Alpha JAX is the all-electric rally car of your safari fantasies
Alpha Motor Corporation seems determined to make a name for itself in small, unique electric cars. After launching just last November, the company is already previewing its fourth planned electric vehicle, and like the others, the new JAX doesn't look anything like the electric sedans, crossovers and pickup trucks the big guys are floating out there. Instead, Alpha uses its creative startup energy to prepare a small, adventure-ready rally car with dual-motor all-wheel electric drive.
The world doesn't know Alpha Motor Corp too well just yet, but it's certainly learning that the California startup is a rather prolific press release and rendering maker. After announcing its launch and teasing its ICON EUV multi-purpose vehicle in November, it resurfaced in December to introduce the cute-as-a-button ACE coupe, and again in January to add an ACE Performance Edition. Here we are a month later, and another Alpha Motor vehicle – or an early look at what could turn into a vehicle, anyway.
We'll start to believe more in Alpha's plans when it puts together a working prototype or two, but so far the startup has managed to capture our imagination with distinctive little EVs that stray from the mainstream. Looking at the ACE versus the JAX, it seems like Alpha might have spent some time staring into the exaggerated fender flares of its coupe, leading to an epiphany that the next model would be a 4x4 rally car.
Alpha calls the JAX a crossover – in fact, JAX stands for "Junior All-terrain Crossover (Xover)" – but the car shares little in common with the chunky, hatchbacked AWD soft-roader that has come to define that category across the auto industry. Instead, the JAX is more of a crossover between an ACE electric coupe and an Extreme E rally car. It stretches 380 mm (15 in) longer than the ACE to accommodate two rear seats and a pair of suicide doors.
Like the ACE Performance Edition, the JAX will have an optional dual-motor four-wheel-drive system, along with a front-wheel drive. With a 250-mile (402 km) 75-kWh lithium-ion battery, the JAX promises a healthy, though certainly not boundless, ability to venture off the beaten track. It's dressed up with all-terrain accoutrements like a bull bar, auxiliary lights, rooftop cargo basket and Nitto Trail Grappler MT 255/75R17 tires. Luggage that doesn't get hoisted onto the roof can find a home inside the frunk.
The JAX cockpit has a minimalist layout with a digital instrument panel behind the steering wheel, a central widescreen infotainment screen ... and not much of anything else. Alpha does promise a premium sound system with Bluetooth connectivity.
Alpha doesn't plan to launch its first actual car until "as early as 2023," but that isn't stopping it from offering reservations for the "vehicle specifications subject to change" JAX right now. It estimates base pricing between $38,000 and $48,000.
The video below basically just spins the Redwood green JAX rendering around, but narration by a proper-sounding Australian gives it that extra touch of authority.