Product: Artec Leo
The sixth largest country in the world, Australia is spread over a whopping 2.9 million square miles. With a population of just over 25 million people, about 85% of Australia’s population lives near its long coastline, leaving plenty of open land in the center. This makes for some of Australia’s great adventures: traversing the interior of the country, or cruising along its beautiful coastline.
With all the off-road driving options available across an island so large it’s not just a country but a continent, an SUV seems like a perfect fit for the great Australian adventure; an old classic Land Rover is more comfortable here than anywhere else. But with the current fight against climate change and the push for environmentally friendly alternatives, the Land Rover has a big hurdle: the large amount of diesel it consumes and the emissions it produces.
“I’ve always loved exploring, touring and 4×4 driving, and Australia is great for getting out in the country,” says Dave Budge, General Manager of Jaunt Motors. “But I felt a bit guilty about consuming a lot of diesel in a place that has clean air and wonderful surroundings. A large part of Australia is only accessible by four-wheel drive.”
Not just to reduce carbon emissions, there are plenty of reasons to develop a new way to explore the Australian bush. “You want to listen to the birds and the wind – there’s an element that gets lost when you’re in a car because of the sound of a diesel engine,” says Budge. “I started thinking about what kind of electric vehicle I could buy.”
The start of a new company began to take shape with the following key: “Electric four wheel drive, Australians are buying almost exclusively four wheel drive, and yet there is no electric drive for 4X4s on the market.”
“Australia has some of the worst levels of transport emissions per capita in the world, and it’s not just because we drive long distances – we have very inefficient and old vehicles, and the laws don’t require regular emissions checks like they do in most of the world. countries,” Budge tells us.
But this also offers us an opportunity: “We have old cars that generate emissions. On the other hand, these old cars can be converted into electric vehicles.”
In 2018 they teamed up with Jaunt co-founder Marteen Burger and combined their knowledge and talents – Budge as designer and creative director, Burger as producer and production manager – and began to put together a plan.
“The time was right, people have been converting cars for 10 or 15 years,” says Budge. “We were at a point where it wasn’t an engineering issue – we knew it could be done – it was more of a design and user interface issue.”
“For a project like this, there is a lot of planning and multiple design phases involved, as every line, every section is taken into account…” explains Myers. “Adjusting the components, guaranteeing the separations and working on the distribution is always a challenge, which requires precise measurements and plans.”