Automotive

Amphibious Fat pickup lugs supplies through mud, blizzard and water

Amphibious Fat pickup lugs sup...
While the original Fat Truck is optimized for carrying people, the new 2.8 P is designed to carry a 2,200-lb payload
While the original Fat Truck is optimized for carrying people, the new 2.8 P is designed to carry a 2,200-lb payload
View 12 Images
The Fat Truck pickup won't challenge the well-established North American pickup leaders, but it's a unique tool for a specific set of requirements
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The Fat Truck pickup won't challenge the well-established North American pickup leaders, but it's a unique tool for a specific set of requirements
The Fat Truck 2.8 P features a two-part front hatch for entry and exit
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The Fat Truck 2.8 P features a two-part front hatch for entry and exit
While the original Fat Truck is optimized for carrying people, the new 2.8 P is designed to carry a 2,200-lb payload
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While the original Fat Truck is optimized for carrying people, the new 2.8 P is designed to carry a 2,200-lb payload
Fat Truck 2.8 P ready to load
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Fat Truck 2.8 P ready to load
Opening up to hop out
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Opening up to hop out
Designed for industries like mining and oil, the Fat Truck 2.8 P debuts at this week's Utility Expo
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Designed for industries like mining and oil, the Fat Truck 2.8 P debuts at this week's Utility Expo
The available rear tool box provides some secure storage
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The available rear tool box provides some secure storage
Getting in the Fat Truck 2.8 P
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Getting in the Fat Truck 2.8 P
Along with an open bed, the Fat Truck 2.8 P can be equipped with various work modules, such as a crane or a water tank
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Along with an open bed, the Fat Truck 2.8 P can be equipped with various work modules, such as a crane or a water tank
The ultra-wide, amphibious fat tires eat away at some of the bed, but the Fat Truck 2.8 P still offers plenty of open load space for getting supplies deep into the wild
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The ultra-wide, amphibious fat tires eat away at some of the bed, but the Fat Truck 2.8 P still offers plenty of open load space for getting supplies deep into the wild
The original Fat Truck 2.8C works through a route that would incapacitate a "skinnier" truck
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The original Fat Truck 2.8C works through a route that would incapacitate a "skinnier" truck
The Fat Truck 2.8P and 2.8C are ready for visitors at the 2021 Utility Expo
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The Fat Truck 2.8P and 2.8C are ready for visitors at the 2021 Utility Expo
View gallery - 12 images

The tire-sucking bogs and lonely, icy Arctic expanses of Russia inspired the Sherp ATV and its six-wheeled powered trailer. Canada has some of the same types of inhospitable, uncrossable northerly terrain, and it also has its own homegrown amphibious rover: the Fat Truck from Quebec's Zeal Motor. Traditionally equipped with a combination of huge 65-inch paddle-tires and fully enclosed personnel carrier, the Fat Truck family has welcomed a versatile cargo hauler in the all-new 2.8P, a high-riding pickup truck built to carry work supplies over harsh, trackless land and water that would spell disaster for the average pickup.

Zeal Motor launched the original industrial-grade Fat Truck 2.8C in 2019, aiming it at mining and energy companies in Canada, the US, Scandinavia and Australia. The amphibious big-wheeler might look purpose-built for creating viral videos and social media content, but it's really designed to meet the very specific needs of clients in select industrial sectors. In the case of the new 2.8P, those needs come from the utility industry and dictate a vehicle that can carry crew members and payload separately while moving capably across soft, treacherous earth and deep standing water to remote work sites.

The Fat Truck pickup won't challenge the well-established North American pickup leaders, but it's a unique tool for a specific set of requirements
The Fat Truck pickup won't challenge the well-established North American pickup leaders, but it's a unique tool for a specific set of requirements

In place of the full-length prismatic cabin of the 2.8C, the 2.8P has a short two-person cabin set in front of a tailgate-accessed bed. The bed itself is rather narrow, owing to the 2-foot (61-cm)-wide tires on either side, but flat, bed-length sides over top the tires add flexibility when loading cargo up to the 2,200-lb (1,000-kg) payload. In addition to carrying tools, gear and other loose cargo, the 2.8P serves as a platform for available equipment such as a firefighting foam kit, high-speed capstan or service crane.

The Fat 2.8P comes powered by a 2.2-liter Caterpillar four-cylinder turbodiesel that puts out up to 67 hp at 2,800 rpm and 153 lb-ft of torque at 1,400 rpm. Engine output gets routed through a hydrostatic carbon fiber synchronous belt transmission that also delivers braking power.

The ultra-wide, amphibious fat tires eat away at some of the bed, but the Fat Truck 2.8 P still offers plenty of open load space for getting supplies deep into the wild
The ultra-wide, amphibious fat tires eat away at some of the bed, but the Fat Truck 2.8 P still offers plenty of open load space for getting supplies deep into the wild

The joystick-controlled Fat Truck 2.8P can travel on land at speeds up to 25 mph (40 km/h) and paddle through water at up to 3 mph (5 km/h). It can also crawl up muddy slopes up to a 75-percent grade and turn in place on a 0-degree radius. Even when the truck is fully loaded, the huge 65-inch (164-cm) squishy tires tip-toe lightly at just 1.6 psi, five times lighter than a human footprint, allowing the pickup to roll gingerly over soft ground without sinking in. An onboard tire adjustment system ensures that pressure is matched to the terrain at hand.

The original Fat Truck 2.8C works through a route that would incapacitate a "skinnier" truck
The original Fat Truck 2.8C works through a route that would incapacitate a "skinnier" truck

The Fat 2.8P stands quite high at 8.6 feet (2.6 m), with nearly 21 inches (53 cm) of ground clearance, but its overhang-free body stretches a mere 147 inches (372 cm) in length, shorter than a two-door Mini Cooper. The two front occupants board the vessel via the swing-up windshield and drop-down lower front-end hatch with integrated ladder.

The Fat Truck 2.8P makes its public premiere at this week's Utility Expo in Louisville, Kentucky, which opens on Tuesday and runs through Thursday. Zeal did not release pricing information in its announcement, but looking at the six-figure prices quoted in past 2.8C reports, it's safe to assume its price-to-usefulness ratio is off the charts for everyone but the industrial customers for which it was specifically developed. As fun as straight-up powering through deep mud and water looks, the average pickup driver will be much better off sticking with a new Toyota Tundra or Rivian R1T.

Fat Truck hasn't added any 2.8P footage to its YouTube channel yet, but but we can't publish a story about a land/water dominator like the Fat Truck without some kind of video. Here's a look at the full-bodied Fat Truck 2.8C cutting a path through water and marsh that would devour a typical vehicle.

Fat Truck in mud

Source: Fat Truck via Motor1

View gallery - 12 images
8 comments
8 comments
guzmanchinky
Very cool, but does anyone else cringe slightly at how destructive this thing is when it digs through marshland and drags it's tires when turning? Maybe I'm wrong, since it really doesn't do that except in deep mud...
Username
I would love to see a head to head comparison with the Sherpa.
ADVENTUREMUFFINffin
I noticed this rip through the marsh, leaving a path of destruction. Add this to the list of ATV restricted in the wilderness-thankfully!
foxpup
I wonder how many Russian made Sherps you could buy for the price of one of these.
wolf0579
So, someone copied the Russian "Sherpa".

Big deal.
BlueOak
Looks like loads of fun. Regarding “copying” the Sherpa - if it turns out to be better, more reliable, more serviceable in the west, why the worries? The world buys Chinese copies of western designed products all the time - and in that case there’s a question about whether the copies are actually better.

But the video - why does he seem to prefer driving in reverse? Is there something odd about the drive train that makes it perform better in reverse?
Marco McClean
Was the video supposed to make people want one? Because it makes me worry that somebody with a kind heart will shoot it to put it out of its misery and they might hit the little person inside.
ljaques
Pretty cool if you need a super-high-flotation vehicle with little inside space for recoveries. But the godawful tranny noises got to me. Its normal sound is akin to a teen trying to drive an old stick shift vehicle (sans synchronizers in the tranny) before being made aware of the clutch. (Note to the Millennials: No, that's short for "transmission".)