Go-go gadget Grand Cherokee
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Traffic jams, they’re infuriating, right? But if you owned this vehicle, you would never have to worry about them again.
This modified Jeep Grand Cherokee has one of the best go-go-gadget features we’ve seen — extending legs that push the wheels out and raise the body up so you can drive over a line of bumper-to-bumper cars.
Called the Hub Rider, it’s a working prototype you can see in action online at Driven.co.nz. Unfortunately, not all is as it seems, though.
It’s been designed by mechanical effects engineer Scott Beverly of A2Zfx — the same team that created the Red Bull-promoting Minis with the oversized energy-drink can clamped on the back.
The Transformer-like legs are extended by a petrol generator hidden under the bonnet that powers the 408kg hydraulic pumps that lift the large SUV into the air.
The system is activated by a switch on the dashboard; simply drive up to the back of a line of stationary traffic, flip the trigger and the wheels gradually sprawl out before the cabin lifts on telescopic limbs.
When fully extended, it reaches a height of 3m — although that’s measured from the top of the Hum Rider roof.
More importantly, the gap it provides below means there’s enough room to drive over a variety of other road users, including other large 4X4s. Vans, trucks, and buses may prove troublesome.
Cameras mounted to the underside of the body also let you monitor what’s going on below using a screen fixed into the dashboard, because you don’t want to trim people’s wing mirrors and scrape their roof racks.
With all the additional components and 100m of hydraulic lines necessary for the system to operate, it’s no lightweight.
In fact, it weighs a shade under four tonnes — that’s almost double the weight of the standard car. That figure is certainly not good for performance or fuel economy, but it’s also harsh on tyres.
To help it cope with the additional mass, the Hum Rider uses rubber taken from a truck that can piggyback the hydraulic system with ease.
So when can we get our hands on it to make motorway journeys more bearable? Certainly not any time soon, as this is purely a promotional stunt.
It’s been created to advertise the Hum tool; a telematics system available in the US that tracks, monitors and even diagnoses your car when something goes wrong.
It’s probably for the best. Being able to elevate your car to monster-truck proportions at the push of a button isn’t the safest way to combat congested roads.