It stands to reason that the next big revolution in the RV world is electrification. Yet unlike their commercial and consumer equivalents, camper vans and recreational vehicles have very different demands on power, range and space. What might suit a short-range city delivery service won’t necessarily suit a long-range, off-grid camping vehicle, where survivability is key, and the reliability of a gas-powered generator will always trump a solar array. Nevertheless, the market is changing and EV camper concepts and actual products are starting to appear. Here’s our selection of what to look out for in the world of zero-emission van living.
Electric camper vans: new products and concepts
ElectricBrands XBUS Camper
The diminutive XBUS is a multipurpose platform designed by German company ElectricBrands. It’s available as a regular van, pick-up, catering truck, passenger vehicle and camper, and the company is currently taking orders.
The camper variant is available in both standard and off-road configurations, with sleeping space for two formed from two add-on camper modules, both of which feature extendable living space. The standard battery promises a 200km range, although extended capacity is also available.
XBUS Camper, from €29,727.73, ElectricBrands.de
VW ID.Buzz Camper from DVAN
Way back in 1972, Volkswagen created its first modern electric vehicle, the e-camper, a T2 Transporter fitted out with a tonne of batteries and a 43 mile range. Times have changed. Although the cmopany is committed to creating an electric camper out of its acclaimed ID.Buzz, it looks like it’ll release a hybrid version of its California camper first and foremost.
As a result, aftermarket conversions have got there first. DVAN’s take on the camper starts with the Buzz Pro, which transforms the Buzz Cargo Commerce into a four-berth EV, and can also be based on the ID.Buzz Life model. You get VW’s solid build quality, over 200 miles of range, a pop-up roof and kitchen.
Buzz Pro Camper, DVAN, from £79,000, BuzzCamperVan.co.uk
German van conversion specialist Alpincamper claims to have made the very first conversion of the Buzz, with this sleekly designed two-berth model that makes the most of the interior space with an aesthetic that mirrors the Buzz’s chunky, soft-edged interior scheme. The company claims the conversion doesn’t dent the Buzz’s maximum range of around 248 miles.
Alpincamper ID.Buzz, from €83,999, Alpincamper.de
Detroit-based start-up Grounded has shaped its forthcoming G1 electric RV around the quotidian form of the Ford E-Transit platform, the first EV version of this commercial stalwart. Aimed at the American market, the G1 places an emphasis on space and function, with a modular interior system that can be upgraded over the lifecycle of the van.
The downside to including a Queen-sized bed, integral toilet and fully equipped kitchen is a range of just 108 miles. A towable trailer based on the modular system is also in the works, and the company – which counts alumni from SpaceX and Rivian amongst its ranks – also has a G2 model in the works.
Grounded G1, price tbc, GroundedRVs.com
As the name suggests, this is all-American brand Winnebago’s second electric camper concept, also based on the Ford E-Transit (the company says it is ‘actively pursuing’ range extension opportunities to incorporate into a future commercial version). In addition to the electric powertrain, the eRV2 is a showcase for sustainable and recycled materials, as well as a layout tailored to working on the road.
The interior is calm and refined, according to ‘Japandi’ design principles, the weirdly popular term for a mix of Japanese and Scandinavian principles. It’s a far cry from the fussy country kitchen style (complete with artificial fireplace) that you’ll find in the company’s flagship $450,000-plus Journey.
Winnebago eRV2, concept only, Winnebago.com
The Wedge by Space Campers
Another company hoping to make a killing from an as-yet untried product is California-based Space Campers. The company has designed the Wedge, a ‘clip-on’ attachment that transforms Tesla’s much-delayed Cybertruck into a pop-up RV. Following the faceted, retro-future style of the truck itself, the Wedge features a large bed/seating area in the upper level, with kitchen and dining down below.
Space Campers surely won’t be the only company looking to add new functionality to the Cybertruck, but it’s one of the first on the scene. Expect similar add-ons for forthcoming electric trucks from Canoo, Telo and Rivian to start surfacing soon.
The Wedge by Space Campers, price tbc, SpaceCampers.com
Tonke EQV Nomad
Tonke’s new EQV Nomad is a minimal camper conversion for Mercedes’ EQV electric people carrier that doesn’t compromise its passenger-carrying abilities. A folding double bed is created from the seats, along with a slide-out kitchen module, while an optional pop-up roof creates standing space, as well as the ability to add two more berths.
Space-saving measures are everywhere, including an optional drawer storage system that slides out of the rear tailgate. Maximum range for this converted Mercedes is said to be in line with the standard EQV’s, or around 224 miles.
Tonke EQV Nomad, from €77,019 ex VAT, MyTonkeEQV.com
Potential Motors Adventure 1
The Adventure 1 is one application of Canadian start-up Potential Motors’ new EV platform. Built around OROS – its proprietary Off-Road OS – the platform uses an array of sensors to allow the truck’s suspension to take it places a regular vehicle can’t go.
In the case of the camper, this means getting way off the grid, a feasible option in a zero-emission vehicle. High ground clearance and a spacious interior are complemented by a pull-out kitchen and a gullwing main door that doubles up as a canopy.
Adventure 1, price tbc, Potential Motors, PotentialMotors.com
Porsche Taycan with Porsche Roof Tent
Porsche’s recent realisation that even sports-car drivers like the occasional spot of camping saw it launch a dedicated roof tent for its models. Mounted up on the roof-rack and accessed via a ladder, the folding tent bears distinctive Porsche branding and folds down into a hard shell case that also contains the integrated access ladder.
Inside there’s a polyfoam mattress, two side windows and a rooflight. For the ultimate – and fastest – zero emission way to camp, slot one of these on top of a Taycan, preferably the incredible Taycan Cross Turismo (which sadly has to be bought separately).
Porsche Roof Tent, available from Shop.Porsche.com
Mercedes Concept EQT Marco Polo
While others transform its new breed of EV vans into campers, so far Mercedes has only trailed the prospect of an electric version of its excellent Marco Polo camper. This model is a micro camper by most standards, with room for four at a push, but best thought of as a relatively luxurious space for two.
The Concept EQT previews the forthcoming machine, with a fully removable interior – the Marco Polo Module – that transforms it from camper into van when required. Whether the production version will include this level of flexibility remains to be seen.
Mercedes Concept EQT Marco Polo, concept only, Mercedes-Benz.co.uk
Škoda Roadiaq Concept
Škoda has already demonstrated its one-off Enyaq iV 80 FestEVal roof tent camper, but this student project takes that idea still further, adding an all-new roof structure and a finely crafted multifunctional interior that includes a kitchen and a full complement of leisure accessories.
The Škoda Roadiaq is a fully functional concept made by 29 students from Škoda’s Vocational School. Solar cells help supplement the power supply for equipment like the built-in 27in monitor – aimed at those who want to live and work on the road.
Škoda Roadiaq, concept only, Skoda.co.uk