How an off-road rally for women keeps EVs rolling using clean energy

It’s not often a motorsports event puts an emphasis on sustainability. Then again, the Rebelle Rally isn’t your average motorsports event. Instead of being based on speed, the Rebelle is all about precise navigation. 

Over eight days of competition, teams of two drive street-legal vehicles to 20 or so checkpoints each day, all off-road and without using GPS. The teams plot latitude and longitude points on a topographical map and figure out a way to get to those checkpoints using only analog tools: a scale ruler; a plotter to determine the heading; and a compass. Checkpoints might be marked by a flag but often they are not marked at all, leaving teams to triangulate their location. 

Oh, and the Rebelle Rally just happens to be for women only.

Founder Emily Miller wanted to bring a motorsports challenge to life where women have the opportunity to participate even with little to no experience. Now in its eighth year, the rally attracts participants from all walks of life. There are engineers, lawyers, CEOs, moms, and yes, some race car drivers. Regardless of their profession, all share a love of adventure and a competitive spirit.

Since 2020, the Rebelle has fielded electric vehicles

Since 2020, the Rebelle has fielded electric vehicles. It started the first two years with yours truly piloting a Rivian R1T along with my trusty navigator, Rebecca Donaghe. We brought the truck, but we let Miller solve the problem of charging the vehicle in remote locations for over a week. 

The easiest way would be to just use a diesel generator to charge. The hard way — the better way — would be to use sustainable hydrogen to keep the EVs rolling along the course. 

Rebelle Rally day two on October 15th, 2023.
Photo by Ernesto Araiza / Rebelle Rally

Off-grid power

This is where Renewable Innovations comes in. Founded by hydrogen industry leader Robert Mount, this Utah-based company is dedicated to bringing green power solutions to the most isolated parts of the world. The company has developed two Mobile Energy Command (MEC) systems to deliver sustainable power to the Rebelle Rally.

The rally has two problems to solve. First, it has to deliver clean energy to the myriad electric vehicles competing in the event. It also has to bring sustainable power to each of the three base camps. 

To solve the first problem, Renewable Innovations built the MEC-Hydrogen, or MEC-H. In 2023, there are four Rivian R1T trucks and a Ford Mustang Mach-E Rally competing that need power both at base camp and on-course. Additionally, there are four Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 4xe plug-in hybrids to be juiced up every night. The MEC-H gets it all done with green hydrogen. 

What is green hydrogen, anyway?

Hydrogen is classified based on its extraction method. Gray hydrogen, created with natural gas,…