EarthCruiser takes van life off-road truckin' with the EXD adventure rig
As it celebrates 10 years of cruising and conquering earth, Australian-American expedition vehicle builder EarthCruiser is preparing a new type of rig. Growing out its lineup from full-size adventure motorhomes and pickup pop-tops, it's developing a 4x4 camper van alternative. Like a van, its EXD camper travels as a boxy, live-in motorhome, but unlike a van, it rides atop a rugged, ready 1-ton pickup truck with more grunt and payload. So if camper vans confine your wanderlusting spirit, the EXD might be your adventure rig of choice.
EarthCruiser is hoping to tap into some of the enthusiasm and marketing power that continues to surround #vanlife, positioning the EXD as an attractive cross-shopping alternative for those looking at 4x4 camper vans. Every EarthCruiser EXD blog post and social media blast we've read includes a mention of van life or comparison with 4x4 camper vans, listing EXD advantages like higher ground clearance and all-American 1-ton pickup truck-levels of payload and towing capacity.
Not that the EXD really looks much like a camper van – it's boxy, comes with a pass-through between driver cab and camper, and has four wheels, but that's about where the similarities end. In actuality, the EXD slides between the extremes of EarthCruiser's existing lineup – big, beastly Mitsubishi Fuso and Unimog off-road motorhomes and smaller GZL pickup pop-up campers – and is much more in line with an XPCube or Quantis Marq.
That's not to say that EarthCruiser's plan of luring in some 4x4 camper van buyers won't work. In fact, the 4x4 van market is rather limiting from the outset. There are a few 4x4 van options on the aftermarket, but the Mercedes Sprinter 4x4 is currently the only factory built all-wheel drive van available. Couple that with some of the power and payload advantages of a truck, and you can start to see why someone with six figures to spend on an all-terrain camper might choose an EXD over something like a Sportsmobile Sprinter.
EarthCruiser is still working on the EXD, but it has started aggressively teasing its new model recently, releasing some photos and video clips. The camper box is built from insulated molded fiberglass, and measures 120 x 63 x 81 inches (305 x 160 x 206 cm, L x H x W) with the roof down. The entire roof pops up via electric actuators, expanding headroom from 62 to 82 inches (158 to 210 cm).
The EXD mounts to either a flatbed truck or directly to an American 1-ton 4WD pickup truck chassis with 8-foot (244-cm) bed and single rear wheels, such as the 2017+ Chevy Silverado 3500 or 2018 Ram 3500. The prototype calls a Ford Super Duty F350 home.
The EXD interior features a U-shaped furniture layout with a rear dinette set that converts to a 78 x 50-in (198 x 127-cm) bed at the push of a button. Next to that convertible dinette on the driver side, the kitchen area houses a single-piece countertop, stainless steel sink, induction cooktop and 130-L fridge/freezer. There's also full bathroom amenities – shower, sink and toilet.
Other onboard equipment includes a Webasto hot water/air heater, touchscreen command panel, 181-L fresh water tank, 45-L grey water tank, 180-Ah 12V lithium battery, 150-watt solar panel and plenty of LED lighting. The options list includes air conditioning, extra battery power and solar, a microwave, winterization, a water draw system for collecting water from natural sources, and water purification.
With the EXD still under testing and development, specs and pricing could always change ahead of launch. EarthCruiser estimates the standard base price for the flatbed-mount model at US$107,000, with the direct-to-chassis kinetic mounting package adding another $25,000.
We'll take a closer look at the EXD once EarthCruiser gives it the full launch, but in the meantime, EarthCruiser founder and owner Lance Gillies will give you a tour of some key exterior features in the 5-minute video below.