All-electric Toyota Hilux camper promises to be world's toughest e-RV
Other trucks and 4x4s may claim to be tough, but only one has been declared "indestructible" by the venerable hosts of Top Gear. That's the Toyota Hilux. The global pickup already serves as the base of some impressive go-anywhere micro-campers, and now it's set to break new ground as Australia's first all-electric 4WD camper truck. Only problem? Toyota doesn't sell a Hilux BEV (yet). So an electro-converted Hilux will step in to create the perfect e-pickup camper for escaping quietly and cleanly into the great unknown.
Perth-based 4WD camper rental company RedSands announced this week a team-up with Brisbane-HQed fleet electrification specialist Roev on what they're calling the first all-electric 4WD camper in Australia. It's also one of the Australian market's first all-electric motorized RVs, period.
Australia has put out several all-electric campers, but all the ones of which we're aware are towables – caravans and camper trailers designed to run camping equipment with bulging lithium battery packs.
The Retreat ERV was the first of those battery-stuffed towables to catch our attention years ago, and there have been several others since, from companies like Harvok and Condemine.
Unlike towable electric RVs, the Redsands/Roev camper – we hereby submit "Red Roever" as a name suggestion – will commute to and from camp under its own electric drive power. In addition to the electrified Hilux, the new all-terrain camping rig will be based on Roev's electro-converted Ford Ranger pickup. The Hilux and Ranger are Australia's two bestselling pickups – utes, as they're known locally.
There's no word yet on how RedSands' e-camper truck spec sheet will read. The 4WD camper rental company explains that it will be delivering data and specifications about its existing Hilux fleet to Roev, which will in turn develop a built-to-task electrification solution for 4x4 camping.
Roev currently offers fleet customers two different Hilux/Ranger electrification packages: a 64-kWh battery-run package offering up to 149 miles (240 km) of range and a 96-kWh battery package with up to 223 miles (360 km) of range. Each conversion also includes an onboard 11-kW AC charger, 80-kW CCS DC fast-charging capability, regenerative braking, and vehicle-to-load outlets for powering tools and other electrical equipment.
On its end, RedSands offers two camper trucks as part of its standard turbo-diesel Hilux 4WD camper rental lineup. Each truck features the tent-topped flatbed canopy layout popular in Australia. The two-person model has a single or extra cab and two-sleeper rooftop tent on the canopy, while the five-person model has a double cab and two rooftop tents, one on the cab and one on the canopy. The spacious gull-winged canopy, meanwhile, houses the bulk of equipment, including a dual-battery electrical system with management system and a passenger-side kitchen with slide-out 40-L fridge, dual-burner gas stove and 80-L water supply.
It's not yet clear if RedSands will change that setup for the electric truck, but one obvious possibility is to eliminate the LPG bottles by swapping out any and all gas equipment for its electrical equivalent. For example, the dual-burner portable stove could be replaced with an induction cooker.
RedSands prides itself on offering extra-capable Hilux camper trucks. Its turbo-diesel Hilux campers empower Outback adventurers with equipment like an upgraded off-road suspension, heavy-duty all-terrain tires, an onboard air compressor, an off-road bumper and bull bar, a snorkel and two spare tires.
As part of its greater electrification effort, RedSands is also working with campground operator G'Day Group on the installation of electric charging infrastructure at several of G'Day's Western Australia campgrounds.
RedSands plans to have its first all-electric 4WD campers available for rent in July 2024. The company intends to get ahead of Australia's automotive/RV electrification curve and meet demand from a heavily European clientele accustomed to driving electric vehicles in everyday life and looking for EV travel options.
Source: RedSands via The Driven
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