Expedition Vehicle selection thoughts?

Zybane

Member
Interesting convos and suggestions seen here. Zybane, have you come close to a decision?

Like many have said eventually you have to just pull the trigger and see where it takes you. As I have done with deciding to do a modified camper with custom bed for storage. Realizing it is absolutely not the perfect plan, but better than spinning wheels and not going on adventures. I'd rather adventure now while physically able than miss out on opportunities to see amazing things. You never know when a life altering event might happen that prevents such adventures..... Something to seriously consider. Making an informed decision that will get you 85% of what you want and not waiting too long to do it. Compromises all around, and there's no perfect solution. Even for billionaires.

Speaking of which, I'm seeing a ton of people talking about basically exploring 12 months of the year. How the heck do you afford to do that? Serious question!!
I'm still searching. But since I have been extended a year in Saudi Arabia, I have more time to research. What I'm looking for really doesn't seem to fit my budget of $250-300K. I'm also curious to see how the electric vehicle revolution will affect expedition vehicles, if at all. I don't think solar (whatever you could carry on the roof of the EV) would be powerful enough to really charge the vehicle. But imagine the almost zero maintenance and zero "fuel" bills, would be pretty incredible.

It seems like almost everything I find has one or more "deal breaker".
 

rruff

Explorer
Nope, you are definitely not going to power your vehicle with solar panels! Not unless you want to "expedition" in something like this:


I look at a lot of these fancy expedition vehicles with wonder and awe. I appreciate them as an artful engineering exercise. But at the end of the day, physics (ie reality) rears its head, and you are making some serious compromises with weight, offroad ability, clearance, and complexity... no matter how much you spend. In fact spending more can often make it worse! And you are making these compromises because of comfort and convenience. How much of that do you really need? What is the reason for embarking on this adventure in the first place?

I spent 13 years living and exploring in the wilderness in a minimally equipped 2wd '84 Toyota truck. You'd be amazed at where I was able to go with that thing. I had no problem getting to places where I wouldn't see another human. About 3 years of that time I had a woman and dog with me. With that crew we hauled 10gal of wash water and 8gal of drinking water for a week in the desert. If camping in the mountains and there was a stram or lake near, then I could forget the wash water. I had no heat or cooling, just traveled to where the weather was pleasant. S CA/AZ or Baja in winter, and would make my way up north in summer. No toilet. Used sunshowers (sparingly). Portable propane stove. No cooler or frig. I eventually got a laptop and solar panel, but that was a mixed bag. Tainted the experience to a degree.

When I started this trip I had very little camping experience and thought I'd miss all sorts of things. I didn't miss any of it. Not a bit. Less is very often more. I often think the rig I'm building now will be too much, and that's for two people full time. Compared to what I did before it will mostly have more space inside and better off road ability. But I know from experience that neither is necessary.
 

Chorky

Observer
Ruff, well said. I was about to say something similar. Of course everyone has their own desires, and their reasons for such, which is totally fine, and in many ways good as it often pushes boundaries of new research and development, and new products, etc... But like you said I think at the end of the day, simpler is often more. It does depend on the main purpose. If the purpose of this path/lifestyle is to have some crazy fancy super cool rig to show off, that's one's choice, but if it's to have the opportunity to get out more, go more places, easier, comfortably, etc...then something that can get you out there sooner than later is pretty darn important. I often get caught up myself in going overboard and wanting to have everything set up perfectly, which results in a heavy vehicle - which of course no matter how cool it is absolutely wont do well off road. This simply isn't realistic, so I must remind myself of the old saying 'keep it simple stupid', in that you don't need all sorts of fancy things to have great experiences. Heck it wasn't long ago when we were still riding around on horses!

I really do not think the electrical vehicle situation is going to be any sort of a valid solution for a long long time, for several reasons. Electric vehicles cause more pollution than conventional ones as of now, and people are beginning to catch on to that finally, which I'm sure will lower their hasty development. Of course charging is a major issue especially for 'expedition' vehicles where often times they are in climates not conducive to solar charging. But, even if that was a valid option currently, I think that if there are troubles finding a valid solution with a budget exceeding the cost of most peoples houses, then some reevaluation of priorities may be in order. If I had even 150K to spend, I could build my dream vehicle quite easily. But like I said, to each their own, and possibly there may be life issues which require such expense.
 

Buliwyf

Viking with a Hammer
Need better capacitors, not batteries, and/or fusion. Which is currently in the works. Alternative energy might be a complete waste of effort at this point.
 

rruff

Explorer
Electric vehicles cause more pollution than conventional ones as of now, and people are beginning to catch on to that finally, which I'm sure will lower their hasty development.
Don't believe everything you hear! Electric is still less if generating electricity the way we do now (mostly fossil fuels). https://cleantechnica.com/2018/02/19/electric-car-well-to-wheel-emissions-myth/

Pollution isn't caused by the car, it's caused by the powerplant... which can be changed to solar, wind, or nuclear if minimizing pollution and greenhouse gases are a priority.
 

GB_Willys_2014

Active member
Don't believe everything you hear! Electric is still less if generating electricity the way we do now (mostly fossil fuels). https://cleantechnica.com/2018/02/19/electric-car-well-to-wheel-emissions-myth/

Pollution isn't caused by the car, it's caused by the powerplant... which can be changed to solar, wind, or nuclear if minimizing pollution and greenhouse gases are a priority.
Unfortunately, the environmental impact of mining all the lithium and copper necessary for EV batteries (and all our other electronic gizmos) has to be taken into equation as well.

What is the harder on the environment: extraction of oil or extraction of lithium?
 

Chorky

Observer
Well not to hijack and end in an argument but there are some very misleading things in that article. For one it does not list factual numbers very well other than an synopsis. When assessing things like that scientific articles which explain the methods, materials, discussion, hypothesis and conclusion are necessary. But that aside, the key statement in the article is 'over the lifetime'. So in theory, aside from what GB said (which is a critical component) of the environmental impact of mining the rare earth materials for manufacturer of said components, a electric vehicle could in fact contribute to a total gross factor which is less than that of internal combustion engines. However, the technology to do so is a long ways off. The other thing to consider is the ability for a electric vehicle to be capable as, say, an old 90's era F350 or Ram 3500 is far out there in practical terms. The article also does not consider the manufacturer of the excessive plastics in newer vehicles as compared to older vehicles. Also to consider is the off gassing of said plastics and materials as compared to older metal components which have already released significant levels of their total. I have actually researched this, and its pretty astonishing really. Now I suppose if one was of city folk and only drove to the grocery store then a electric vehicle might be more reasonable; however, none of us here fit that description I don't think. The other thing to consider is the lifetime of the batteries and rare earth metals required for their manufacturer. I would venture to guess the materials are lower in quantity than the volume of oil still available. From a biological perspective, there is a limited amount of resources available on the earth. Even though we have the sun, even the sun's power (in terms of joules transferred to each successional trophic level of organic organisms and consumers from primary producers) is limited. But this limit relates heavily to energy developed through solar panels. P So even using rare earth metals to create batteries, no matter how good the technology, will eventually deplete the resource. Renewable resources are what should really be taken into consideration. Not non-renewable ones.
 

Buliwyf

Viking with a Hammer
A solar panel the size of the roof on that thing could run all my gear except AC and my compressor.

Helium is the only material I know of that floats away. Everything else is renewable, eventually.

Don't forget about the huge amount of power loss in electric transmission lines. It takes twice as much power at the generator, than it takes for your car to recharge. That's why fusion is such a huge break through. Put one in at every sub station. Get rid of transmission lines forever.

https://www.lockheedmartin.com/en-us/products/compact-fusion.html

http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/19652/lockheed-martin-now-has-a-patent-for-its-potentially-world-changing-fusion-reactor
 

Peter_n_Margaret

Adventurer
In my (very biased) view, many German vehicles (including those above) are too big, at least for many of the tracks in Oz.
Those that do venture here typically have significant tyre troubles simply because the tracks are kept clear by Toyotas and wider tracks pick up lots of new tyre destroying stakes.
That is apart from the obvious problems caused by encroaching scrub.
Cheers,
Peter
OKA196 motorhome
 

rruff

Explorer
Don't forget about the huge amount of power loss in electric transmission lines. It takes twice as much power at the generator, than it takes for your car to recharge.
8 to 15% is typically lost in transmission lines: https://blog.schneider-electric.com/energy-management-energy-efficiency/2013/03/25/how-big-are-power-line-losses/

But all this is pretty far off topic. Even though the OP mentioned it, we aren't going to be seeing electric overland vehicles for a long time. Maybe ever.
 

waveslider

Outdoorsman
I like the idea of that yellow rig above with the mounting channel along the length of the box that the marsden mats are secured to. I can think of a lot of things you could use those mounting strips with - such as securing a table, or a temp shower curtain for outside showers, or a fish/game cleaning station. Very interesting.
 
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