Wednesday, Hampton Inn, Gallup NM, 5-8PM, Elio prototype will be shown
Thursday, Hampton Inn, Flagstaff, AZ, 5-8PM, Elio Motors Three-wheeled vehicle on tour...heading to CA
My 'permie-type vehicle' is a '93 Isuzu Elf 150. It's a 1.5 ton cabover truck. 10+ foot flatbed; all 3 sides fold down. 2.8L 4JB1 naturally aspirated diesel.
Slow; it'll do 100K on the highway, but I don't like to ask for quite that much. Smokes a bit warming up. It's a RHD import from Japan, so parts and a mechanic aren't the easiest, but with the tilt-forward cab at least access is great. And it's sure not gonna win any awards for comfort on my bouncy road.
But it drinks less than 11L/100KM. It fits in most 'small car' parking spaces; it's about 2 feet shorter than my dad's extended cab Ranger, with 4 feet more bed! It's better off pavement, too; both have part-time 4wd with low range, but my Elf is geared much lower, and has far more torque available at idle.
In short, it's far more useful as a truck than the Rangers/Tacomas/Frontiers that some of my friends drive, and far more reasonably sized and efficient than a fullsize pickup with an 8+ foot bed.
I might love it a bit less if I didn't have a Suzuki Sidekick for those times I want to get somewhere in a timely fashion, or in comfort, or with more than 1 passenger...
That Elio looks like a pretty nifty commuter!
My #1 preferred idea is a http://JuicedRiders.com Electric Bike. A but on the pricey side at $2k-$3k but these babies will go 50Miles-100Miles at 20MPH and are weather proof and carry 400LB of weight, so its a lot like having a horse.
Speaking of horse, that would be a rad option too, I just need to see if it's a feasible option for getting in and out of town in the winter here.
Otherwise, if I was going to go the registered vehicle route, I would probably opt for a moped (one time registration for life/$30 per year insurance/50 miles to the gallon etc..) or a gas scooter, or an all Terrain motorcycle..
If I decide to get a car, it will probably be something that get excellent gas milage, will tow a small light weight trailer, and maybe 4 wheel drive.. Like this little Suzuki Tracker my friend is offering to sell me right now.
I have owned a minivan and I also really enjoyed that for camping and moving things too.
If money was no option, I think I would like to have a Sprinter! If it's capable of towing a yard of soil or a flat bed trailer.. that would be rad to have a custom tiny house sprinter and a flat bed utility trailer on tow.
What kind of roads? How many people and what kind of stuff do you need to haul? How far do you drive? What are your options for renting or borrowing if you need more?
Horses are good, but not cheap. Around here it will cost you $6-8 thousand for a good working team and harnesses, plus the wagon and implements. Plus they burn fuel (hay) every day whether you use them or not. You aren't going very far from home, either. 10 miles to town and back is an all day trip.
A big pickup burns lots of fuel, it doesn't make sense to drive to work everyday and only haul a load once a month with it.
An old tiny car is efficient for the highway, can carry more than you think if you don't care about the interior, but might not get through a homestead road in bad weather.
A motorcycle/moped/scooter sounds cool, saves money in gas, but can cost a lot in tires. My commute cost went down when I bought a car.
Anything that can pull a small trailer works for 90% of the homestead jobs, and often you should have a big truck for the other 10% anyway.
Start with the batteries and work your way back through the system, it is not very low impact not to mention a lot of engineering.
One could say a much more environmentally friendly option would be buy anything not new and just tune it up.
Diesel is an option but it still means having a second fuel supply to consider and again it is not very friendly for green things.
Biodiesel is a great option though especially if you can grow and process your own oil crop.
The only folks who have to worry about burning gasoline are the ones who don't convert existing carbureted, naturally aspirated gas engines to CNG or propane via bolt-on aftermarket kit.
A mostly metal assembly with a few rubber hoses that can be installed in an afternoon in a driveway.
It is kind of hard to spill some propane on the ground.
Besides, on CNG the vehicle will run at any angle, even upside down, a factor I have found to be handy a few times.
I'm waiting for Paul to post up pics of a skidded farmtruck.
And pucker factor.
Goop usually starts leaking from the PCV valve or any other valve cover grommet, if left inverted too long.
Anything loose in the vehicle, plus whatever you have in your pockets also tries to leap onto the roof.
I prefer when they just flop, as opposed to turtle.
Much less cushion to remove.
Sprinters aren't exactly the sturdiest things around, meant much more for the pavement than otherwise... a ford cargo-van isn't nearly as sexy, but it's definitely tougher... along with much cheaper!
R Scott wrote:Anything that can pull a small trailer works for 90% of the homestead jobs, and often you should have a big truck for the other 10% anyway.
The 'farm-truck' on the place I interned last year was also the owners commuter; a two-door 2001 VW Golf TDI with a trailer hitch. Amazing what you could fit in the back, and it got the job done... but it was a lot more dicey than I'd be happy with long-term. It didn't drive very well; I think the transmission was damaged from towing too heavy. They were snowed in for a week at a time in the winter, with an amount of snow that was completely inconsequential to my Delica. Also tore up the ~500M gravel driveway pretty badly getting in and out with trailers of wood, chickens going to slaughter, etc; if you didn't gun it up the slope, you wouldn't make it. We nearly got stuck en route to have a batch of broilers processed...
If I was going to go this route, I'd look for something with a big flat roof, and build a very stout cargo-rack. Much more convenient than a trailer for most things, and can do much of the same stuff.
Interestingly, a short-term tenant with a 2WD Ranger did even more damage to the driveway; without weight in the back it was nearly impossible for him to get his trailer out, and it really wasn't a steep hill.
I'm glad I have a truck and don't have to fool around with that anymore!
Stuart Pedasso wrote:Diesel is an option but it still means having a second fuel supply to consider and again it is not very friendly for green things.
I'm getting kinda attached to the idea of diesel as my only fuel, with electric for smaller things like chainsaws.
Not terribly green, but I'm not sure it's worse than propane. WVO strikes me as the greenest currently practical fuel.
If you're attached to something that only comes as a gasser, I agree that propane is preferable to gas, though. Options are pretty limited for diesel vehicles in north america, too. A propane farm truck is great if you're not going to use it often, since it's kinda an ideal fuel for longer term storage...
So with that said, the stuff I have that has no payment on it, that does what it needs to do, that gets decent gas mileage, that is ok in our climate and driveway, that is well maintained and will be with us until they quit working, at which point we will buy another vehicle that does all of that and doesn't require a payment every single month to keep.