Constructing A Light-weight, Aerodynamic Cargo Trailer For Extra “Boots On The Floor” Protection

Again in March, I ran a profitable fundraiser to assist collect extra “boots on the bottom” protection, together with every little thing from occasions and corporations to product critiques in superior places. I didn’t meet my total purpose, however I did get sufficient raised to get a really strong begin. Since then, I’ve been placing any cash I might collectively to get the previous couple of issues collectively.

Sadly, all of that tenting and different gear is taking on a bunch of area round my home. As a result of I centered on extra of a glamping setup, with insulated Shiftpod shelters, we’re speaking a few fairly important a part of my front room! I had initially deliberate to simply purchase a small cargo trailer to maintain all of it in, and to tug behind the Bolt EAV (It’s an EUV, however I take it on adventures, so it’s now my “Electrical Journey Automobile”), however I wanted to economize and I figured I might construct one thing smaller and lighter to attenuate vary loss.

The Trailer

To economize and weight, I began out in search of a Harbor Freight trailer. They’re not the best and so they can’t deal with quite a lot of weight, however their light-weight modular building (a bunch of aluminum extrusions bolted collectively) makes for an ideal platform upon which to construct a light-weight trailer. However, they’re out of inventory virtually in all places, and even used ones had been troublesome to come back by.

Sadly, the one factor I might discover was components. Some got here from a broken trailer with no title I discovered for reasonable. Others got here used. A couple of components even got here from Harbor Freight itself. However, after a pair months of scraping issues collectively, I managed to piece a trailer collectively.

Now, the subsequent steps shall be to construct my cargo and tenting field on prime of it. I’ll be increasing the body out just a few inches on both sides to extend the inside room a bit. Then, I’ll placed on some comparatively skinny plywood decking on prime to carry all of it collectively and beef the construction up a bit. Then, I’ll be constructing a really skinny wooden body to carry all of it up and bolt issues like doorways and a slide-out kitchen onto.

Lastly, I’ll construct the outer shell with “poor man’s fiberglass,” which is a composite of froth and canvas or window display screen, glued collectively to make for a really mild however inflexible and powerful exoskeleton. Many individuals have constructed trailers of assorted sizes utilizing this methodology, so it’s a confirmed approach to save on weight with out dropping energy.

It will then be coated with Raptor Liner to maintain the climate out.

Effectivity has been factored in at each step. I’ve deliberate the general form to tuck properly behind my Bolt and reduce aerodynamic drag. Weight must be beneath 1,000 kilos loaded. It’s additionally driving on some very skinny tires that ought to get low rolling resistance.

I’ll do some replace articles over the subsequent couple weeks as I get the entire thing put collectively!

The First Journey

I don’t need to rush into an extended journey with iffy charging infrastructure after I haven’t found out what my power consumption appears to be like like, so I’m going to start out with a carefully-planned shakedown cruise. I don’t like to inform folks about journey plans forward of time for safety causes, however I’ve chosen a stretch of street with plentiful charging alternatives the place I’ll be capable to take a look at the automobile at totally different speeds.

On this journey, I’m going to attempt to load issues about like I’d for the longest journeys. I’ll have 2 or 3 e-bikes securely locked up, all tenting gear, a photo voltaic generator I’m about to evaluation, tent HVAC, and even a small fridge. I could even take a pair canine and different pets alongside for good measure.

I’ll use the OBD-II connector and have A Higher Routeplanner monitor the CAN bus for power utilization, so I’ll not solely have an ideal image of my power effectivity, however I’ll be capable to plug my future journeys in and get correct journey plans sooner or later.

One other Factor I Hope To Accomplish Right here

If you happen to learn my articles right here rather a lot, you most likely discover that I discuss towing rather a lot. However, as I identified in one other article, we are able to’t simply throw the thought of effectivity away simply because towing occurs. We merely would not have the battery provide obtainable to place a 200+ kWh battery in each driveway, and the economics of even making an attempt to try this simply don’t work out.

However, that doesn’t imply we shouldn’t ever tow. In truth, utilizing smaller and extra environment friendly EVs to tow occasionally signifies that we don’t must be driving vehicles and huge SUVs the remainder of the time. However, making that method work the way in which it must work would require environment friendly trailers, which shall be a really totally different method than many of the business is taking proper now.

It’s my hope that by constructing an environment friendly cargo trailer, we’ll be capable to show that we don’t want big, heavy trailers to do actual work and have actual enjoyable. By getting the burden down and getting the form proper, it’s doable to do quite a lot of issues with a smaller battery pack. For me, it’s going to be a 65 kWh pack, which is greater than 3 occasions smaller than many individuals assume is completely wanted.

Opinions Are A Large Half Of This

We’ll most likely get into this extra in one other article, however critiques are an essential a part of what we do right here at CleanTechnica. Whereas many critiques can occur regionally, there are numerous cleantech merchandise, particularly e-bikes, that deserve a way more in-depth take a look at away from dwelling.

If you happen to work for an organization that sells e-bikes, photo voltaic mills, or every other product that you simply’d wish to have examined on the market away from town (together with some lovely scenic locales), you should definitely attain out to us! We’re placing collectively some nice choices for firms to get an goal evaluation with out breaking the financial institution to get that executed.

Featured picture: The Trailer of Theseus by Jennifer Sensiba.


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