Automotive

Startup fuses camper van & UTV into new breed of off-road electro RV

Startup fuses camper van & UTV into new breed of off-road electro RV
Potential Motors provides more details about its Adventure 1 ORV ahead of its world debut at Overland Expo East in Virginia next month
Potential Motors provides more details about its Adventure 1 ORV ahead of its world debut at Overland Expo East in Virginia next month
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The Potential Motors Adventure 1 is built for UTV-style off-road fun and mini-camper van-like R&R
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The Potential Motors Adventure 1 is built for UTV-style off-road fun and mini-camper van-like R&R
The idea behind the Adventure 1 is to find, explore and camp in outdoor spaces that might be hard to reach for even Jeep Wranglers and Ford Broncos (so long as they're within the very limited 100-mile roundtrip range)
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The idea behind the Adventure 1 is to find, explore and camp in outdoor spaces that might be hard to reach for even Jeep Wranglers and Ford Broncos (so long as they're within the very limited 100-mile roundtrip range)
Potential Motors provides more details about its Adventure 1 ORV ahead of its world debut at Overland Expo East in Virginia next month
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Potential Motors provides more details about its Adventure 1 ORV ahead of its world debut at Overland Expo East in Virginia next month
The Adventure 1 promises a cozy camper an experience for two people
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The Adventure 1 promises a cozy camper an experience for two people
The slide-out kitchen provides a tailgate-sheltered place to prepare food and drink
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The slide-out kitchen provides a tailgate-sheltered place to prepare food and drink
Potential Motors' holistic control system uses the type of advanced sensors seen in the passenger car industry to analyze terrain and adjust vehicle settings
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Potential Motors' holistic control system uses the type of advanced sensors seen in the passenger car industry to analyze terrain and adjust vehicle settings
The compact Adventure 1 is meant to navigate more like a side-by-side than a street-legal SUV
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The compact Adventure 1 is meant to navigate more like a side-by-side than a street-legal SUV
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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.

The Potential Motors Adventure 1 is built for UTV-style off-road fun and mini-camper van-like R&R
The Potential Motors Adventure 1 is built for UTV-style off-road fun and mini-camper van-like R&R

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 compact Adventure 1 is meant to navigate more like a side-by-side than a street-legal SUV
The compact Adventure 1 is meant to navigate more like a side-by-side than a street-legal SUV

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.

Potential Motors' holistic control system uses the type of advanced sensors seen in the passenger car industry to analyze terrain and adjust vehicle settings
Potential Motors' holistic control system uses the type of advanced sensors seen in the passenger car industry to analyze terrain and adjust vehicle settings

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.

The slide-out kitchen provides a tailgate-sheltered place to prepare food and drink
The slide-out kitchen provides a tailgate-sheltered place to prepare food and drink

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:

A Day in the Dunes | P0 Testing Montage

Source: Potential Motors

View gallery - 7 images
6 comments
6 comments
BrianBailey
I predict this will be vaporware just like the Nikola NZT electric UTV. After 5 years Nikola hasn't produced squat. Looking now I see that they officially cancelled a while back.
Also, like the Riven R1T, the range is a deal-breaker. I love the Riven. I love the idea of this UTV/RV Adventure vehicle. But you simply can't go on an adventure with an electric vehicle. At least not today.
I've been on multiple week-long overland trip on my UTV and I can tell you right now 100 mile range would not have cut it. Even if I somehow found hotels along the way, it would take more than overnight to charge at 110 Volts.
minivini
Huh? 100 miles. Not universally street legal. $136k. I’m thinking “probably not” for this one.
Steve Jones
Very cool.
Very expensive.
Almost entirely useless.
ArdisLille
Tall and thin. Looks tippy.
JoeAverage
I think the XBus at ~$23K is a better value. And I'd buy the XBus doublecab pickup if it was available - if my state DMV would allow me to register it and operate it on public roads. My towns road speed limits are 45 mph.

This camper at $136K is a non-starter. Even at $50K it is a non-starter. I'm just not going to spend that kind of money to sleep in the boonies or pound it over rocky trails.

I'd rather pay off my mortgage.
JoeAverage
Simplicity! I don't want the complexity of some of these designs. I need AWD, motor(s), a battery, and suspension. That is the benefit of a UTV style vehicle. And thus low cost.

That's one thing that appeals to me about the XBus - simple interior, simple rubber mats, simple doors w/ sliding glass. Frankly I'd be happy without the dash mounted tablet. Just give me a single DIN radio mounting spot. I'll buy something I like locally. I do want heat and a/c if available b/c functioning as a local errands vehicle it would spend some time in traffic. I don't need ABS, cameras, lane keeping, automatic cruise control, TVs, etc.

I'm very close to simply buying a vintage vehicle and R&R'ing it for local use.