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Off road Prius
Ultra efficient modifiable lightweight off road vehicle
Hybrids consume less gas. Hybrids are best on
roads. Even GMC
Sierra 4x4 hybrid comes with disclaimer that it's
not ideal for off road.
So make a lightweight low powered production
vehicle that can be
modified to compete with Jeeps, Hummers,
rock crawlers and sand
It can do what they do, but with a
sophisticated buzz rather than
a sooty growl. And because of
the comfort it
provides and its fuel economy, it will be able to
travel into the wilderness farther.
The hybrid concept should be ideal on mountain
roads, where there are lots of downhill
opportunities for charging batteries quickly.
It will most likely have very large, but light tires
(I'm thinking tractor
size) and be raised up on its wheels high with a
very long suspension. There is
a wide range of
options and trims as well as a lively market in
modifications to make the vehicle suit specific
For example, there is a version popular with
bird watchers and hunters alike, that has a large
roof and extra quiet tires, that allows them
to sneak up on wild
life. Another version, made for deep mud and
other soft soil, has very wide tires that allow the
vehicle to drive without sinking in.
And yet another version excels on boulders.
||I've mentioned on HB before that things like electric
forklifts employ very high-torque electric motors, and I've
long toyed with the idea of adapting one for an off-road
vehicle. Unfortunately, it wouldn't be as lightweight as you
envision; those types of motors are large, and they require
batteries the size of a dishwasher. If you do a little
reading, you'll find that it takes a lot of power to turn big
off-road tires, and the dinky lightweight motor from a
Prius wouldn't do it unless the gear reduction were so
extreme that the vehicle would move barely faster than a
crawl. Even then, the heavy-duty drivetrain components
would add a bunch of weight in their own right. Good idea,
but think it out a little bit more. Pick up an issue of '4x4 &
Off-Road' magazine and look at how heavily the trucks and
Jeeps are built, and read why they're built that way.
||As for the notion of creeping up on animals when hunting,
it gives me the impression that you haven't spent much
time hunting--you have to be very, very quiet, and able to
conceal yourself at the right moment, to stalk prey. No
vehicle could do it, unless you were at a game farm or
logging camp where the animals are accustomed to seeing
vehicles, and that's cheating. In modern hunting, there's a
tradition called 'fair chase'.
||Hunting is pretty much all about cheating. Unless you
run after the animal and strangle it with your bare
hands (Chuck Norris does this). Wimpy grub-like
humans are able to kill faster
and more alert species by cheating, or to put it
differently, by using devices such as rifles and bow and
arrows and steel wire
traps, all developed not by the hunter, but
by other humans.
||It's not like the animals also have high powered rifles
and sexy bait and all that, or, for most of them, as if
they'd even have an
interest in killing you. And if they did that interest and
succeeded, it would probably result in all the other
humans getting really upset and trying to exterminate
that particular species. We didn't particularly like
tigers walking around, for instance. Hunting without
cheating, that would be something like trying to get a
tiger with bare hands.
||So guess, I'm not a hunter - I don't kill animals for a
hobby. Not that I have an issue with hunting,
as long if the meat is being used. I think hunting is
a lot cooler than farming animals for meat.. hunted
animals live real animal lives until they're killed. But
anyway, I was thinking it would benefit the hunting
man to be somewhat inconspicuous as he drives up to
his hunting spot. No? Oh well, that's not what this idea
is about anyway.
||I don't think power would be an issue at all. Lighter
vehicles need much less power. I'm a big fan of smaller
engines. They are so much more efficient then larger
engines. We do need torque, and it's OK to turn the
engine a bit faster, and they could be made to do so
durably. It's also ok to go a bit slow through the
difficult sections. Most of the time a lot of power is
not needed. For the moments where it is, electrical
power will help.
||There's a lot of 40-50 hp tractors out there too.
Reduce the weight a lot, add gears, add a bunch of
suspension, drop on a few buckets of refinement and
some hybridness and off we go!
||// Hunting is pretty much all about cheating //
||I don't wish to derail your idea, so I won't push this point
any further after this anno, but you need to go hunting or
at least go out into the woods and try to get within 50
yards of a deer before you're qualified to make a
statement like that. Frankly, it's a little insulting.
||There are ways of cheating, like flushing or spotlighting,
but real hunters (i.e. ethical, humane, law-abiding) do not
||I hunt for meat and pelt, and I use high-velocity scoped
rifles. I don't use bait, but I don't frown on those who do;
that practice is thousands of years old. Just because
technology has surpassed flint-headed
and wooden spears does not mean that hunting has gotten
much easier. Many hunters sit in tree stands located in
carefully selected spots; location alone is a skill in its own
right. The way I hunt, by tracking an animal on the ground
and trying to get within shooting distance, is even more
challenging. I take great pains to eliminate my scent, I
have learned to move silently, hide in plain sight, and
consider my actions very carefully. I once spent over an
hour moving less than 100 yards to get a shot. Another
time, a bobcat, which is a notoriously elusive and secretive
animal, walked past me while I was sitting on a stump
about ten feet away.
||Come hunting with me, or better yet, try to hunt me,
and then tell me I'm "cheating."
||There, I'm done with my off-topic rant. Responses are
welcome, but I won't continue. Let's talk trucks.
||So as for the hybrid-electric 4x4, it's a good idea, one I and
probably many others are thinking about. You've said a lot
about reducing weight, but not about how you plan to do
so; electric motors and high-capacity batteries are heavy.
Come up with a
feature that hasn't occured to me and I'll drive over
boulders and through bogs to deliver your bun.
||THANKFULLY the sort of person who'd buy this would
leave it on the driveway for the neighbours to
assume that they're the sort of person who'd use it.
||A true 4x4 does not want to be parked indoors. The garage
is where you go when you're broken. When you are
healthy, you sleep under the open sky, and welcome the
||//Even GMC Sierra 4x4 hybrid comes with disclaimer
that it's not ideal for off road.//
||As do most SUVs. The number of 4x4s that are
actually designed for off-road use is probably roughly
equal to the number of them that are really used for
||No, a lot of people take stock 4wd pickups and SUVs that
have that disclaimer off-road. Some of them are skilled
and/or careful drivers who navigate obstacles successfully,
and others are complete idiots who, if they're very lucky,
get winched out by people like me, who have lifted,
custom-built rigs with much thought and care put into the
modifications, allowing us to drive over rocks the size of a
||I'd say roughly 1/3 of the vehicles I see on the logging roads
and trails are stock, and another 1/3 just have basic lifts
and oversized tires. The guys who own those are even
more annoying than the ones who don't know how to drive
a stock 4x4, because they think they can tackle the really
extreme terrain that heavily modded rigs like mine are
made for. They get into some boulder field and slide
sideways, their $30 lift block pops out from between the
U-bolts and suddenly the axle is sliding back and forth
under a now-useless leaf spring, the shock piston snaps
and the anti-roll bar twists into a pretzel...
||Sorry. Kind of got into a rant there.
||//Unless you run after the animal and strangle it with your
bare hands (Chuck Norris does this)//
||Actually, Chuck Norris just casually says "I'm thinking about
going hunting this weekend" and all of the animals in the
forest instantly drop dead from fright.
||[Alter] I didn't say that the ones designed for it
were the same ones that actually get taken off road,
just that the numbers are roughly the same (in other
words, a vanishingly small proportion for both).
||My misunderstanding, then. Still, I got a pretty good rant
out of it, so I suppose I should thank you.
||Having moved to the city just after leaving school,
I was accustomed to some rather rural ideas about
driving and vehicles. At the time I was 17 and was
driving a diesel
LandRover station wagon, which is a pretty
serious off-road vehicle. It was a "spare" vehicle,
so I was buying it from my
||On one Saturday morning I pulled into a service
station and was greeted by the cheery owner of
the place, who asked me if I was going "four-
wheel-driving". Thinking it a rather odd question,
I said I wasn't. He then proceeded to tell me of
the joys of taking to the bush and crossing creeks
and getting bogged, "for fun".
||I told him he had to be fucking kidding; that I
could clearly recall the last time we had got stuck
in the bush by a thunderstorm and taken 23 hours
of digging, slow driving and walking flooded creek
crossings, just to get home... and that was on a
||If there's a road, use it. If there's not; make your
way to the nearest road. Going off road
unnecessarily is like voluntarily taking a cold
shower in winter.
||'Unnecessarily' is a subjective term. Where I live, 4x4
vehicles are often a necessity, much like where you grew
up, but there are also places I like to go for fun that are
not accessible by road, and my Jeep makes the hike
considerably shorter. There are others who participate in
the well-established motorsports of dirt rally, off-road
racing, rock-crawling, and mud-bogging (very popular in
the northeastern US; the annual national championship is
held not far from my home). Is recreation a necessity? If
so, the machines required to engage in these chosen forms
of recreation are necessary.
||I agree with you, however, that going out and getting stuck
on purpose is ludicrously stupid (see 'mud-bogging'). For
me and others of similar mind, the point is to drive your
rugged and capable machine with a fine hand and a keen
eye, navigating extreme terrain _without_ getting stuck.
||// and my Jeep makes the hike considerably shorter//
Technically, it's no longer a hike if it involves motor
||What I meant is that I can get closer to my goal with a
vehicle that can handle the old skid-trails and dry
streambeds that meander through the forest, thus turning
what would be a twelve-hour hike into a two- or three-
hour drive and a
||Trucks tend to be heavy. There's a reason ATV's are so
||The Off Road Prius would compare to a super customized
Jeep somewhat like a late model BMW motorcycle
compares to a West Coast chopper.
||Would you care to explain that comparison a bit?
||I'd back my 1942 Willys Jeep against most modern
4WD units, in most conditions. Light weight and
loads of torque are preferable to the big, lumbering
off road shitboxes I see passing our place every
||Hell, I'd put your Willys at 1:1 against my modded-to-the-
moon XJ. Ain't nothing like the real thing.
||As a fellow Jeeper of mine once said, the bigger they are,
the harder they crawl.
||On the other hand, I also drive an M35, which doesn't so
much crawl over extreme terrain as it does just ignore it
||The old Jeep is fun. I've brought it up to show
condition, so we can use it during ANZAC Day
parades and such.
||However, I don't go bush-bashing much, as it just
doesn't appeal. It's hard on vehicles and I really don't
enjoy digging myself out of mud and sand.
||[UB] I'm coming to Brissy in 2 weeks. If you can get the Willys parade-ready you can meet me at the airport. If not, I guess it is Black & White Cabs who get the glory again.
||I can catch up with you. What's the occasion?
||My dad has the Jeep at the moment. He used it in
the Townsville ANZAC Day parade. They had some
celebrations for the Coral Sea Battle anniversary.