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January 2009 4x4 News - RPM

Posted in Project Vehicles on January 1, 2009
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Jeep To Build Electric Wrangler?
Chrysler recently announced three electric vehicle prototypes, one of which will be produced for the 2010 model year. One of the vehicles being studied for production is an electric Wrangler Unlimited. The Jeep EV development vehicle is a range-extending electric vehicle that provides a glimpse into the future of a "Go Anywhere, Do Anything" vehicle with Jeep Wrangler capability. The Jeep EV combines the Wrangler's unmatched off-road capability with the ultimate "Tread Lightly!" mindset by providing the ability to roam the planet with much reduced impact at the same time. The Jeep EV Range-extended Electric Vehicle uses an electric motor, an advanced lithium-ion battery system, and a small gasoline engine with an integrated electric generator to produce additional energy to power the electric-drive system when needed. The 268hp electric motor generates 295 lb-ft of torque. With approximately 8 gallons of gasoline, the Jeep EV has a range of 400 miles, including 40 miles of zero fuel-consumption, zero-emissions, all-electric operation. The instant high torque of the electric-drive motor and the ability to precisely control each wheel independently results in off-road capability ideally suited for the Jeep brand, without compromising on-road driving capability and is something we have been interested in testing out for years. We only have one request: Can we call it a JkWh?

Warn Celebrates 60th Anniversary With Limited Edition Winch
Founded in 1948, Warn Industries has gone from a small shop in the Pacific Northwest to a worldwide leader in off-road products and accessories. To celebrate the company's 60th Anniversary, Warn is releasing a limited-edition version of its iconic M8274 electric winch, called the M8274-60. For decades, the M8274 has been a favorite of off-road enthusiasts because of its fast line speeds, extra-long rope, and exceptional durability. The limited-edition M8274-60 will have all of these renowned features, plus some unique upgrades including: 150 feet of lightweight synthetic rope with a versatile 360-degree swiveling hook; a polished-aluminum hawse fairlead; a sealed contactor for outstanding reliability; a revised metal clutch lever; and a powerful new 6.0hp motor with cooling fins. The winch will wear a black powder-coated finish and have commemorative Warn 60th Anniversary badges. Only 250 units will be produced, each one individually numbered.

Quinn Lakes Is Outstanding
More than 50 off-road enthusiasts and members of the Ottawa Valley Offroaders club gathered August 25 in Renfrew, Ontario, Canada, to celebrate as BFGoodrich Tires named the Quinn Lakes Trail as one of its 2008 Outstanding Trails and awarded the club a grant. Located between Calabogie and Ompah, Ontario, the Quinn Lakes Trail is a forest trail that gives the wheeler several options, depending on driver skill and experience. The BFGoodrich grant will be used to preserve the trail system and continue conservation efforts for one of North America's premier areas for off-roading. BFGoodrich Tires, working in conjunction with Tread Lightly! and United Four Wheel Drive Associations (UFWDA), chose the Quinn Lakes Trail because it provides riding opportunities for many skill levels on varied terrain-rock, dirt, mud, and hills. The Ottawa Valley Offroaders club is a non-profit organization and supports Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) recreation within the spirit of Tread Lightly! The club works in conjunction with other area clubs to assist in the maintenance and preservation of existing 4WD OHV opportunities and the creation of new opportunities where possible. Launched in 2006, the BFGoodrich Tires Outstanding Trails program is dedicated to the responsible use and preservation of off-road trails while providing aid in the trails' conservation efforts. Over the past two years, the Outstanding Trails program has recognized 11 off-road trails in nine states and two in Canada. The program has also given $42,000 in grants to clubs and seen more than 1,700 participants in trail events.

VW Concept Hints At Entering Pickup Fray
Volkswagen recently unveiled a pickup truck concept in Germany that hints at an upcoming global production truck. While the concept has a rescue theme, some elements of the production vehicle can be seen through the eye candy. For instance, the pickup has a 5-foot bed with hidden storage. Styling is inline with VW's family face, looking much like a tough Golf, but photos also show a solid rear axle to support VW's claim of 1-ton capability. Rumors hint that VW will call the new truck "Robust" or "Taro" and there is a chance it will come to the U.S.

XV-JP Is First Camper To Traverse the Rubicon
EarthRoamer's self-contained XV-JP, based on the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, has become the first camper to traverse the infamous Rubicon Trail. One of the most difficult and definitely best-known 4x4 trails in the United States, the Rubicon Trail in the California High Sierras is a proving ground like no other: Twenty-two miles of extreme terrain including rocky climbs with massive boulders, narrow passages, steep inclines, and an occasional mud-hole. The EarthRoamer XV-JP did not disappoint on its namesake trail. With its aggressive 33-inch mud-terrain tires, ultra-low 5.13:1 gearing, locking differentials, and stout skidplates, the EarthRoamer XV-JP camper has gone where no camper has gone before. Other amenities of this ultra-capable expedition vehicle include a queen-sized bed in the electronically expandable loftop, a large onboard refrigerator powered by a built-in 80-watt solar panel, and sanitary facilities including toilet, sink, and shower with hot and cold running water worked great too. Testing has taken the XV-JP prototype from its homebase in the mountains of Colorado through the jungles of Central America, the deserts of Moab, and now the Rubicon trail. EarthRoamer XV-JPs are now in full production and are built to order in Lafayette, Colorado. More information is available at

Land Use Notes
Federal Agency Wheelers May Gain Access to 2 Million Acres in Utah
Nearly 2.1 million acres of land in central Utah would be open to off-highway vehicles (OHVs) and energy development under a proposed resource management plan issued by the federal government. The land is controlled by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) Richfield office and located in Sanpete, Sevier, Wayne, Piute, Garfield, and Kane Counties. Among other actions, the plan would permit substantially increased OHV use in the Factory Butte badlands area, which has been subject to restricted access due to concerns about endangered plants. The BLM is in the process of issuing six separate land-use plans that will determine how 11 million acres of agency-controlled Utah lands are managed over the next 10-15 years. Plans covering the Moab and Kanab regions have already been drafted, while plans for Monticello, Price, and Vernal are still being prepared. All plans are subject to public comment. The SAN continues to supports rational land-management decisions that provide balanced protection with opportunities for quality recreation experiences.

Quick Hits
* Pricing for all-new 2009 Dodge Ram 1500 will start at $22,170.
* International has quietly killed its consumer mega-haulers-the CXT, MXT, and RXT.
* The light-duty Toyota Tundra diesel has been postponed due to concerns associated with high diesel fuel prices and market volatility.

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