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Published on April 13th, 2010 | by Christopher DeMorro

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EcoRoamer RV is a Self-Contained House On Wheels, But is it Actually Green?

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.

Source: EcoRoamer via Jalopnik



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About the Author

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or esle, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.



  • Tim Cleland

    Sounds fun. He also won’t be spaceheating (or cooling) a big house while he’s away on travel.

  • Tim Cleland

    Sounds fun. He also won’t be spaceheating (or cooling) a big house while he’s away on travel.

  • John Galt

    It’s called Greenwashing. Finding a renewable fuel to waste is hardly “Green”.

    “he’ll only contribute about 10% of the emissions for a single flight of a 747 from New York to Singapore.”

    Conveniently ignoring the fact that the 747-400 passenger version can accommodate 416 passengers in a typical three-class layout or 524 passengers in a typical two-class layout.

    Greenwashing is a very popular way to justify wasting more resources on frivolous endeavors.

  • John Galt

    It’s called Greenwashing. Finding a renewable fuel to waste is hardly “Green”.

    “he’ll only contribute about 10% of the emissions for a single flight of a 747 from New York to Singapore.”

    Conveniently ignoring the fact that the 747-400 passenger version can accommodate 416 passengers in a typical three-class layout or 524 passengers in a typical two-class layout.

    Greenwashing is a very popular way to justify wasting more resources on frivolous endeavors.

  • dustin

    i love how big the tires are, id like to be able to run some 50″ tires on my truck, for off-roading

  • dustin

    i love how big the tires are, id like to be able to run some 50″ tires on my truck, for off-roading

  • douglas prince

    ehh. not impressed.

  • douglas prince

    ehh. not impressed.

  • http://www.evmeme.com Aaron

    John Galt should read the book his name comes from and wake up. This isn’t greenwashing any more than is Al Gore dumping thousands of tons of CO2 into the atmosphere so he can cruise around preaching to people the reasons why they shouldn’t dump CO2 into the air.

    What this family is doing is far greener than the average family.

  • http://www.evmeme.com Aaron

    John Galt should read the book his name comes from and wake up. This isn’t greenwashing any more than is Al Gore dumping thousands of tons of CO2 into the atmosphere so he can cruise around preaching to people the reasons why they shouldn’t dump CO2 into the air.

    What this family is doing is far greener than the average family.

  • Dusteroo

    I see countless risks and obstacles ahead. There’s a great chance he would need to stop to fuel up, when there’s no bio-diesel for miles. He could easily become stranded.

    I’ve never respected the concept of ‘bio-diesel’. It is a petro lover’s cheap attempt to make the conversion from their habitual preference with oil to something such as biodiesel that is most familiar to them of all fuel forms.

    I intended this comment to simply say, “Stupid, very stupid”.

  • Dusteroo

    I see countless risks and obstacles ahead. There’s a great chance he would need to stop to fuel up, when there’s no bio-diesel for miles. He could easily become stranded.

    I’ve never respected the concept of ‘bio-diesel’. It is a petro lover’s cheap attempt to make the conversion from their habitual preference with oil to something such as biodiesel that is most familiar to them of all fuel forms.

    I intended this comment to simply say, “Stupid, very stupid”.

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