Many of us have often dreamed of traveling the world one way or another. I usually dreamed about it during math class. But say you’re someone who takes the environment and your carbon footprint into consideration. How would you cross the globe without creating a huge footprint from all the flying, staying in hotels, and eating out all the time?
You could do what Jay Shapiro and his family are doing: build an “EcoRoamer.” This massive truck is a self-contained house with a Caterpillar biodiesel engine, solar panels, water purification, and accommodations for four. Jay is embarking on an epic journey that will take him across five continents and tens of thousands of miles on the vacation of a lifetime.
Now you might be asking yourself, “How green could a mammoth vehicle like that possibly be?” The EcoRoamer is indeed huge; based on a Ford F650 heavily modified for four-wheel drive, it sits awfully high off the ground as well. It is powered by a Caterpillar C7 diesel engine that makes 350 horsepower and 850 ft-lbs of torque. Why a Caterpillar engine? Jay and his family are going to be travelling through many destitute countries where fancy car parts aren’t readily available. But Caterpillar sells construction products in 130 countries, so finding parts for that engine will be a lot easier.
With an estimated driving weight of 34,000 pounds, the EcoRoamer is only going to get about 6.5 mpg. That means the dual fuel tanks, holding a total of 130 gallons of up-to B100 biodiesel (where available) is only good for about 845 miles. And not every country Jay visits will have biodiesel available. Still, he estimates that in two years of driving across the world, he’ll only contribute about 10% of the emissions for a single flight of a 747 from New York to Singapore.
The camper itself is made from 80% aluminum, and many of the inside surfaces are covered by PlyBoo, a synthetic bamboo plywood. Solar panels provide auxiliary power for the mile-wide WiFi access… cause ya gotta have internetz. There is a master bedroom for Jay and his wife, and two single beds for the kids above the cab. A composting toilet ensures they don’t dirty any camping sites with their own emissions, and a NASA-designed water purification system could hold 150 gallons of fresh water. There is a full kitchen, and a pop-up vent acts like a scoop, drawing in cool air to ventilate the camper. On the flip side recycled foam insulation and a water heater powered by the engine keeps them warm in the winter. Jay estimates your own EcoCamper would cost about $275,000, which isn’t that bad considering how self-contained it is.
So what do you all think? Green? Not green? Somewhere in the middle? Either way, I think this is about the coolest way to see the world. For more pictures make sure you check out Jalopnik.