By Holger Dielenberg
Do you want to be one of the first people in Australia to drive a battery-powered 4×4 for as little as 50 bucks? Well now you can.
Jaunt is a new Melbourne startup working out of Space Tank. They up-cycle iconic old four-wheel-drives and turn them into an electric vehicle car rental network to help explore Australia.
Jaunt aims to bring electric four-wheel driving to the masses through a unique “distributed manufacturing model” that will allow community groups around the country to purchase an electrified Land Rover Series vehicle and rent it out to customers.
Their first electric vehicle, called Juniper, is a 1971 Land Rover Series IIA that is soon to be equipped with a tried and tested NetGain Hyper9 AC motor that makes a claimed 100kW and 235Nm. It will use five Tesla Model S battery packs and will have an expected range of around 200km.
Once Juniper has been completed it will be made available for test drives, as well as marketing and promotion of the Jaunt concept.
Jaunt’s founders, Dave Budge and Marteen Burger said, “Jaunt is one small piece of Australia’s future tourism and transportation puzzle, a piece that sparks the imagination. We believe the desire to get out of the city, to explore, for four-wheel drives even, can be a catalyst for transforming our relationship with normal vehicles into something that has a positive environmental and social impact.”
Jaunt will salvage four-wheel-drives from farms and back sheds and install an electric motor and batteries, then place these cars in some of Australia’s most pristine locations (like Margaret River, Byron Bay, Victorian High Country or Uluru ) for people to explore.
“Part of the reason we’re using old Land Rovers is they’re everywhere,” says Jaunt founder Dave Budge. “They’re pretty simple… and electric motors are too – the internal combustion engine is the most complex part of a car.”
Jaunt’s aim is to build electric conversion kits that can be installed into Land Rover Series vehicles by specialists all around the country, giving as many people as possible the opportunity to experience an electric vehicle for themselves.
“There are mechanics, auto electrical guys and engineers all across the country who are way more than capable of doing this work, so if we can create something where we can build a kit, provide the engineering and the quality control, and then partner with communities who can do the labour, do the work, run and support the installation, it ticks a lot of boxes for them as well,” explains Budge.
The cost of charging an electric car is crazy cheap. Free if you’ve got solar. There are hundreds of charge points already in Australia with all states installing dc fast chargers boasting charge times as low as 4 minutes achieving over 500kms of travel per charge.
The savings on your wallet and for the environment are so obvious it makes you feel like fossil fuel corporations have had us pulled over a barrel – for decades now. (Excuse the pun)
Jaunt have just launched a crowdfunding campaign to fund her electric conversion where you can test drive Juniper or rent her for day/weekend/week. You can play an important part in creating Jaunt’s first fleet of electric vehicles – that look and feel like what you’d expect from a 4WD built for Australia, without harming the environment.
Here at Space Tank, we love Jaunt’s vision for a 100% clean energy future and we think they’ll make an awesome positive impact needed on Australian tourism and motoring industries.