Startup fuses camper van & UTV into new breed of off-road electro RV
As Canadian startup Potential Motors teased a few weeks ago, it's aiming to create an all-new category of all-terrain vehicle with its debut product, something it calls an ORV (off-road RV). Sure, there are plenty of off-road RVs already out there, but Potential's twist is indeed a new species: an all-electric UTV micro-camper that may or may not be legal to drive on public roads in your neck of the woods but will always be more fun to drive off-road, anyway. To wit, it has a narrow body, terrain-reading adaptive suspension, torque-vectoring dual-motor powertrain, and camper van interior with double bed and slide-out kitchen. Ride tight, gnarly, overgrown trails; find a level clearing; and spend the night in the wildest of wilds.
The tiny Adventure 1 e-van reminds us most of the Xbus off-road camper van but is actually nearly two feet longer at 178 inches (452 cm), just over 4 in (10 cm) longer than a two-door Ford Bronco. Like the Xbus, the Adventure 1 is not actually a traditional passenger vehicle, instead classifying in as a UTV, an off-highway vehicle that's legal to drive on non-highway roads in some US states but not all. Short of driving it to the trailhead, owners can roll it onto a trailer and tow it there, just like they would a more conventional side-by-side.
Ultimately, the Adventure 1 looks like it will be best-suited to folks that live in Moab or other locations close enough to OHV trails to easily drive to and from. Because unlike other side-by-sides, the Adventure 1 is designed to haul both people and gear to the trail. Potential positions it as something of a cargo van crossed with a camper, capable of carrying two full-size motorcycles to base camp. An integrated roof rack provides extra hauling capacity. So load up, jump in, roll to the trailhead or a distant primitive camp, and enjoy the weekend motor or mountain biking and micro-van camping.
Adventure 1 owners may also choose to leave the bikes at home and just tear up dirt and sand in the Adventure 1 itself. The e-ORV is optimized for off-roading in a way even the most off-road-capable highway-legal 4x4s are not. It measures just 64 in (163 cm) wide, close to 10 in (25 cm) slimmer than a Jeep Wrangler and equal to a Polaris RZR XP 1000, giving it the ability to navigate tight, twisty trails that weed out larger vehicles. Couple that slim design with a 604-hp/737-lb-ft (999-Nm) dual-motor electric 4WD, and you have a vehicle that's capable of tackling truly rugged trails and spending the night in the undiscovered wilds at trail end.
The bad news? With only 100 miles (161 km) of available range, those trails had better be on the shorter side because you can forget about taking the Adventure 1 on the type of truly epic, long-mileage overland adventures for which it seems otherwise optimized. Ordinarily, that would leave us hopeful for a turbo-diesel version, but we already know that the Adventure 1 is more of a proof of concept and marketing vessel for Potential's real-product: the Off Road OS system specially designed for an all-electric off-road vehicle platform.
Though 4x4ers often prefer simple, tried-and-true mechanical design, the Off Road OS should prove fun to play around with. The next-gen off-road smart system uses a series of sensors to read the terrain ahead of the vehicle and proactively adjust suspension damping and motor torque for the smoothest, cleanest ride forward.
Also benefitting the Adventure 1's off-road capabilities is the low center of gravity ensured by the chassis-mounted battery, a 12.9-in (32.8-cm) ground clearance, and an approach/departure/break-over angle split of 40/45/29 degrees. The wheelbase stretches 105 in (267 cm).
As far as camper capabilities, the initial renderings show a simple slide-out kit quite similar (perhaps identical) to the Egoe Nestbox (complete with face-mounted hatchet), which includes a flip-up sink basin, slide-out kitchen equipment and fold-out interior bed.
At a base price of US$136,600, the Adventure 1 is definitely positioned as first adopter tech product and certainly not meant for the masses, and Potential only plans to build a very limited volume. The new off-roader will go up for preorder ($1,000) this month, ahead of an official world premiere at Overland Expo East 2022 in October.
Potential's latest video shows some prototype testing in the sand and through the trees:
Source: Potential Motors