Endurance Testing in Kalimantan, SE Asia

This expedition aimed to test and prove robustness, endurance and performance over extremes of fragile terrain during the rainy season.

We launched the 4 week expedition to West Kalimantan in SE Asia during November 2020 to test and demonstrate the capability of the Agile platform in extremes of climate, terrain and loading, amassing over 300 hours usage over 3000km travelled, most of which heavily loaded with between 1-2T of kit of produce. We used the Minerva agricultural load carrying variant in 2 flavours, one a 2-motor variant, the other a 4-motor variant.

We wanted to prove two key features; that the vehicle could cope with fragile and difficult terrain under load, and that it could do so without causing excessive damage to the terrain. Of course we could have chosen to do this in a test bog – but that would have told us little about the robustness, reliability and longevity of the machine and it’s ability to perform day-in and day-out with only the bare minimum of support infrastructure.

It was the more interesting because we hit the start of the rainy season, that part of the year where productivity of water loving crops peaks and the ability to access them drops off a cliff. This gave us the opportunity to pitch the vehicle directly into some of the most significant challenges.

Many of the plantations in the region rely on a fragile track infrastructure through regions of wood-peat. As the soil becomes sodden these tracks become bogs, progressively churned up by transit of tractors and lorries attempting to access and carry tons of produce. Maintaining access is a costly business, both in terms of resource and lost crops; we wanted to demonstrate the benefits of very low ground pressure, excellent load capacity and the ability to transit fragile terrain – even if already heavily damaged – without causing further deterioration.