Building a solar-powered off-road truck (based on a 712M Pinzgauer)

Build projects, things that guys have come up with to make a Pinz better (or worse?) and aftermarket add-ons.
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Project Ecarus
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Building a solar-powered off-road truck (based on a 712M Pinzgauer)

Post by Project Ecarus » Mon Sep 23, 2019 5:54 am

Starting a separate thread for our project, as suggested by @VinceAtReal4x4s:

We wanted to let you guys know that we are currently developing a solar-electric Pinzgauer. Right now, Hannes and Francois Duez (of AVS, France, AKA tech mastermind behind the electric Pinz) are burning the midnight oil to start testing the first prototype as soon as possible. Once the base vehicle is electrified and fully kitted out, we will do a major overland test expedition. Imagine the kind of autonomy you could achieve with a solar-powered 4x4 or 6x6 (in our case), away from roads and electricity grids. That's the dream we are chasing. Is it possible? Only one way to find out ;)

You may be interested in the specs of our solar system: We have developed a rig that makes a massive 13Kw solar system portable and flexibly deployable when you are parked, but fits into the Pinz weight and size wise when rolling. Our ambition and hence the system size is to recharge the 85KWh battery pack in one single (sunny) day.

There's just over 1 Kw permanently exposed (roof and one side) for a nice trickle charge and auxiliary power, and ca. 12Kw fold-out when you set up camp. Assembling this design, testing and integrating it with other charging/BMS software is the challenge we embark on right now. The panels arrived safely last week, which is a big step in the right direction.

Of course, travelling on sunshine will mean embracing a new kind of travel and really finding out the meaning behind the old saying "the journey is the reward". We'll need to plan carefully and select our camp sites accordingly, as we'll need natural "real estate" that can accommodate our chunky solar plant.

Last but not least, in case you are into automotive history: we just posted an interview with one of the "fathers" of the Haflinger and Pinzgauer - Dr. Rudolf, who was at Steyr-Puch 1955-1987 and was key to the development of both of these legends, as well as the G. (In fact, one of the first drawings of the Haflinger was his!) Yes, the gentlemen is still alive and kicking at 92, and lives not far from us here in the home of Steyr-Puch in Austria.) Spoiler alert: he is pro EVs ;)

You can check out the interview here: https://projectecarus.com/blog/meeting-mr-pinzgauer

I'm attaching pics of the test vehicle and some working designs and will keep this thread updated as progress continues. For more regular updates, you can check out our website at www.projectecarus.com and/or subscribe to our newsletter here: https://projectecarus.com/signup.

That's it for now, more to come. Please let us know what you think of Project Ecarus.

All the best,

Lisa & Hannes

PS: Please note that there are two vehicles on the pics – there's ECARUS, our yellow 712 (6x6), and there is a 710 (4x4), the test vehicle, used to configure the electric motor, battery and management system. This helps us make sure the kit will work seamlessly as a "plug and play" system in other Pinzis and also allows us to work on ECARUS' expedition shelter and foldable solar system while Francois works on the electric drive.

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Attachments
2_ECARUS_BASE.png
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3_ECARUS_CABIN.png
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6_ECARUS_Prototype_SIDE.png
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7_ECARUS_Prototyope_DASHBOARD_LR.png
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5_ECARUS_Prototype_FRONT.png
5_ECARUS_Prototype_FRONT.png (541.92 KiB) Viewed 2227 times

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VinceAtReal4x4s
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Re: Building a solar-powered off-road truck (based on a 712M Pinzgauer)

Post by VinceAtReal4x4s » Tue Sep 24, 2019 1:48 pm

Wow your page has some great photos and interview information on it! Everyone should go to it and take a look. I haven't seen some of that before.

What kind of range are you seeing with the prototype? The conversions I've seen on other cars so far seem to hit an average 125 mile (200km) mark. Why is this do you think? Maybe I'm being naive but with the SUV/Pick-up, Pinz and Syncro/Vanagon conversions, it looks like you have the option to easily carry double or more the amount of batteries compared to the common car conversions. Can't you simply add as many batteries as can be carried? The Pinz has a lot of weight capacity and room for such a small vehicle so why not double it up, or triple it? A 712 could fit so much more. Could you build sort of a false floor in the back, made of batteries, as an additional "tank"? A battery pack that raises the floor maybe 10cm so it still usable as the floor?

I think you have to hit 300 mile ranges for any 4x4 electric to start being attractive to the general market. For me, I could use that range practically, even going deep into the USA's SW desert region because I could drive there easily on the initial charge from home, then "fuel up" at one of several charging stations that are popping up in many small towns, mostly being pushed by Tesla. Of course with your solar set-up, you could do much more remote 3rd world trips, etc. but I'm curious to see how much weight you are dealing with and if you have cargo room left over for all the things you need to carry on those trips.
"For those who risk, life has a flavor the protected shall never enjoy"

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Project Ecarus
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Re: Building a solar-powered off-road truck (based on a 712M Pinzgauer)

Post by Project Ecarus » Wed Oct 02, 2019 3:27 am

You're exactly right, hitting a range of over 300 miles would be a game-changer. The reason most EV conversions hover around the 200-mile marker in terms of range is that at some point the weight of any additional batteries actually reduces the efficiency and performance of the car IE carrying the weight of extra batteries costs too much energy. And since we need to also fit a cabin and a solar system onto the truck, we need to leave room for those elements, too. We'll have sleeping berths for 3, a kitchen, a bathroom, a seating area plus the solar panels and a lot of other equipment, so, as you can imagine, the whole thing takes some thought.

The configuration we've arrived at now leaves us with enough range to travel overland (at a different pace and with more forward planning than usual) but also retains and in some areas even boosts the Pinzgauer's off-road performance. We're trying to keep as much of the original vehicle intact but are also looking forward to having instant torque, more horsepower and easier handling. It'll also be interesting to see how electrification affects overall noise levels. It won't be silent, of course, but we're hoping for a serious reduction. The prototype isn't rolling just yet, but the countdown is on and we'll know more very soon.

Project Ecarus
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Re: Building a solar-powered off-road truck (based on a 712M Pinzgauer)

Post by Project Ecarus » Fri Dec 13, 2019 2:00 am

A quick update about our solar-electric conversion: while we're building the cabin and solar rig onto our 6x6, we're simultaneously developing the electric drive in a 4x4 - mostly to avoid bottlenecks. We're very excited about the prototype, which is now up and running. We're still fine tuning the set-up but so far the performance is pretty impressive. We posted a full recap (incl. video) here: https://projectecarus.com/blog

There's still a heck of a lot to do but this is a big step in the right direction!

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Re: Building a solar-powered off-road truck (based on a 712M Pinzgauer)

Post by Project Ecarus » Mon Feb 03, 2020 2:28 am

Hi guys, we have more updates about our project. We've been testing the prototype, both on and beyond the tarmac, and we're glad to report that it thoroughly exceeds expectations. Lots of fun to play around in the rugged landscape around the workshop with a Pinzgauer that has >1000 Nm of torque, >400 horsepower and a lower centre of gravity (due to the weight of the 85 kWh battery pack). I've attached a few pictures. We've also put together a short video about our experiences so far, which you can check out here: www.projectecarus.com/blog
field test 1_web.jpg
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Fied test 2_web.jpg
Fied test 2_web.jpg (585.03 KiB) Viewed 1609 times
Field test 3_web.jpg
Field test 3_web.jpg (867.39 KiB) Viewed 1609 times

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rmel
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Re: Building a solar-powered off-road truck (based on a 712M Pinzgauer)

Post by rmel » Mon Feb 03, 2020 10:10 am

Love that dashboard :mrgreen:

Curious about the driveline mod's made.

Looks like you have eliminated the stock tranie and driving into the X-case with
the electric motor(s) ? OR is there another gear reduction in there? If not do you
find it difficult to control the applied torque -- without the tranie your running
over 5X higher gearing obviously.

At 1000Nm that's one beast of a motor or are you running two or more on the same shaft.

How about a few PIX's of what's under the dog house now ://
Puller: 71' 710K 2.7L EFI aka Mozo
Follower: Sankey MK 3, 3/4 Tonne
Rescue Pinz: 73' 712M

Driver: Ron // KO0Q

Project Ecarus
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Re: Building a solar-powered off-road truck (based on a 712M Pinzgauer)

Post by Project Ecarus » Thu Apr 09, 2020 3:48 am

Hey - yes well spotted, we removed the tranie and connect the electric driveline directly to the X-case. It's a modified Tesla Model X motor with a 1:2 reduction bolted on at the end that connects with a short custom trans shaft you see in the image (So to be precise, we have 1320Nm torque (=660NM motor x2) at the transfer case (compared to the 712 Pinz original 960Nm at the same spot (=180Nm motor x5.33 in 1st gear).
We spent a lot of time tuning how we apply the torque from zero, and it works very well now to control the Torque on hill ascent/descent etc. - at any RPM.
Our team experts at AVS are amazing at this, thankfully!

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Re: Building a solar-powered off-road truck (based on a 712M Pinzgauer)

Post by mushmasher » Thu Apr 09, 2020 6:46 pm

This is awesome. If I had more time on my hands I'd be doing something similar. Great job!

Project Ecarus
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Re: Building a solar-powered off-road truck (based on a 712M Pinzgauer)

Post by Project Ecarus » Sat Apr 11, 2020 3:28 am

Thank you, we can't wait to a.) finish the off road camper of our dreams and b.) hit the back country as soon as we are allowed to travel again (currently we're in Corona lockdown in Austria). We'll keep you posted!

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