The first of a small fleet of classic off-roading vehicles that will be given a new life as an exciting and silent 4x4 for a new breed of Aussie adventurer. This isn't a precious Sunday drive, this e-Cruiser will be taken outback in all weather.
This old Cruiser is a bitsa. There’s been a bunch of stuff added & modified over years, but the lack of rust shows that she’s obviously been loved by a succession of owners.
Right now, this Cruiser is a really effective smoke-machine, if being covered in toxic diesel particulate is your thing. Every time we move her in and out of the workshop, there’s a risk of parts falling off due to the excessive idling rattle and non-existent suspension. Don’t get us started about highway driving.
Despite all this, she’s a lovely vehicle, reminiscent of early mornings rounding up sheep or slow drives along rocky roads to secluded beaches. There’s also a charming pull-out kill switch, which plunges you into sudden silence compared to the deafening roar of the juddering engine.
Her lucky owner spends his time organising music festivals across the country, but with a range of 500kms, he’ll use his e-Cruiser for proper offroading; think water crossings, rooftop camping and enjoying the complete silence of amazing remote places. Once converted, this will still be a bush-bashing 4x4, not a shiny show car.
The e-Cruiser is currently on the hoist at the Electric Car Café and we’re looking forward updating the project at each milestone. Sign up to our mailing list for first access to new videos and news, or if you’d like to get up close to this vehicle and our team, check out the Green Room sessions.
Step 1 - Plan
The Engineering Plan for this beautiful old classic was an in-depth discussion over several meetings with the WA-based owner, Chris.
While we aim to build a comfortable daily driver, this Land Cruiser EV conversion is a little different in that Chris wants to also take his e-Cruiser off-roading, disappearing into the bush for at least a 500km round trip. We also took into consideration his plans for a rooftop tent, drawer system with kitchen slide, fridge & drop slide, auxiliary electric systems, recovery gear & dual air compressors. Like we say, proper off-roader.
With the e-Cruiser internal combustion engine components removed, any rust spots will be treated, the engine bay will be painted & we'll start checking our measurements up for the electric motor, mounts & battery boxes.
Step 2: Tear down
As you can see from the last set of photos, the removal of ICE components from the FJ happened pretty quickly!
Once we had a clear space, we could get a good close look for any issues that might present a challenge, before getting the engine bay rust treated & repainted. The electric motor looks kind of lost in the enormous cavity left by the 3.9 litre OHV inline 6 cylinder engine that was previously smoking out our workshop, every time we had to move it, however the space will be tidied up as high voltage wiring is added.
To save the owners' sanity, we've added sound deadening to drown out those squeaks & rattles that a vehicle of this age will no doubt have, but which were never heard over the roar of the engine previously. The seats & door panels have been retrimmed in an attractive tan leather, with heating added for 'fuel' efficient comfort.