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Old 12-31-2015, 01:00 PM   #3 (permalink)
Lurking Eco-wall-o-texter
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: MPLS, MN area
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Well, an off-road EV makes plenty of sense if you a) are not building an insane mega-wheeler, and b) can get the range up to about 60 miles, then it's on par with current lower-end factory-built EV's. Mostly I want to drive an FJ40 again but don't want to do fuel-burning if I can avoid it. Mine was stock, I don't intend to go above ~33" tires for quite a while as I've no time/budget for extreme stuff. I could probably get away with as little as 40 miles winter range, so long as I can keep the glass defrosted and myself from freezing. 2-3 Volt/Leaf packs would do the range job, so it's not totally out there.

Getting to the trailhead would be a problem, yes. Aside from a tow rig (needed if I want to go the camper route anyway, that depends on what the rest of the family is willing to put up with for camping) my current "plausible/doable" idea is an engine/automatic transmission in a trailer, driveshaft-coupled to the rear output on the transfercase. Basically, a stock used automatic 2WD truck driveline, complete. Could possibly repurpose the front framerails of the vehicle it came in... Might need a reverser, but those are available. Not a pusher - uses the driveline in the vehicle itself. Remote controls for the throttle and trans and I'm good to go. Patterned after the driven trailers used with some big military trucks and/or the various PTO-driven gensets/tools that can be towed behind large tractors, etc - but with the mechanical power flow reversed.

The less plausible option - but would be totally awesome and would require naming the truck "Minn-Kota" or getting a license plate "MNKOTA" or similar - is to adapt a water-cooled Honda/Suzuki/other outboard motor (of the sort that uses a modified car engine and is 4-stroke and fuel injected) to use a radiator and mount it to a replacement bumper-mounted swing-away tire carrier type thing. Appearance would be very important - it must retain stock-like external appearance, though I'll need to tap in to intercept the cooling water that normally goes down the exhaust, possibly add more thermal insulation around the no-longer-cooled exhaust or tap it to come out before it enters the lower unit, a dummy/not coupled prop would be MANDATORY, etc. There are diesel ones, too, for extra crazy. And again, adapt it to the rear output on the transfercase. No good for low speed work, but it is a "ride the highway and save the battery charge" idea.

Just picture an FJ40 barreling down the freeway with an outboard motor hanging off the back, sounding like a muffled outboard motor...

The outboard idea is rather out there, and since it only came up as an idea after I considered how to get into one of the 4x4 magazine's pavement/off-road journey/competition things that requires 100 mile range and no trailer, it is unlikely to happen due to the other expensive things that such contests also require.

Both ideas require a regen-capable EV driveline in the FJ40. Since the use-case points to dunkings/mud/etc then a sealed motor is preferred, so an AC solution looks really good - even if air cooled it is easier to seal something you don't need to get into to service that often (for brushes). It is a solved problem to provide filtered dry air to a submerged 4x4 - snorkel.

Anyways, mostly I want a fun commuter vehicle, and I miss my FJ40, and I hate burning fuel all the time. I'm due a mid-life crisis vehicle...
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