BY JAY RAMEY: LEVC’s take on a European-style camper van, once represented here by the Volkswagen Westfalia and its descendants, is the VN5 e-Camper. The London Electric Vehicle Company revealed renderings of what such a model could look like after partnering with camping vehicle specialist Wellhouse Leisure, and it’s headed into production at the end of 2021.
A range extender helps the VN5 e-Camper go a long way, quietly.
BY JAY RAMEY JUN 29, 2021
- LEVC shows off its e-Camper concept based on the range-extended VN5 panel van, with plans to produce it later this year.
- The VN5 platform offers 304-mile total range, with help from a gasoline range-extender like in the Chevy Volt with 60 pure-electric miles.
- The e-Camper features a kitchenette, fold-out bed, pop-up top, and fold-out table inside, ready for road trips.
When will we see the first electric camper van on the market?
Based closely on the cargo van, the VN5 e-Camper will offer the same 304-mile extended range, with a pure electric range of over 60 miles. The van offers sleeping accommodations for four, in addition to a kitchenette, central folding table and pop-up roof—a formula familiar enough to those who’ve seen a modern Volkswagen T6 California. Just like in the California, the second-row bench seat folds down into a double bed.
“The campervan market is growing rapidly and, despite these vehicles being used for coastal and countryside adventures, which often include national parks and protected areas, they are still powered by petrol or diesel engines,” says Joerg Hofmann, CEO of LEVC. “This is a major conflict; we can see a shift in consumer attitudes, with demand for greener mobility solutions to help to protect and improve air quality. Our new electric, zero-emissions capable e-Camper offers the perfect solution and is well-equipped with high quality features that can be tailored to meet a range of customer requirements.”
The e-Camper sticks to genre conventions when it comes to the interior, featuring a kitchenette and a fold-out bed, with additional sleeping room for two more.
Of course, the VN5 is not a pure-electric model, so it still has a Chevy Volt-like range extender engine, but we suspect that this makes it far more realistic in this decade than a battery-electric van, which would need a monster of a battery pack to be semi-usable given the availability of charging stations in camping areas at the moment. While the VN5 cargo van won’t be cheap in the U.K. and Europe, with a starting price of £46,500 ($65,000), the camper van version seems pretty reasonable £62,250 ($86,300), given the fact that the Volkswagen California starts just below $50,000 in Europe but can break the $100,000 barrier with some options thrown at it.
There’s definitely a premium to pay for the ability to cover 60 miles on the battery alone.
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Realistically, the market for range-extended electric camper vans is still far on the horizon, since the recreational vehicle market in this country has its own repertoire and conventions, ones that often go far beyond the accommodations of California-style camper vans. So it may be a while until we see an EV van, whether it’s range-extended or not, arrive on dealer lots, and an even longer while until we see plenty of charging stations off the beaten path. Thankfully, Rivian and GMC have 4×4 models on the way that should be quite suitable for adventurers, albeit without the safety cushion of a range-extender engine.
But LEVC’s concept is an early preview of what we could see once the VW ID. Buzz arrives stateside in 2023, with camping-oriented models expected to follow later.
(SOURCE: Autoweek.com. No copyright infringement intended.)