British adventure vehicle start-up Fering has begun the second phase of development for its electric pickup, the Pioneer, having secured funding. Thanks to this cash injection, two more prototypes can be built, which will be made to the specifications of Fering’s first confirmed customers. They will be ready in early 2023 to be evaluated by the first customers.
As Fering noted, obtaining finance is often the toughest part of any niche vehicle program, but investors were captured by Fering’s business plan and the capabilities of the Pioneer prototype demonstrated at test days.
Phase one of prototype analysis involved months of shakedowns at Millbrook Proving Ground, mainly in the off-road and military test areas. Pioneer Prototype #1, as it is known, is currently being stripped down to check, measure, and upgrade the components.
Fering founder Ben Scott-Geddes said, “Driving over the obstacles showed the very good natural ability of the Pioneer in severe off-road conditions. It was able to traverse all the physical standard obstacles we tried without any issue, including those intended to challenge much larger and extreme military vehicles.”
The aim is to put the Pioneer into low-volume production in late 2023 or early 2024, followed by larger scale batch production in 2025.
Fering uses fabric instead of metal for the body panels for its insulation properties and because it is lightweight but strong and easy to repair. The team were somewhat nervous about gaining customer acceptance on this element, but according to Scott-Geddes, everyone who has seen it in action has been fully convinced.
Scott-Geddes said, “In fact, we are planning on expanding the use of the fabric to other parts of the vehicle, such as the inner wings, where we are sure it will have excellent noise insulation properties in addition to saving weight and complexity.”