A new British company called Fering has launched news of an electrified pickup – the Fering Pioneer – designed for off-grid capabilities for the most extreme adventures, the company says. The Fering Pioneer is the brainchild of ex-Ferrari and McLaren engineer Ben Scott-Geddes.
The Pioneer is no larger in any direction than a typical delivery van and is actually shorter than a Ford Mondeo Estate, the company says. Power to the axles is provided solely by two electric motors. While this is unusual for an off-road vehicle, the company says they “are perfectly suited to the task,” providing instant torque (a total of 600Nm of torque).
A battery provides a zero local emission, electric-only range of around 50 miles. However, the Pioneer’s range extender generator is also available; with long-range tanks fitted, the Fering will be capable of driving for 7,000km (approx. 4,350 miles) without needing a fuel stop or recharging from the grid. If such extreme range isn’t needed for the mission, the tanks can be swapped for water to provide fresh supplies on a mission. The 800cc three-cylinder range extender combustion engine is powered by biodiesel. By operating consistently at its most efficient level, the engine generates power to run the motors and charge the battery in normal driving. This means the battery can cover peak demands for power – such as hill climbing – using energy reserves which are then replenished while the vehicle is cruising, stationary or braking.
The Pioneer’s battery cells are not the same as you’d find in a conventional EV, as the usual lithium-ion chemistry is affected significantly by extremes of weather. Instead, Fering opted to use lithium titanate oxide cells which are designed to survive extreme-weather conditions.
The dry curb weight of the vehicle is around 1,500 kg (approx. 3,307 lbs.). The company says this has been made possible by using an aluminium spaceframe with composite elements, while the exterior panels are made of tough fabric. This material, which is similar to the canvas found in high-end hiking boots, can shrug off damage, is easily replaced and has better insulation properties than metal skins, the company says. The Pioneer is also capable of carrying its own weight as a payload, with a 1,500 kg capacity.
Even with the batteries discharged, the Pioneer is expected to deliver around 50 mpg, the company says.
The first prototype Pioneer is currently going through a testing process and being assessed by early customers and organizations. Series production will start in the UK during the first half of 2022.