Automotive

Range-extended electric 4WD expedition vehicle claims 4,350-mile range

Range-extended electric 4WD ex...
The Fering Pioneer, a hybrid-electric expedition vehicle built to tackle some of the toughest environments on the planet
The Fering Pioneer, a hybrid-electric expedition vehicle built to tackle some of the toughest environments on the planet
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The Fering Pioneer, a hybrid-electric expedition vehicle built to tackle some of the toughest environments on the planet
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The Fering Pioneer, a hybrid-electric expedition vehicle built to tackle some of the toughest environments on the planet
We're sure the Pioneer's mom thinks it's very handsome
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We're sure the Pioneer's mom thinks it's very handsome
The one thing that looks like it's there mainly to look pretty – the Union Jack on the tailgate – is actually a reinforcement structure
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The one thing that looks like it's there mainly to look pretty – the Union Jack on the tailgate – is actually a reinforcement structure
This snub-nosed bulldog of a thing can handle freezing ice or sweltering deserts
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This snub-nosed bulldog of a thing can handle freezing ice or sweltering deserts
Early prototype in testing
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Early prototype in testing
Two electric motors and a lithium titanate oxide battery pack provide a heap of torque
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Two electric motors and a lithium titanate oxide battery pack provide a heap of torque
The Pioneer uses an aluminum/composite spaceframe with canvas bodywork, keeping its weight very low
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The Pioneer uses an aluminum/composite spaceframe with canvas bodywork, keeping its weight very low
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UK startup Fering is gearing up to build electric vehicles for cross-continental explorers. It's starting out with the Pioneer, a go-anywhere brick outhouse of a thing designed for monster range figures under the most extreme circumstances on Earth.

Cybertrucks may be all well and good for your average camping trip, but they're not designed for the kinds of extreme treatment the Pioneer wants to take on as a low-emissions alternative for explorers, adventurers and emergency services teams.

For starters, the lithium-ion batteries found in most EVs can't handle extreme temperatures, so instead Fering has gone with a lithium-titanate-oxide (LTO) battery pack. These have advantages and drawbacks; they're renowned for extremely long life cycles, they can charge quickly and they work from -40 to 60 °C (-40 °F to +160 °F), so they can handle just about anything shy of an Antarctic winter.

On the other hand, they don't store a whole lot of energy by weight; their specific energy ranges from 30-110 Wh/kg in comparison to the best lithium-ion cells, which are up around 260 Wh/kg. Thus, the Pioneer can only go about 80 km (50 miles) on pure, silent, zero-emissions battery power.

Two electric motors and a lithium titanate oxide battery pack provide a heap of torque
Two electric motors and a lithium titanate oxide battery pack provide a heap of torque

But this is designed for serious expeditions, so the Pioneer also carries a 70-kW (94-hp), 800cc, three-cylinder biodiesel combustion generator to keep the batteries topped up. Running constantly at its most efficient speed, the combustion engine is capable of delivering impressive fuel efficiency around 50 miles per gallon ( 5.6 L/100 km) with the batteries totally flat. With long-range tanks fitted, Fering estimates a whopping 7,000-km (4,350-mile) range between fuel stops.

There's no reason why it can't run other generator systems, either; Fering says that if biodiesel isn't available where you're headed, it's just as happy to put in a gasoline engine or hydrogen fuel cell.

The whole thing weighs around 1,500 kg (3,300 lb) – much lighter than your average 4WD – thanks to an aluminum/composite spaceframe deign and bodywork made from a tough, replaceable canvas. This canvas sure doesn't look real pretty in the prototype pictures, but Fering says is similar to the outer shell of a high-end hiking boot, and offers better insulation in the cabin than a regular metal skin.

The Pioneer uses an aluminum/composite spaceframe with canvas bodywork, keeping its weight very low
The Pioneer uses an aluminum/composite spaceframe with canvas bodywork, keeping its weight very low

Drive comes from a pair of electric motors at the front and rear axles, offering some 600 Nm (443 lb-ft) of torque. It's not designed for high speed, topping out at 125 km/h (78 mph), but its off-road credentials are exemplary, handling 60-percent gradient climbs, 50-degree side tilts, 50-cm (20-in) step climbs with its almost complete lack of overhang at the front wheels, and wading depths up to 1.4 m (4.6 ft). And it can carry its own weight in cargo.

Fering, founded by former McLaren Head of Advanced Concepts Ben Scott-Geddes, has got its first prototype up and running, and it's undergoing a series of tests both by Fering and by early customer organizations evaluating it for various use cases. The company says it's targeting the first half of 2022 for the start of serial production.

Source: Fering

View gallery - 7 images
27 comments
27 comments
ChairmanLMAO
Now that is a vehicle I could wear!!
AngryPenguin
A generator seems like an obvious way to extend the range of an electric car. I've always wondered why it isn't a more common feature.
Demosthenes
The perfect vehicle to stay mobile after the climate disaster
tokyotea
These photos take me back to a much earlier day and recall a bosses' assessment of a long forgotten project: "This design is a good example of why the Design Center has large doors without windows." If this is intended for the MOD purchasing runoff of 1938, maybe its worth a shot. Showing up in 2021 with a vehicle made out of utility pipe and canvas, held together with electrical tape is a good way to end up watching investors run away. Replace the door panels and bonnet with carbon fiber or, maybe chopper gunned nanotube and let's take another look. Excellent idea, but it was executed by Mr. Smith's Grade Industrial Arts Class.
roger90
Impressive!
foxpup
EV designers who are religeous about the no-carbon idea are missing the boat in the context where this product shines. Sometimes you will find yourself hundreds of miles from the nearest fast charger so gas/diesel/propane are what it takes out there. This product is useful where Rivian and Tesla 4-wheelers would die from lack of charging.
BlueOak
7,000 km / 4,350 miles? Wouldn’t 3,500 km / 2,175 miles blow folks away without hauling around all that excess weight in fuel?

Fresh from the Fering website, today, in the fall of 2021: “Fering Pioneer is due to be launched summer 2021”. It might be speculated that isn’t happening. One would think it to be simple to update a couple words on their website if they’re now claiming “first half of 2022”. Attention to detail, especially when you’re asking folks to show interest in a still prototype vehicle. Seeing them showing up in hundreds of customer hands will be the proof.
Captain Obvious
Mazda is going to make an EV with a rotary engine range extender.
Michael son of Lester
I like this truck and would even consider buying one if it manages to live up to the hype and can be purchased at a reasonable price. In these days of economic uncertainty, the last thing anyone needs is another vehicle that you have to take out a mortgage to buy.
ljaques
I like it! What an endearing love/hate relationship that will make with most people. LOL. Offroad, those clothes will look bad in no time, though. The Pioneer is a cross between a Tesla, a Bollinger, and a Meyer's Manx. And it's a lot prettier than a VW Thing. @AngryPenguin, I've always wondered why the hybrids used direct drive instead of powering up a generator and charging the batteries while it drives. The engine could be smaller as a result.
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