EarthCruiser, known for its extreme-duty overland vehicles, is entering the commercial vehicle market. Based out of Bend, Ore., EarthCruiser was founded by Lance Gilles, a native Australian who has a passion for big trucks and solving problems.
Now, EarthCruiser is expanding operations with a new business unit catering to the commercial market with CORE, which stands for “Commander Off-Road Equipment.”
CORE was created to meet the growing demand for high-performing 4X4 chassis for commercial and DIY overland vehicle builder use. The first product available is a production V-8 cab-over chassis, upfitted with CORE’s proprietary four-wheel-drive system.
The world a vehicle will operate in makes a significant impact on how it is built and equipped. A compact car meant for big city driving doesn’t need the same equipment as a truck meant to get around on a construction site. Now think about what you might need to get around the Australian outback. Then add in some additional challenges like transporting criminals and those yet to be found guilty, or even refugees, all with far different rights and transportation requirements.
Gilles also has experience with Australian bush fire trucks that were built on a Mitsubishi Fuso FG chassis.
“In a bush fire, the size and speed of a truck are essential,” Gilles explained, noting that time spent having to cut a road out for a larger truck is time a bush fire is growing out of control.
Australia has different driver license requirements than we do in the U.S., requiring specialized licensing for trucks of larger weights and axle configurations. Add to this the fact that the more remote areas often staff their firefighting agencies with volunteers, and you have a unique situation for purchasing and operating trucks.
These remote Australian towns work together to purchase a truck that is run by volunteers. Because of the need for agility and ability for anyone to drive it, the size and weight of the trucks matter – and they still need to be able to accomplish the job of putting out a bush fire.
“We had interesting problems to solve,” Gilles said with a trademark smile crossing his face.
Gilles’ happy place is in a great big truck in the middle of nowhere. He specializes in building vehicles intended to traverse extremely remote locations as comfortably as possible.
The big difference between Gilles’ background and design ideas compared with the recreational vehicle industry? “If we get things wrong, people die,” Gilles said.
This is just a part of his experience, and all this passion and experience goes into the creation of his Earth Cruiser lineup and now CORE lineup of vehicles.
CORE: Made to Move
CORE’s custom-built chassis is designed to withstand an unparalleled range of environments and situations.
“With this platform, we can provide wildland firefighters with a revolutionary quick response vehicle, deliver medical care to Africa and the Asian Steppes, or ensure equipment reaches remote facilities during the harsh Alaskan winter,” Gilles noted.
And while these trucks are certainly capable, with a wide and beefy look, it can fit in a regular parking space (width-wise). The trucks are currently built on Mitsubishi Fuso FE140 or FE160 single cab and dual cab chassis.
With MitFuso’s recent announcement about ceasing U.S. production and sales, Gilles and EarthCruiser has simply found another problem to solve.
“We had already been discussing the addition of Isuzu NPR and Chevrolet LCF chassis to our lineup, this just made us work a little faster,” said Chad Knight, general manager for EarthCruiser and CORE Vehicles.
But regardless of the chassis, these vehicles won’t just be kept in the shed when not in use. With 12 mpg, they can be used for marketing and branding, equipped with a new module or upfit quickly and ready for any need. You can take it to get coffee or park it at the County Fair.
CORE trucks allow for the top utilization of an asset and can help people work comfortably in the most miserable of conditions.
The 4x4 chassis is currently available for purchase in either a single cab or dual cab. The company is in the design phase for a series of customized modules that will be able to be swapped off a chassis with ease.
These U.S. made trucks will be at home in a variety of industries and fleets, including road work, forestry, scientific research, transport housing, DIY off enthusiasts, and so much more. Great for the public sector, these vehicles can be used to grab a coffee and show off your public sector pride while still being good stewards of public funds. They are modular and useful in many agencies and situations, and they look good, too.
Ultimately, various floor plans will be offered to fit the needs of different agencies and commercial applications.
And, it’s a fully legally registered chassis, not just made of spare parts, so you get the insurance coverage and resale value you need for an excellent total cost of ownership.
Ease of Maintenance
The trucks are also extremely easy to maintain. Bring it into any repair shop, and they’ll have seen the chassis before. Every auto shop will have parts, and tires can be easily found.
“Anyone that works on trucks and cars will be comfortable with these trucks. We don’t want outrageous maintenance and purchase costs. We want it so any county or fleet operation can buy it and use it,” Knight said.
CORE Chassis are put through extensive testing to meet rigorous standards, ensuring all platforms are fully FMVSS/DOT compliant, including a full brake system certification, conductedby one of the top independent automotive test laboratories in the country. Fuel system and exhaust routing are designed to ensure the truck also stays in compliance with EPA and other standards.
The Bottom Line
CORE commercial models provide shelter and support in a range of critical ways and can be outfitted with a variety of systems, including a top-grade water filtration system and solar power generation, both necessities for extended excursions through remote areas.
Interested parties in the commercial application can purchase a CORE chassis directly to build on themselves or work with EarthCruiser to create a custom configuration to meet their unique mission requirements including forest service, Homeland Security, fish and game, remote/mobile medicine, disaster relief situations, and more.
”It’s not just an idea – we are doing this,” Gilles noted. “We are building for the future where you can buy a capable fleet vehicle that meets the value of a community.”
Gilles is leveraging his experience making people comfortable in parts of the world almost impossible to survive even with the right gear to help support more needs. “I want to do something bigger in this world; it’s all part of helping people,” he concluded.