Sherp 10x10 trailer truck journeys over treacherous land and sea
The amphibious Sherp ATV was one of the true mind-bending off-road vehicles of 2016, navigating into our memory banks with its massive 63-in land/water tires. Now Sherp is back with an even more impressive machine, an all-terrain hauler that can carry 22 people or 7,500 lb (3,400 kg) of cargo over the same type of near-impassable land and water routes the original ATV was designed for. With 10 drive wheels and triple-axis steering, the Ark go-anywhere tractor-trailer motors over trench-marred fields, climbs boulder-littered mountains, cruises over deadfall-covered forest floor, and wades across frigid, berg-loaded waters to get where it needs to go.
Sherp has been damn busy the past three years. Not only has it been out and about having epic fun with ATV R&D, it's blown up its footprint, establishing headquarters in both Ukraine and Canada and growing out a global dealer network covering every continent north of Antarctica. In fact, its dealer map shows more than two dozen dealers in North America alone, from Canada's Northwest Territories down through Florida.
Now Sherp is moving forward with its all-new platform, and the Ark is even more impressive than the original ATV. Sherp realized the ATV hit just the right mark for recreational off-roaders, hunters, survivalists and small operations but lacked the size for larger commercial and governmental tasks like disaster relief, oil field work and geological exploration. So the company hit the drawing board hard and came back with something with much more capacity.
The 380-in (963-cm) Ark looks deceivingly like an amphibious 4x4/trailer combo, but it's actually a fully powered five-axle workhorse. All 10 of the 63-in tubeless tire-wrapped cab and trailer wheels are connected to the 74-hp 2.4-liter Doosan D24 turbo-diesel engine by way of a five-speed manual transmission, high/low transfer case, chain drives spinning through oil baths in sealed side compartments, and front and rear locking differentials. The engine puts out 206 lb-ft (279 Nm) of torque at 1,600 rpm. The driver can shut off power to the cab for rear-driven power or switch on all-wheel drive to improve traction and handling.
The Ark tops out at 18.6 mph (30 km/h) on land, very modest by regular motor vehicle standards, but we don't reckon you'll be doing much highway driving or drag-racing in a 10,500-lb (4,300-kg), squishy-tired 10WD tractor-trailer, anyway. Sherp packs 210 liters of diesel on the trailer and another 30 liters up front, and owners can add more fuel capacity by carrying canisters.
The Ark and its 2 feet (60 cm) of ground clearance is ready to tackle virtually any type of surface under its tires, maintaining forward momentum over much more than just the typical dirt and gravel. It can work its way through and over tall grass, glassy ice, jagged scree and chaotic deadfall. The large tires can float over mud, sand and snow, then dive right into deep marshes, lakes, coastal waters and other bodies, working as paddle wheels to move the Ark back to solid ground at speeds up to 3.7 mph (6 km/h) The Ark can also claw its way out of the water onto ice like a hungry polar bear. The pneumatic circulatory suspension uses exhaust gases in airing tires up and down as terrain changes demand.
Sherp leaves behind the skid steering system of the ATV in favor of a multi-power triple-axis steering system that provides some terrain-negotiation advantages. Using the system, the Ark cab can lift its front-end up and stand on its rear wheels, helping it get up and over vertical obstacles 5 feet (1.5 m) tall, nearly 2 feet (60 cm) more than the ATV is capable of. The cab can also twist, providing added maneuverability when working up multi-level obstacles.
Short of a concrete wall, vast canyon or hill steeper than 40 degrees, there's little that can stop the Ark dead in its tracks. A flat tire isn't on that short list, as the driver can cut the air supply to each individual tire, deflating a flat so that the remaining wheels can continue muscling the vessel forward, unimpeded.
As for the big triple-axle trailer, it's a modular design that can serve as an open bed or carry a passenger compartment for shuttling 18 people (plus four in the cab), operations-specific module, full-length fuel or water tank, or dwelling module for long-term work expeditions. The lattermost turns the Ark into an impressive go-anywhere expedition motorhome and can be equipped with a kitchen, bathroom and rows of bunk beds. The trailer has a payload of 6,600 lb (3,000 kg), and the cab can carry another 880 lb (400 kg), combining for the roughly 7,500-lb total payload.
The video below shows the Ark masterfully navigating its way over half-frozen waters.