Dr Egon Rudolf, also known as ‘Mister Pinzgauer’, was one of the driving forces at Steyr-Puch, a man who spent his entire working life in the service of the Austrian carmaker. He started out as a graduate at the company’s manufacturing plant in Graz, in 1955, and retired as its director, in 1987. Thanks to an uncanny coincidence of the kind that happens in small towns, I was lucky enough to meet him in person and talk to him about the history of the Pinzgauer and the auto industry itself.Read More
So this is what the first steps of a solar-electric truck conversion look like... At least, that is, when the truck in question is over 35 years old and still needs a full refurb. We wanted to give Project ECARUS™ the best possible starting point, so we had to take it back to bare basics first. Starting from scratch is always a little daunting but we hope this ground work will pay off in the long run. Don’t miss the photo gallery at the end of this post to get a better idea of what we’ve been dealing with!Read More
Project ECARUS™ is based on a 1983 Pinzgauer 712M, a beautiful mechanical wondermachine made in Graz, Austria, by Steyr-Puch. A very popular off-roader in the civil defense industry across the world, it spent its life in Oman – doing what Pinzgauers do best: ride off-road across the least forgiving terrain imaginable.
In its new life as the world’s first solar-powered expedition vehicle, ECARUS will be doing the same - but with a fully electric drive, a massive solar system and a three-year old on board (as opposed to 14 army troopers). To give our project the best chance of success, we need to go back to bare basics first, and work off the signs of 36 years of tough going across deserts, mountains and river crossings. We are undertaking a full overhaul of body and drivetrain, along with all other major mechanical components, to have the best possible starting point for this old truck’s solar-electric makeover.
This video introduces the project and marks the beginning of this automotive experiment. Is it possible? Only one way to find out ;)