EarthCruiser takes next step with all-electric overland pickup camper
Electric vans still suffer from ranges too low to make proper campers, but electric pickup trucks have more robust ranges long enough to create capable camping vehicles. Overland RV specialist EarthCruiser has been readying itself for the upcoming electric vehicle takeover and is now offering customers the chance to get in on the ground floor of the all-electric overlanding age. Its slide-in electric pickup camper is officially available for preorder, and while designed specifically with EVs in mind, the multipurpose camper will also work with ICE trucks, easily transitioning from a gas or diesel platform to an electric platform when the owner is ready to make the switch.
With the debut of the Ram 1500 Revolution concept this month, each of Detroit's Big 3 automakers now has a full-size electric pickup truck to its name. And Ford already has one on the market, with Rivian representing the smaller midsize(ish) e-pickup segment. Tesla will be throwing its own competitor out there before year's end, and in a few years, what was a non-existent market just two years ago will be loaded with innovative options.
EarthCruiser USA first announced plans for an electric pickup-compatible camper last year, and today it's opening up preorders. We don't usually get very excited about preorders that precede an actual product debut, but EarthCruiser is one of the well-established global giants of overland expedition vehicle design, with a history in everything from huge off-road motorhomes to lightweight slide-ins for full- and mid-size pickup trucks.
EarthCruiser's new slide-in camper is being developed from the ground up for electric truck compatibility and will help the company smoothly transition from the ICE-only pickup market of years past to the mixed market of today and onward to a potential all-electric market of the future. It says each camper will be able to move from an ICE to an EV pickup platform with a few software updates.
"We have been keenly following the evolution of EV vehicles and have been waiting until the time is right, and the time is now," says Lance Gillies, EarthCruiser founder. "We are a company that loves to discover, innovate and test, over and over until we get it right. Our deep expertise in building world-renowned expedition vehicles makes it easier for us to roll into electric platforms compared to competitors."
Beyond the opening of preorders, EarthCruiser doesn't offer much new or specific information about its EV camper design. It reiterates that its focus will be on optimizing weight and aerodynamics in order to maximize overall vehicle range, as well as on managing onboard energy usage. It also says that the EarthCruiser Innovations department tasked with developing electric overlanding products has been collaborating with US domestic automakers on its plans.
Part of EarthCruiser's preorder strategy is to gather information about customer preferences for compatible electric pickup platforms. Its teaser pictures have all shown the Rivian R1T as the platform of choice, a natural selection as the first US electric pickup truck to market and the current range leader with an EPA-estimated ceiling of 328 miles (528 km). On the downside, the R1T has an unusually small 4.5-ft (1.4-m) bed that will limit the size of a compatible pickup camper and might make such a camper unnecessarily small for a truck with a larger bed. In other words, an R1T camper will work best with the R1T and R1T alone.
The Ford F-150 Lightning seems like a better starting point for a variety of reasons. Like the R1T, it's actually available on the market now. It also shares its exact dimensions with the ICE F-150, including a 5.5-ft (1.7-m) bed. Given that the F-Series has been the best-selling vehicle in America for more than four decades, a slide-in camper compatible with both the ICE F-150 and electric F-150 Lightning opens up a huge potential market. The 5.5-ft bed is also a standard size for other full-size pickup trucks. At 320 miles (515 km), the Lightning's EPA-estimated range does not lag far behind the R1T's.
Depending upon how long of a development timeframe EarthCruiser has in mind, it might also make sense to see if the longer ranges of the upcoming Cybertruck, Chevy Silverado EV and Ram 1500 Revolution pan out. The more range the merrier when you're venturing out into unpopulated wilderness.
EarthCruiser plans to announce more details about its electric camper program later in 2023. For now, those itching to become first adopters can put down a refundable US$100 deposit via the source link below to ensure they're first in line.