As electric powertrains and batteries increase in scale globally, production costs come down, which opens up new markets for competitive electric vehicles. That means new markets geographically and it also means new markets in terms of vehicle classes and uses. While we’re still in the early days, one hot trend appears to be electric camper vans.
As Jennifer Sensiba wrote in a recent article, even with a Tesla Cybertruck (not yet being delivered) or Ford F-150 Lightning (not yet being delivered), pulling a trailer will eat into range so quickly that some trips won’t really be possible. A camper van, however, benefits from much better aerodynamics and much lower weight, which may make this option just the thing you want for your clean, electric, camping fun. Though, with that ideal in mind, there are a few caveats with the two new options highlighted below.
The biggest caveat with this option is that it’s only available in Scotland, and it seems to be just one electric van available to rent. In fact, PaulCamper seems to indicate that this is the only electric camper van in all of Scotland.
“Book an eco-friendly and sustainable nomadic holiday,” they write. “With nearly all overseas holiday destinations on either the amber or red travel list, there’s never been a better time to rent a Campervan to explore some of the UK’s most beautiful areas, and Orkney is no exception.” PaulCamper is reportedly “Europe’s largest online platform for motorhome and campervan sharing.”
There is a second caveat with this option. (Or third one, if you count that this EV can only be rented.) It only has a range rating of 120 miles on a full charge. So, yeah, a Tesla Cybertruck pulling a trailer will likely beat that in most conditions — and it won’t be available in the UK for a long time anyway.
The good news on this front, though, is that the UK is packed with fast chargers, and it’s relatively small geographically. “[W]ith a rapid charge in just 30 minutes at one of the 30 charging points in Orkney, you can quickly add a further 80 miles, so running low on charge never needs to be a worry.”
Before I get to the next electric camper van option, here are some details on what PaulCamper offers and recommends for this unique adventure:
“Spoot is a great option for fun days out and a comfortable night’s sleep – and it’s environmentally friendly too. Holidaying in a Campervan gives you cooking facilities on hand, a warm shelter and this all-electric Camper means no costly fill-ups at the petrol pump.
“By combining electric vehicle hire and accommodation you’ll reduce your holiday costs. You can pitch at one of Orkney’s many campsites or travel that bit further to mainland Scotland – the choice is yours. Equipment and bedding is included, while car seats can be provided for little travellers and attached using Isofix brackets.
“If gadgets are your thing, then you’ll just love Spoot! This Campervan comes with air conditioning, a 39-litre fridge which hooks up to the 12v electrics, a solar panel and a rearview camera, making parking so much easier. It also has a pop-top, a fold-out table and a comfy sleeping area.
“With interest in campervanning at an all-time high, the Highland Council has temporarily relaxed licensing rules to allow landowners to offer continental-style motorhome stopovers called Airigh. Many of these sites are free – an even better reason to head to this beautiful area.
“With so many things to explore in Orkney, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Spoot’s owners love to visit the village of Evie which is located at the northern end of mainland Orkney looking out across Eynhallow Sound towards the island of Rousay.
“Eynhallow sound and its emerald sapphire coloured water with beautiful golden beaches makes it a top spot to relax or take a dip in the sea. Alternatively, head over to the bronze age settlement, The Broch of Gurness – a village which began between 500 BC and 200 BC.
“Orkney is also a great place to see the Northern Lights, so if you’ve always fancied seeing the Aurora Borealis, make sure to visit in Autumn or Winter. Orkney really is an all-year round destination.”
Sounds pretty sweet. The Northern Lights have to be on most sane people’s bucket list (if you are a bucket-list person at all, that is — I am not, so no judgement there).
LEVC was eager and happy to claim a world first in the title of its recent press release: “LEVC Unveils World’s First Electric Campervan.” I’ll just jump straight to the caveat, though. This is not a 100% electric camper van. This is a range-extended electric vehicle. It has 60 miles of electric range, but then an option for an extra 240+ miles via a petrol-powered range extender.
While it may not be as ideal as an electric camper van with 300+ miles of fully electric range, it does have some pros. Also, given everything Jennifer wrote as well as the specs of the electric Nissan camper van noted above, I think it’s reasonable to say that this is one use case where a range extender still makes a lot of sense.
“LEVC sees huge potential across the UK and Europe and, in partnership with Wellhouse Leisure*, first deliveries of e-Camper, with an indicative list price (excl VAT) of £62,250 / €73,000, will take place in Q4 2021. Prospective customers can register their interest at levc.com/ecamper,” the company writes. “Flexibility and space are key attributes. The new LEVC e-Camper includes sleeping accommodation for four, an integrated electric kitchenette, pop-up roof (incorporating sleeping for two) and a central folding table. In addition, the campervan includes a second-row bench seat, which folds into the second double bed.
“With a class-leading tight turning circle, e-Camper is also easy to maneuver in any environment. When owners set up camp, they can swivel the first-row seats through 180 degrees and slide the second row back, creating enough room to dine and socialise around the deployable table. The pop-up roof creates standing room space for both the living and cooking areas and a single large sliding door makes entry to and exit from the living area easy.”