Trucking off the blacktop in style
FOR many involved in road transport, time off the highway is put to good use getting out into the elements chasing a few fish or getting off the blacktop camping or four-wheel driving.
However for those wanting to get away from it all in style and not in your common-variety LandCruiser or Pajero, the Iveco/Expedition combination developed by Earthcruiser Australia should fill your needs.
Taking centre stage on the Adtrans/Iveco stand at the recent National 4X4 Show, the off-road rig drew a constant stream of visitors over the event’s three days.
Based in North Wollongong, Earthcruiser Australia specialises in the design and manufacture of expedition campers for remote areas and extended travel.
Over a number of years the company has developed its range of campers through rigorous field testing both in the Australian environment and overseas.
The Earthcruiser on show in Melbourne was modelled on the Iveco Daily Euro 6 truck chassis, which, with a 6-tonne GVM can be driven on a light or medium rigid licence. With a 3-litre power plant pushing out 170 horsepower, a 6-speed manual gearbox provides the motive power.
A 2-speed transfer case, along with front, centre and rear diff locks, gives the vehicle the capability to tackle almost any challenge off road.
Airbag suspension allows for a smooth ride, with the Quadra-flate air system allowing all four tyres to be inflated simultaneously when pressures have to be reduced.
Inside, the vehicle is fitted out to allow for long-term self-sufficient living.
Sleeping five, the camper has a full kitchen and ensuite with toilet, shower and hot water unit. Power is provided via solar panels, with an inverter allowing 240-volt connection.
Outside the camper is fitted with two spare tyres, roof racks, bullbar with LED lighting and two winches.
The truck can carry 340 litres of water and 340 litres of fuel, allowing for extended trips away from supplies.
Alex Portelli, from Earthcruiser pointed out that the model on show, like the rest of the units produced by the company, was tailor-made to customers’ requirements.
“All our trucks are purpose-built for the customer, we build to spec. We have a range of sizes – a 3.3, 3.4 and 3.6m camper – and we do all our own chassis engineering. Literally the sky is the limit as to what we can put in them. We can go as far as your imagination can take you,” he said.
The company earlier this year released the Explorer XPR440, which is based on the recently released Mercedes Benz Unimog U430, with the company also developing a smaller unit for the Mercedes Benz G-Wagon.
Isuzu and Fuso chassis are also engineered for the fitment of the Earthcruiser product, although the Iveco is a popular choice among customers.
“The capabilities of the Iveco are unbelievable,” Alex said.
“With the front, centre and rear diff locks and the two-speed transfer case, with the winch and the lockers, you can pull it up any slope you point it at,” he said.
The Earthcruiser has become a popular option for those wanting to head off the beaten track with the demand keeping the factory busy.
“We have quite a few trucks out there now. We have two in the workshop and another five waiting to be built,” Alex said.
So for those who want to leave the highway and leave the world behind for a while, the Earthcruiser might be just the vehicle to get you there… and back.
“These trucks are made to go remote – pack them up and off you go. You can sustain an outback lifestyle within a luxurious camper,” Alex said.
For more information go to www.earthcruiser.net.au.
OFF THE BEATEN TRACK: Alex Portelli with the Iveco in Melbourne.
For remote and extended trips, the Earthcruiser is hard to beat.