This bizarre-looking AWD vehicle is the Adventure 1, which caught my eye because it recalls those radical Japanese kei-vans of the '80s.
It looks strange enough in that shot, but look at it from this angle:
Why on Earth is it so narrow? I did the math, and its given width is about the same as my 54" lawn mower with the chute down. "At just 64 inches wide, the Adventure 1 can access the vast network of ATV trails and remote destinations inaccessible to trucks or SUVs," explains Potential Motors, the Canada-based startup behind it. "After our Chief Scientist kept getting stuck at trails with his 4x4 Sprinter van, we developed the vision for the Adventure 1 and got to work on a vehicle to take the adventure to new places."
The vehicle, designed by industrial designer and veteran motorcycle designer Michael Uhlarik, also seems bizarrely tall; along with the narrow track and the uneven nature of off-road trails, it makes me think rollover. But the company begs to differ, citing that it's an EV. "Despite its form factor, the Adventure 1's center of gravity is extremely low due to the heaviest component, the battery, being under the floor."
So the Adventure is meant to provide trail access previously limited to ATVs, while offering the creature comforts available in a camper van: A two-person bed, 40 liters of water storage, a pull-out kitchen intelligently located in the rear (so that the hatch can act as a canopy) and even a propane-powered backup generator.
One potential issue is that it's classified as an off-road vehicle, meaning it may or may not be street-legal in your state. That means the vehicle will need to be towed or trailered to site, which means you need a second vehicle to enjoy the first. That, along with the starting price of $136,600, makes the target market more Burning Man than common man.
For now, the vehicle is still in the prototype stages.
It is cool to see the wildly different types of form factors that EV architecture opens up for automobiles, but for now availability seems limited to deep-pocketed customers. I eagerly await the trickle-down effect; I want to see fresh, experimental EV forms that the rest of us can actually afford.
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