Uh, hmm. I don’t know that I’ve ever been in a ragtop convertible and thought: sure wish this whole car was fabric. I have however been driving on a dirt road in the middle of nowhere before and wished my vehicle had no walls. Perhaps canvas exterior is close to that? Anyway, a British car startup called Fering has just announced the Pioneer—a fabric-sided truck that can handle badass terrain. And, because of that fabric, it’s crazy light for a hybrid electric truck, about 3,500 pounds or so. That means a frankly astonishing claimed range of just about 4,350 miles on a single tank of the biodiesel it’s engineered to burn. That little diesel engine is really just a 3-cylinder range extender; the real power is coming from two electric motors, one at each axle. The batteries are not the standard Lithium-Ion ones you find in most EVs and hybrids, but Lithium Titanate Oxide cells, which can handle much more extreme heat and cold.

If you don’t need to drive across the whole of continental Europe and half of Russia without refueling, you can swap out the long range fuel tanks for water tanks, or tanks of whatever you want, really.  The payload is about 1,500 pounds, roughly the same as a standard full-size truck, by the way, so plenty of carrying capacity for your friends, their friends, and the whole gang’s stuff.

“Strict design parameters dictate Pioneer is no bigger than a medium sized van in all directions, is lighter than a hatchback and yet has better carrying capacity than some trucks,” says the presser.

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The vehicle is designed by Ben Scott-Geddes, who previously helped bring supercars like the McLaren F1 to life. As such, it’s not going to be cheap. Figure at least £150,000 for the Pioneer. They’re also only going to make 100 or so of these each year.

Oh, so that fabric. Fering says it’s similar to Gore-Tex, in terms of being both waterproof and breathable. Much cheaper to replace than metal body panels, no question. And a frankly fascinating idea.

Read more about this crazy thing in the press release, here, or at Jalopnik.

Photos courtesy of Fering.


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