"World's lightest 4x4" gets disabled folk back to the great outdoors
North Carolina company Outrider USA has launched what it claims is the lightest production 4x4 ever. The new Coyote is an all-electric, single-seat off-road vehicle designed to put outdoor adventures back on the menu for people with reduced mobility.
Portability has been a key design goal; it folds to fit in a compact hatchback, provided you fold the back seats down, and it's the lightest vehicle in its class, with base models starting at 130 lb (59 kg).
Things are even easier if you can haul a small trailer, although you'd need to be pretty inventive, not to mention brave, to load and unload one of these things solo without the use of your legs.
The top powertrain option combines a 5-kW 4WD setup with independent, adjustable suspension and a 6-kWh battery pack, offering range figures between 80-140 miles (130-225 km). Big, knobby tires on 20-inch rims contribute to some seven inches (18 cm) of ground clearance.
Outrider says the Coyote is suitable for hunting and fishing, where its relatively quiet motors and lack of scent will come in handy. It's also designed for general off-road muckin' about, with a top speed limiter set at 28 mph (45 km/h), but that can be programmed for "other speeds to comply with local regulations," according to a website that I swear is winking at me as I read it.
The control system is simple, a pair of hand levers that can be tilted to control power and braking, or pushed forward and backward to control the steering, even without too much upper body strength.
It might not have the crazy suspension setup of France's bizarre Swincar, and it's a relatively narrow track vehicle, so riders will have to take care not to point it at crazy slopes or corner it hard enough to tip it over. But the weight of the low-slung, waterproof battery packs will help keep the center of mass pretty low, and even if it's not what we'd call an extreme terrain vehicle, we've got no doubt it'll help people "get back out there," as the company's tag line says. That's a worthy goal, and could make a huge difference in people's lives.
Heck, if you take one of these out with a few buddies and bag a bunch of fish or the odd deer, that carry rack on the back's gonna make you very welcome to come out again next time.
The Coyote is more expensive than your typical quad bike. The base model starts at US$13,985, and if you want the 4WD and long-range batteries, you're looking at over US$20,000. Still, when you think about what this represents to people who love the outdoors and have had to watch their friends go out without them, $20k doesn't look so bad.
The last word on this thing has to go to paraplegic test driver Daylan Carver, with this masterwork of black humor: "the only thing that would be better than this would be walking." Check out the video below.
Source: Outrider USA