the Montafon Valley while waiting for a flatbed to show up.
This year’s Silvretta E-Rally is nearly twice as long a course as last year’s course, when the Audi E-Tron emerged victorious. This year, rival Daimler is fielding seven entrants, hoping to claim E-Rally supremacy.
While their team will include electric Smart Fortwos and Mercedes A-Classes, plus hydrogen fuel cell Mercedes B-Class F-Cells fresh from the F-Cell World Rally, we’d put our money on the fantastic AMG SLS E-Cell concept. Daimler says the concept’s performance in the rally will be a good indicator of what customers can expect when the electric gullwing goes on sale in 2013.