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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey Folks:

I have a proposition for everyone: In the face of eco-freaks who blame
us for polluting the wilderness which we all recreate in, why hasn't
some one built an ELECTRIC rock crawler? It would be quiet(no noise
complaints), controllable("tread lightly") and, as much as I despise
the superficiallity of the term, "eco-friendly." Sound like a flounder
of an idea? read on...

I'm not a tree hugger- I own a Toyota 4x4 and ride dirt bikes and, believe
me, the notion of some weak electric motor powering a rockcrawler laden
with a 1 ton rack of Duralast lead acid batteries is the first thing
that came to mind...

...but recently, I have been indirectly involved(through my dad's machine
shop, who builds the adapter plates for the electric motors) with a
guy who builds conversion kits for small, electric commuter cars. MY
sarcasm and skepticism about the gutless wonders which could only go
50 miles on a charge and would leave you stranded till the generator
truck showed up were completely neutralized when I saw a Range rover
converted to electric power. It could smoke the tires and pulled harder
than the gas one did...and got 200 miles on a charge! The Nickel-metal-hydride
batteries could be charged to 60% of full in about 15 minutes, at 1/3
the cost per mile of gasoline.

The simple advantages *I* see right away for a rockcrawler are:

No drive lines!!! the motors make so much torque at very low rpm that
one could be mounted atop each axle and geared(minimally) straight to
it's set of wheels. Or better yet, a MOTOR PER WHEEL! Who needs lockers
when you can control each wheel independently?Talk about unlimited articulation
and travel!

No clutch to slip and burn, No transmission, gas tank, transfercase, drive lines or exhaust to get thrashed
by the rocks! The battery packs now are amazingly small and light wieght,
and can be made to almost any shape...they could be crammed anywhere
you needed wieght, and would be out of the way of tires, suspension
and trail obstacles. They could be moved around if you wanted a different wiehgt distribution.

Control!! The control units for these things(like a gigantic, electronic
rheostat) are really precise, far better and more modulated than even an automatic tranny.
When the vehicle stops, the motors stop and there isn't anything to
engage or slip...only smooth, seamless torque available from RPM zero.

I think this is a viable, realistic way to still have fun and please
the greenies. Tell me what you think, and I'll see if it can be done.
I need opinions, and feed back.

Yeah, it might just be a trailer queen for now, but showing up to an
ARCA event in electric silence and waxing the Sniper and Scorpion in
flex, agility and center of gravity and zero emissions? How can they
possibly kick us off the little land we have left if we have little
more impact then a few mountain bikes?

Anyone have a donor vehicle? No running gear required!
Comments? Questions?


Tim Hillsamer


· Registered
4,675 Posts
I mentioned this half-way jokingly several months ago and got laughed at..

I think it would be great.

something else, think of a boat full of electric pleasure boats? cruise the lake in silence, THAT would be neat too.

I didnt know the technology for batteries had come so far ( I really just havent kept up)
that will throw the entire market on its ear

Go with it, got any pics of the electric range rover? ( what a terrible choice for a test platform, HEAVY)

77 CJ5, in a bunch of sanded and primered pieces

· Registered
2,547 Posts
Get duracell to sponsor it. The Duracell Jeep, just keeps going and going..

The only thing that could stop the rabbit.

'85 CJ7______T.H.O.R.
/wwwthreads_images/icons/wink.gif"To Her, OutRageous"
/wwwthreads_images/icons/laugh.gif"Tally-Ho Over the Rocks"

· Registered
6,784 Posts
That's not such a joke or stupid idea...
I know the military did some testing with electric 4X4 recon vehicles, and was very impressed.
Quiet, powerful, fast, and dual powered.
I don't know the details, but there are two dozen more on order for further testing...

I think it's a great idea. There is no reason for any rock crawling vehicle to have a 250 Horse power engine, when what they really need is torque and spin control...
Leave the high horse power gas engines for the mud bog racers and desert scramblers...

Wonderful Idea! Wonder where I can find information on it...?...

"I Have The Body Of A God... Buddha"

· Registered
6,355 Posts
/wwwthreads_images/icons/tongue.gif They just had a news spot a day or so ago about the University of Calid @ Davis Engineering Dept where they are taking some SUVs and going hybrid gas/electric. They are using full size vehicles. They showed a Suburban which was being re-powered with a four-cyl Mitsubishi engine. This same sub will have a slew of batteries built into it amidships. It's hard to believe that the sub will be able to move with all the extra weight and that tiny engine, but no doubt they've done the numbers???? Heck, I can still remember when full-size (that's all there were)cars had 80 HP...sometimes less. You didn't even THINK of challenging some of the roads we zoom over in direct drive with today's Donner Pass....without planning to spend a LOT of time in low gear, and maybe not even then. A 6000 lb Suburban is a LOT of weight for four cylinders....even with electro-boost./wwwthreads_images/icons/wink.gif

Quadra-Trac modified by the crack moonguy/wwwthreads_images/icons/wink.gif/wwwthreads_images/icons/smile.gif/wwwthreads_images/icons/tongue.gif transfer case team.

· Registered
4,675 Posts
Ive thought of this a little, i think a samauri would make a good platform..
they are cheap, realtively plentiful, and really light once you pull then engine and tranny..

I just saw the commercial on TV tonight for FORDS new electric car, pretty funny commercial, I hope they sell well

im just waiting to afford a USED electric car...

77 CJ5, in a bunch of sanded and primered pieces

Discussion Starter · #8 ·
My question is.. who will volunteer to drive this thing across the river the 1st time... LOL

Realistically... sounds like a great idea. Could set up some kind of tractoin control system, never slip a tire, do a Hummeresque Hub settup. No Axles to hang up.

sounds kewl to me

"If you chose not to decide, you still have made a Choice" RUSH

Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I'm in... for a cheap price. I think it's a great idea... Sign me up for the beta program!

My problem with electric cars is the $$$ cost involved with

A. the vehicle
B. switching your house over to being a "charger" friendly
C. I'd be driving one now if it didn't cost 40k to do it...

On a related note: Watched a Range Rover drive up the safety area in Gorman today. That thing was AWFULLY quiet for a V8... I thought he stalled as he crested a step... nope, just quiet...

I agree... a tape of my engine.........
If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything...

Discussion Starter · #11 ·
hey, honest to god, I'll volunteer my jeep. I live in Northern Illinois during the summer and go to school in Western illinois. I'd love to be a part of something like this. I saw a show on electic motors for boats, some engineer guy had rigged up a ceramic engine for his sail boat. Pretty slick, since it was about the size of a football and could push a 35 foot boat at about 6 knots. when I get the money I'm planning on going to propane, which isn't completely clean but a lot better than gasoline. The only way that non-gasoline engines are ever going to obtain some validity for use is when the public starts using/playing with them in their garages. Most innovations for the gas engine didn't start ina lab, they started in some guys garage. If anyone is interested, give me an email at [email protected] or
[email protected]. Consider this an open challenge to all you gearheads :)

MudFlap 87 YJ POS!!

Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Somebody has already built an electric rock crawler. I can't remember who it was, but at last year's Easter Jeep Safari there was an old Land Rover there which was electric powered and a very capable off-roader. It was kinda wierd just hearing the hum of the generator!


Discussion Starter · #13 ·
It definitly sounds great, less parts to break. They would have to come down to good prices before people will start to do this. It would also be great not to rely on other countries for fuel.

'83 CJ7 258 i6 31x10.5 3in. lift? /wwwthreads_images/icons/cool.gif

· Registered
401 Posts
As much as I love the song of a well-tuned gas engine, I love the idea of electric, too! The batteries are definitely the problem, though..... motors are easy. The key is "energy density". Liquid fuels have FAR more energy density than any battery yet produced. I know a guy who drives an electric MG Midget; with 8 batteries (plus one more for accessories) he can go about 50-60 miles, with performance comparable to the original. All we need is a few more years development of fuel cell technology.....


"I'm a lawyer." "Honest?" "No, the usual kind."


Discussion Starter · #15 ·
This just goes to show that electric transportation is feasible. So how come there isn't more R&D in it? More Gov't funding for R&D? How come there aren't solar cells on every roof in America? (They supplement your electric flow and with a storage medium prevent blackouts, there are ones that reduce your hot water heater workload: in short, they pay for themselves after a few years and most are warrantied for 25 years.) Why aren't there more windmill farms? Solar collectors in the desert? I'm not sure, but I'm pretty sure it's some form of conspiracy. Actually, back in Jimmy Carter's day there were solar panels on the White House. Reagan Admin yanked 'em. Don't mistake me for a greenie. I'm just a cheap-o who would like to pay less to cool my house and heat my water. Also if we used less gas (as a nation) gas would cost less (supposedly, I'm no economist but the law of supply and demand says it would be less). Also, (being in the military myself), we shouldn't have to spend so much time and money (and more importantly, American lives) on the Arab states keeping our flow of oil safe. Come on, did we really go to Kuwait because we felt the sting of injustice being perpetrated or because we didn't want our oil supply disrupted?
Does say, Tibet, have oil under it? If it did would China still control it?

Not an eco-terrorist

94YJ w/SOA, 4:11, BFG 33's and a /wwwthreads_images/icons/shocked.gif4-banger

· Registered
3,412 Posts
A local high school shop class converted a YJ to electric about 18 months ago. It ran ok but was grossly underpowered. The shape is also not the most aerodynamic either so the range was only about 50 miles per full charge. I think they removed the 4wd components to save weight, though./wwwthreads_images/icons/frown.gif

I saw a 4x4 magazine article a while back that featured a electric powered Land Rover Discovery. They showed it doing some rock crawling; they said it worked fine./wwwthreads_images/icons/smile.gif

PS The problem with electric motors is that their max torque is at 0 RPM (locked rotor) and it drops off rapidly after that.

PPS Yes, TR, I recall seeing something on TV about an electric military Hummvee; it actually bested a diesel powered one in a drag race./wwwthreads_images/icons/smile.gif

Traditionally, Jeeps have had small engines and got most of their mechanical advantage from gearing, tires and suspension. You'll recall that 134 cid L-head four,"Go Devil" 60hp and 105lb/ft in the Willys MB/ Ford GPW, for instance./wwwthreads_images/icons/smile.gif

Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I will volunteer a broken 84 Ford Bronco2. I think electric wheling would be cool except that long trips would not be feasible and weight would still be an issue.


Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I was under the impression that electric motors have full torque at all RPMs, not just low RPMs. I've heard that many times. Whoever said the torque drop off might want to check their source.


Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Actually, I think the idea of hybrids is going to really take off. We're now seeing it in little gas-sipping economy cars, but it's been around for a long time in Terex trucks & locomotives. They use diesel engines as generators, but are electrically driven. It's more efficient.


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G.U.M.B.O. Mud Racing
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