Maine, USA - Since joining forces to create Howe and Howe Technologies Incorporated in the early 2000s, brothers Geoff and Michael have gained notoriety as world leaders in extreme vehicle fabrication. They are also heavily involved in developing advanced robotic platform solutions and applications for the US Government. The pair believe that sharp minds, with the right motivation, can change the world.

With clients ranging from middle-eastern sheikhs to Hollywood mainstays, as well as the US Military, Howe and Howe is quickly becoming a go-to provider of mobility solutions - to get to those hard to reach places on the planet. The company’s most popular creation, the Ripsaw tank has been featured on Top Gear and it even starred in Fast and Furious 8 alongside Vin Diesel.

Earlier this year, Howe and Howe showed off its latest Ripsaw, the EV3-F1; a luxurious ‘sports’ tank that can pop wheelies, carve drifts and fly through as though it were a motocross bike instead of a 3500 kilogram slab of metal. But, the Ripsaw is only one of Howe and Howe’s creations that is attracting interest from buyers all over the world. Let’s take a look at a few of the mobility solutions that the company is specialising in for both consumers and industry:

1) Ripchair 3.0

Howe and Howe’s Ripchair 3.0 has to be one of the coolest off-road 'vehicles' ever made. The company says it has been developed with construction grade components and that it combines power, durability, and maneuverability into a sturdy and easy to control platform. Ideal for individuals that find it challenging to move around due to partial paralysis or health issues that make it difficult to walk, the patented Ripchair 3.0 can be fitted with a fixed seat or it can be customised to accept an owner’s wheelchair. Basically, back a wheelchair in, lock in, and move out.

The Ripchair 3.0 comes with right- or left-handed electronic controls, lighting packages and several add-ons for recreational pleasure. You can even spec it with fishing rod holders (ideal for Shad season) or rifle rests (ideal for hunting season). Howe and Howe note that the Ripchair off-road tracked chair has become an icon as it enables people who can’t explore on their own (because of physical impairment) to experience true freedom once again.

2) Thermite Fire Fighting Robot

Unlike the Ripchairs, which require an operator to sit in it to move around, the Thermite RS1-3 can be driven by remote control. Howe and Howe claim that it is the most capable, durable and reliable fire-fighting vehicle on the market today. “The Thermite provides safety and inside-access to firefighters working on containing and defeating fires of any magnitude or origin,” spokesmen note. They add that the Thermite gives firefighters and first responders ‘instant eyes’ inside the fire and the ability to attack the fire from its core (while creating effective stand-off to its users).

With enough power and torque to tow full hoses and dispense up to 1250 gallons per minute (4731 litres per minute) of water, the Thermite is helping fire preventers and responders to shift their tactics when it comes to combating and conquering fires. “Thermite is not intended to replace firefighters in any way. Instead, this remarkable fire-fighting robot is an advanced tool developed to assist first responders in safely and efficiently combating industrial and HAZMAT fires,” Howe and Howe representatives add.

3) Ripsaw EV3-F1

The Ripsaw has been doing duty in the military for years already, but most recently it has gained prominence as a sort of alternative-style SUV for the ultra (ultra) rich. Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, the crown prince of Dubai, for example, has one. You can get them with two seats, four seats, with aircon and satellite radio or with assault rifle holders; it’s up to you, really.

The latest Ripsaw from Howe and Howe, though, is the EV3-F1. It is a single-seat twin-track super tank powered by a Hellcat-derived Hemi engine that can produce up to 1500 horsepower (1119kW). The vehicle’s cockpit is air-suspended for ultimate comfort when bashing over dunes or rocks upward of 75 miles per hour (120km/h), and the cockpit itself  pops open like a Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor. If you want presence, and to arrive like no other person arrives then this is the ‘car’ for you.

Howe and Howe offer a few options when appointing the EV3-F1, including a diesel engine instead of the petrol Hemi-derived engine, although the oil-burner is still capable of producing 1000 horsepower (746kW). You can also opt for different final drive ratios, depending on how you plan to use the tank with top speeds ranging between 55mph (88km/h), 60mph (96km/h) or 75mph (120km/h). If you’re worried about spare parts, the tank is built using high-performance truck parts to ensure availability of repair items. Howe and Howe will gladly sell you a maintenance package as well.

Should you have a few million in the bank and you want something that can take you (almost) anywhere on earth, the Ripsaw and Ripchair can be ordered through Howe and Howe directly. Prices for the Ripsaw start at around USD500 000 (R6 665 600) for a standard model, but you can easily spend upward of USD700 000 (R9 331 840) on one after ticking options boxes for things like thermal imaging cameras or bullet-proofing.

Pity someone’s already won the R145 million Powerball, else I’d have both the Ripsaw and the Ripchair; perfect for Sandton M1 traffic.

IOL MOTORING