EarthCruiser has been trying to tackle the van life phenomenon for quite a while now. In the US, that originally meant developing the full-size truck-based EXD, before reworking its pickup-chassis expedition vehicle into the less van-like Terranova. But customers still pined for something a little closer to an all-terrain camper van, EarthCruiser-style. The Oregonian company is now answering the call with the Ford Transit/Mercedes Sprinter-based Evado. The new all-earth cruiser marries the comfort and tech of a van cab with the kinetic articulation and tall, straight-walled living space of the company’s well-traveled fiberglass modules.
Prior to 2023, it had been a few years since we’d put boots in the dust of Overland Expo. One thing that surprised us this year was that the van life aspect of the show seemed to have shrunk compared to previous shows, displaced largely by an upswing in truck campers and pickup toppers.
EarthCruiser was one of the few brands to buck the trend – sort of. Its Evado isn’t quite an actual camper van, and EarthCruiser didn’t have a physical example to show at Overland Expo West, choosing instead to let the word slip to some booth visitors ahead of a more formal announcement this month.
In announcing the Evado, EarthCruiser noted that the typical American all-wheel-drive camper van relies on a unibody van straight from the factory. By contrast, EarthCruiser specializes in building entire motorhome modules and not simply converting preexisting vehicle interiors. So it took care to get its hands on a bare chassis cab in order to take advantage of the more rugged ladder-style frame that extends back from the driver’s cab. That frees it from the confines of the van body and lets it mount its own living module.
“For years, we’ve had inquiries from customers wondering why we don’t offer an EC model built on a van platform when seemingly everyone does,” explained EarthCruiser co-founder Lance Gillies. “Now, with Ford and Mercedes offering cab-chassis options for the Ford AWD Transit and Mercedes AWD Sprinter in the United States, we are confident we can produce true overlanding capable vehicles on a van platform.”
EarthCruiser believes a combination of van cab, ladder chassis and its fiberglass module affixed via kinetic mounting system will offer the familiarity and drivability of a van with better off-road capability. That setup also promises to offer a larger, more discrete living space with two separate sleeping areas.
EarthCruiser hasn’t released any specs just yet, but it confirms that the Evado will carry over the living module from its existing FX truck. It says the module will seamlessly fit the Ford Transit AWD and Mercedes Sprinter AWD cab chassis.
The FX box is the fixed high-roof solution that does away with the pop-tops used on other EarthRoamer models. It will make the Evado similar to the fixed-high-roof adventure vans common across the US overland market.
The basic FX floor plan looks like above, but EarthCruiser says that it will add new features to the Evado version, including interior bicycle storage and a stand-up passthrough between driver’s cab and motorhome. It remains to be seen if the company reshuffles the floor plan to accommodate the new addition, but we’re pretty confident the Evado will have EarthCruiser’s signature entryway bathroom.
We’ll take a closer look at the Evado once EarthCruiser finalizes layout and specs and/or debuts the first complete vehicle. Overland Expo West was merely the first in the annual four-show Expo series, so maybe it’ll even happen sometime soon. EarthCruiser already plans to reveal its Hummer EV camper pickup at Overland Expo Mountain West in August.
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