Oregon-based EarthCruiser Overland Vehicles just announced big changes for its 2020 EXP and FX models, making them even more capable and reliable off-road. According to the press release, a drivetrain consisting of a Vortec 6.0L gasoline engine mated to an Allison 1000 transmission with a 4WD system designed and built by EarthCruiser will be the most important change. This platform gives EarthCruiser the flexibility to adjust drivetrain parameters to make it the most capable off-road motorhome on the market. EarthCruiser also plans to release a dual cab option, providing a family friendly alternative.
“We have made some significant changes to the Fuso FE gasoline platform, and put it through rigorous testing to ensure we have the most capable, safest product available,” explained EarthCruiser founder, Lance Gillies. “We made the decision to spec our own drivetrain to give us full control over final drive ratios, transfer case reduction gears, wheel and tire compatibility, locking differentials, and braking systems. This is a different approach than what we took with the previous Fuso FG platform. We started with our end in mind, resulting in an end product that is built from the ground up to travel the world. All of this has been done without compromising emission compliance, insurance or registration requirements.”
The Vortec 6.0L V8 gasoline engine puts out an impressive 297 horsepower and 361 foot pounds of torque. This boost in power gives it better on-road and off-road performance compared to its diesel predecessor. Power wasn’t the only driver behind the change to a gasoline powered drivetrain. EarthCruiser also noticed many countries have begun increasing emission regulations on diesel engines in favor of high-efficiency gasoline and electric power plants. In addition, Fuso engine manufacturers have made it clear that because of these inherent changes, they will not invest in new diesel engine technology past 2020. So, as these regulations and policy changes continue, EarthCruiser is choosing to change as well. This allows the company to do what is best for its owners, to continue to create reliable vehicles free from limitations, regardless of global destination.
EarthCruiser worked closely with Allison Transmission to develop a program that would optimize power and fuel efficiency. This transmission program is an EarthCruiser exclusive and designed to integrate seamlessly into their custom gearing. Partnering with Trail Worthy Fab the two speed HERO transfer case has 1-1 high and 1-4.33 low gearing. Most impressive are the drive options you can quickly select using two levers in the cab: 2WD High rear, 2WD High front, 2WD Low rear, 2WD Low front, 4WD High, 4WD Low.
For axles EarthCruiser partnered with Dyna Trac to develop ProSeries 80’s Full floating axles with universal axle lengths front to rear and left to right, Warn locking hubs, and ARB Air Locker Differentials. 14-inch vented disk brakes with ABS help stop the Method 305 NV Heavy Duty 8-6.5-inch 17 X 8.5-inch wheels wrapped with Toyo Open Country M/T 37-inch E-rated tires. These components were all chosen and designed to EarthCruiser’s spec making it the brawniest mid-duty 4×4 truck available.
The increase in capacity and capability make it perfect for commercial applications that require a robust design for off-road travel. EarthCruiser has been working with vehicle up fitters in the fire suppression, electrical utility, and search and rescue industries, and using the platform to meet their specialized needs.
While the chassis received the most notable changes, EarthCruiser has also made numerous innovative leaps forward inside the living quarters. Storage was vastly increased inside and out, to make it easier to carry your recreational gear and supplies for longer trips. One large hinging door makes the under-bed storage easily accessible, and a 30-inch pull out drawer by the kitchen is perfect for storing non-refrigerated food. There is an optional slide-out kitchen on the passenger side of the truck, perfect for grilling when the weather is nice.
EarthCruiser designed a new roof, removing 150 pounds to lower the rig’s center of gravity. Integrated into the roof is a fan system that efficiently moves over 200 cfm of air keeping the house fresh and practically eliminating any condensation from occurring.
The entry way bathroom was redesigned to be more ergonomic, and provides increased privacy by utilizing a sliding wall to create an enclosed space. Another game changing innovation, which is currently in the testing phase, is EarthCruiser’s proprietary grey water recycling system. Developed with Oregon State University, this closed circuit water recycling system uses three different types of carbon filters, a UV filter, and dedicated electric hot water tank. This system significantly reduces the power required to take a hot shower, by cycling the already heated water through the filtration system, and back out the shower head. It allows for long, steamy showers, without worrying about depleting your fresh water supply.
The rig boasts 84 gallons of fresh water storage, up to 720 Amp hours of lithium power storage, and up to 800 watts of solar generation. While EarthCruiser did expand the power capacity, you won’t see huge battery storage and solar generation numbers, as with some other manufacturers. This is for the simple reason that, you don’t need it. “Our electrical systems were designed to sip power, and have numerous backup systems if and when necessary. We only select proven systems for our trucks, then test them to all the extremes to see how they perform. Only once we are happy with the result are these products chosen,” says Gillies.
With the option of a dual cab, the sleeping configuration was updated to sleep more passengers. While the rear full bed stayed the same (55-inches wide x 78 inches long), EarthCruiser made the front dinette bed larger to sleep two adults comfortably. Plus, an optional sky bed rolls out to sleep two small kids or one adult under 150 pounds. The first dual cab is planned to be built in early 2020, and more specs on this will follow.
For 11 years EarthCruiser has seen over 177 vehicles fulfill dreams of exploration from the Steps of Mongolia, to the Steens Mountain in Oregon. This was done without any major modification to the original EarthCruiser platform. Now the world is changing, and the company finds it necessary to create something new.
“We could not have been happier with the performance and longevity of the four-cylinder turbo diesel engine. Over the past 11 years, it has, and continues to propel EarthCruiser vehicles to some of the most remote destinations on the planet. While we are very happy with current configuration, we feel that that the stringent engine emission controls planned for diesel engines in 2020 will degrade the platform in a number of important ways. And while we support these environmental acts, this will result in a powertrain that is incompatible with a world class expedition platform” says founder Lance Gillies.
The 2020 EarthCruiser EXP and FX are available for purchase now at an introductory starting price of $350,000.