The Quebec-built Fat Truck is capable of navigating the toughest terrain
By Bill Tremblay
When Zeal Motors was created in 2018, its founders set out to solve the problem of moving people and materials to hard-to-reach jobsites.
The Quebec-based company’s solution is the Fat Truck, an industrial off-road amphibious vehicle that’s capable of tackling the toughest terrain. Last year, Zeal introduced the first model of the vehicle, the Fat Truck 2.8 C.
The vehicle is designed for industries with remote or hard to reach locations, like pipelines, utilities, wind farms and mining, as well as search and rescue.
“Up until today, there was no easy solution for transporting people on jobsites,” said Amine Khimjee, one of Zeal Motors’ three founders. “People use pickup trucks, side-by-sides and even school buses, but when it gets messy, there no way to transport people. It’s impossible.
“Where the pickup stops, the Fat Truck will continue.”
Operated using a single joystick, the Fat Truck can climb or descend 70 per cent inclines, or sides hills with 40 per cent inclines. The truck measures about 2.5 metres tall, 3.7 metres long and 2.5 metres wide.
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The vehicle is able to transport up to 8 people and travel at a maximum speed of 40 km per hour. To travel over more difficult terrain, the truck is equipped with low pressure wheels with 1 psi to 5 psi of air in the tires, that measure 1.5 metres tall by 60 cm wide.
“Since those tires are low pressure, instead of going on an obstacle and getting punctured, they go over the obstacle the mold to the object. This is why the vehicle is so good off-road,” Khimjee said.
As well, the Fat Truck’s is equipped with a tire inflation system that allows its driver to adjust the psi from inside of the cab.
“You can go from 0 psi to 5 psi in 17 seconds. While you’re driving, you can deflate in and inflate the tires depending on the terrain,” Khimjee said.
Weighing in at about 2,720 kg in a standard configuration, the bottom of the Fat truck is constructed of Hardox steel for durability, while the top is built using aluminum. The engine is located in the centre of the bottom of the machine.
“It makes the vehicle very stable because all of the weight is down,” Khimjee said.
Powered by Cat
The Fat Truck is powered by a Caterpillar 2.2-litre, Tier 4 Final four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine. A hydrostatic transmission allows independent control of the left and rights wheels. For braking, the Fat Truck utilizes the hydrostatic drive for positive deceleration.
“We’re the first ones on the market to introduce a Tier 4 Final engine into such a vehicle,” Khimjee said.
As well, the truck, equipped with a 69 litre fuel tank, uses on average 4.1 litres to 5.6 litres per hour of operations.
“That will give you a fuel economy for a full shift of work or even two days of work,” Khimjee said.
The Fat Truck is also able to travel on water, at a maximum speed of 3.2 km per hour, even while carrying its full payload of about 1,000 kg.
“No matter if its 2 feet of water or 200 feet of water, it’s floating,” Khimjee said.
Maintenance is also relatively simple. Oil changes are required once every 500 hours, and the Fat Truck doesn’t have any greasing points.
“Everything has been designed so that it’s water tight,” Khimjee said.
Built in Quebec
The Fat Truck is manufactured at Zeal Motor’s factory in Bromont, Quebec.
“The beauty of the Fat Truck is it’s a full North American product with 60 per cent of the parts coming from the U.S., the rest from within 300 miles of the factory,” Khimjee said. “Only the wheels come from outside of North America.”
The truck is also available with numerous option, including various lighting packages, amphibious trailers, a winch and vehicle remote control.
“Some people fit it with no seats, they want to put their generator or welder in the back,” Khimjee said. “It’s really like a pickup truck. Imagine everything you can do with a pickup truck, the Fat truck will do the same, and it will go to places a pick up can’t go.”