Published November 16, 2012
By Pete Brissette
Caption: A bank of batteries and an electric motor powers a new generation of the original monster truck. You’ve come a long way, Bigfoot.
If you’re in your late 30s or older, and watched television at least a few times a month as a kid, chances are you, along with the rest of the country, were witness to a vehicular phenomenon known as Bigfoot.
The creation of Bob Chandler, Bigfoot started life as a standard Ford F-250 4x4 that Chandler used for work and recreation. Capitalizing on a dearth of 4x4 truck parts, service and accessories in the Midwest, Chandler opened a business catering to the truck crowd, and soon was using his F-250 as a promotional showcase for the business.
Before long the world got its first look at a balloon-tired pickup with what seemed like impossibly long suspension travel.
According to Bigfoot4x4.com, the truck made its first paid appearance in 1979, and in 1981 Chandler, “just for fun,” tried his hand at crushing junk cars with Bigfoot, then later repeated the stunt for a crowd in a stadium.
That was the beginning of the monster truck craze that lasted years, wowing large crowds with massively over-built trucks racing each other over stacks of demolished cars and performing high-flying jumps.
It’s hard to believe, but the Bigfoot brand is still stomping along. And now, Bigfoot #20 as it’s known, shows that the truck’s legacy is fully embracing alternative fuel powertrains. Bigfoot has gone electric.
Odyssey Battery company, a longtime Bigfoot sponsor, supplied 36 of its car batteries to power the new truck, according to the Bigfoot Web site.
BF#20 uses a DC motor designed and built by Dennis “Kilowatt” Berube of Electrified Motorsports of Phoenix, Ariz.
The motor, mated directly to the truck’s transfer case, supplies more than 800 pound-feet of torque. A bank of 30 batteries – pared down from the donated 36 – provides 360 volts, and is encased in a clear Lexan box.
The one drawback? Fans of earlier iterations of Bigfoot powered by snarling, fire breathing engines with ear-drum-damaging exhaust notes may be disappointed a little with the new monster truck.
As is the case with almost every electric powertrain vehicle, Bigfoot #20 is virtually silent in operation.
The electrified Bigfoot doesn’t employ expensive, hi-tech li-ion or Ni-cad batteries like so many of today’s commercially available plug-in, plug-in hybrid and hybrid vehicles. Nevertheless, the truck’s comparatively simple powertrain technology is quite effective at helping this latest Bigfoot carry on a long tradition of crushing cars ...
... Cars no doubt powered by gasoline.