A couple of years ago, Hayden Paddon spotted an opportunity in rally driving, which he felt ran the risk of getting left behind as new, faster, greener technology was taking over the wider world of motorsport.

“Finding the way to move forward with EV technology is something we identify as being very important for the future of our sport, not only in New Zealand but globally,” explains Paddon.

“If the sport doesn’t respond, it will be left behind commercially and technologically compared to other motorsports.”

Despite the environmental advantages of an EV, Hayden admits he was motivated, first, by the exciting technical challenge and performance of an EV. “I like to go fast, and an EV is going to go faster than we’ve ever gone before.”


The performance of EVs is impressive

“I often get asked how the EV rally car compares to other cars I’ve driven,” says Hayden. “It is, to be honest, by far the best car I’ve driven. Not only from a performance and acceleration point of view, but even more so from the actual handling of the car. With such a low centre of gravity, the corner speed that we can carry in this car is far superior to what we’ve done before.” 

Range and technology has advanced

EV battery tech has evolved to a point where the typical range on a new vehicle is around 400km. He says that some of the things that make an EV great to drive are that they’re quieter, smoother and more relaxing to drive. “You feel a lot safer in these cars, because they’re so well designed with a low weight distribution.” 

And with no gears to work through, an EV is able to apply full power as soon as you touch the accelerator – and there’s no engine noise. They’re great hill climbers and regenerative braking means they recharge going downhill. 

The stability and handling of these cars is far superior. You have a very low center of gravity with the battery and all the weight in the middle of the car. What this means is it enhances the handling of the car tenfold."

Hayden Paddon

EVs are mechanically reliable

“The biggest thing that surprised us is how reliable the cars have been. There’s so few moving parts in the car that from a mechanical reliability point of view, we’ve had no problems.” Hayden says that would be "unheard of" when developing a combustion engine rally car.

Hayden says the things that used to make people hesitant about switching to an electric vehicle have largely been overcome.

“The way you use an EV, the way you charge it, the way you drive it, becomes second nature very quickly. Anyone that I know who owns an EV – they won’t go back.”

Gen Less is proud to partner with Hayden and share his EV rally journey.