Torsus is a 4×4 off-road land brute and it may be coming to the United States

By | September 14, 2023

torso 4x4 campers and buses

Torsus hopes to transform overlanding in the United StatesTorso

  • Torsus is a European bus and van manufacturer that creates 4×4 haulers and campers that can go anywhere.

  • Torsus wants to enter the U.S. market but needs a partner to help it meet U.S. specifications and to provide sales and support here.

  • Prices would likely start in the six figures as early as 2025.

The great thing about pies in the sky is that they are sooooo delicious.

Consider the Torsus 4×4. They are currently on sale in Europe and are used everywhere from humanitarian work in Ukraine to regularly transporting tourists up and down the volcanic slopes of Mount Etna in Italy.

They’re definitely the biggest, meatiest four-wheel-drive buses and campers in the world, unless you count those converted ex-military vehicles you sometimes see at the Overlanding Expo, and maybe even then.

Torsus has been in business since 2016, in collaboration with MAN and VW, on whose four-wheel drive platforms Torsus builds its heavy four-byes. Torsus just this morning announced an expanded collaboration with MAN to continue building large buses.

Most of those big brutes, nicknamed Torsus Praetorian as if they were Greek gods of off-roading, are 35-passenger buses for those times when you tell your passengers, “Where we’re going, we don’t need roads. “ There are many places around the world where you could use a fleet of these.

Torsus says they will deliver “to the nearest seaport,” after which they would presumably be taken wherever they needed to go, road or roadless. If you owned a ski resort or an adventure glamping resort, or a very distant mining or oil exploration conglomerate, you would want a fleet of these.

torso 4x4 campers and buses

The Torsus Praetorian rides on a MAN 4×4 truck chassis, but can be configured however you like. Here it is a camper, but it can also be a 35-passenger bus. The photo above is the VW based Crafter van.Torso

The largest bus, the Praetorian, is based on the updated MAN TGM heavy-duty chassis, which is built at the MAN plant in Krakow, Poland, and transferred to the Torsus plant in Starachowice, also in Poland.

There, Torsus adds 780 components, including 900 feet of shaped and welded steel tubing and 775 pounds of stamped sheet metal to take MAN’s raw chassis and powertrain and turn it into the bus, ambulance, mining rig, in the camper or whatever you want. I need it to be. The Torsus website offers several camper layouts for the big bus, making any Class A camper you just spent half a million dollars on obsolete, at least off-road.

These rigs are currently powered by MAN’s 6.9-liter diesel, feature air suspension, air brakes, and feature front and rear storage lockers that ride over a foot and a half of ground clearance for the virtual untamability of the desert dirt.

The other configuration is based on Volkswagen’s Euro-spec Crafter 4Motion chassis, which is somewhat similar to the Mercedes Sprinter van in size, shape and purpose. Many of these are converted into campers (or glampers if you add enough stuff), but Torsus can turn them into anything you want.

However, and here comes the fly in this off-road ointment, these things may never make it to our shores. But don’t let that stop you.

torso 4x4 campers and buses

Underneath is the MAN chassis and powertrain – everything else was added by Torsus.Torso

“We are really looking at how to enter the U.S. market,” said Vakhtang Dzhukashvili, chief executive officer of Torsus. “Certification is a story, but we also want to get it right – we won’t get a second chance to make a first impression. That’s why we want to find the partner to do it with.

“Not just sending the vehicles here from Europe… we want to have the proper certification for the engine, the emissions certification… to meet all the U.S. standards. And we want to find the right partner for after-sales and the sale itself. Because without after-sales, as we know, it can be a good story, but not long-lived. That’s why we now focus primarily on finding the right partner. And with this partner we want to reach the entire scope of certification.”

One potential U.S. corporate tie-in for the big bus is Navistar.

“It’s not decided at the moment, but there are some discussions with them about joining their chassis to our body,” Dzhukashvili said.

At the same time there is the electric possibility. “Yes, of course, Torsus will eventually be fully electric,” Dzhukashvili said. “We are working on it in the background, but due to the difficult general conditions of use of the vehicle, longer tests and different types of tests are required compared to normal all-road electric vehicles.”

Several years ago MAN announced plans to convert all of its heavy-duty vehicles to electric drive, with electric buses and trucks for all applications, making it easier to pass U.S. EPA regulations. Likewise, Volkswagen has been producing a fully electric e-Crafter van since 2018, which would meet at least all US EPA emissions requirements.

As configured now, the e-Crafter is meant for commercial work in the city, with a small 35.8 kWh battery giving the VW e-Crafter a range of just 100 miles and a 134-hp motor suitable for a maximum speed. of just over 60 mph. That’s even with a 3,760-pound payload and 3,930 cubic feet of interior cargo space.

Any US-spec electric adventure vehicle would need a larger battery, a more powerful electric motor, and many other improvements, but other applications such as local buses, ambulances, or other commercial vehicles could, at least potentially, run on an e- Existing Crafter. It would just have to be converted to US spec to be sold here. A date for such a conversion has not yet been announced, but “…e-Terrastorm will be confirmed for sure and will come slightly earlier than an e-Praetorian,” Dzhukashvili said.

torso 4x4 campers and buses

The Terrastorm is based on the European-spec e-Crafter commercial vehicle, which is also available as an electric vehicle.Torso

So while EPA clearance is at least plausible, DOT crash certification is a whole other enchilada, with all those different side marker lights, specific airbags, and compensated frontal collision standards to meet.

And even if electric drive isn’t possible, Torsus vans and buses could still be made with diesel powertrains if a suitable partner that complies with US specifications could be found.

While the US market has huge potential for all Torsus bodies, we love our campers here in the US.

“We see high potential in the US market and it’s fun, but (the Torsus Terrastorm camper) is generating as much traffic from the US to our web page as from the rest of the world combined.”

So let’s hope something can be resolved. Who knows? Maybe by 2025 all these overlanders will be clamoring for Terrastorms and Praetorians. Let’s hope so. And camping.

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