One of the things that makes life on the open road so endlessly interesting is that it is forever changing. Satellite phones, solar panels and internet hotspots are just a handful of the innovations that have revolutionised the Big Lap in recent decades.
And, if you travel long enough, what is new eventually becomes old … and what was once unthinkable becomes the new norm.
And, so it is – perhaps – with battery-powered cooking. Could the era of gas – or even the campfire – as the cooking king of the bush be about to be ended by new battery technology?
If so, then it is exciting devices like the Morphcooker that will be eventually remembered as the trailblazers of this brave new world. The team behind the Morphcooker is now raising funds to put the portable electric camping stove into full accessoriesion. The device looks like a shallow frying pan but it has height-adjustable sides that can transform it from a griddle to a pot.
The clever bit is that the bottom of that pan sits on top of an integrated electric heating element, making it a self-contained cooking setup. When it’s time to cook, the device can be hooked up via cable to an external 14-centimetre-long battery bar.
Designers say its battery has 16 cells, where each is 2600 mAH at 3.7 volts, with two parallel groups of eight in series, for a total of 29.6 volts at 5200 mAH. On that basis, and allowing for heating losses, it is calculated that heating 500ml of water from 25C to 100C with a single element will take 12 minutes, and with two elements, it will take six minutes.
The experts say that battery life will be 26 minutes at 100% power and 52 minutes at 50% power. It can be recharged from portable solar cells in around seven hours. The Morphcooker comes in two sizes.
The Solo measures 120mm x 120mm and the Family size 200mm x 200 mm. The smaller Solo model is expected to cost around US$96.
So, is this just an interesting little diversion or the start of something big? Only time will tell. However, even if battery-powered cooking doesn’t emerge to take over the Outback cooking world, it may still have a part to play in really wet or really windy conditions.