Category Archives: Electric Motorhomes

News and reviews of electric motorhomes.

Camping in a Tesla Model S (Image: T. Randall)

I Went Camping in a Tesla

Elon Musk inadvertently spawned a subculture that’s hacking the Model S into a 21st century tent.

Camping in a Tesla Model S (Image: T. Randall)
Camping in a Tesla Model S (Image: T. Randall)

As the sun set beyond the long-needle pines and emerald waters of Lake Tahoe, I looked across the campfire and laughed out loud. I was about to go “camping” in the back of a $145,000 electric car because, well, it’s become a thing.

Tesla “Camper Mode,” as it’s often called, may not be sanctioned by the company, but a community of drivers is devoted to the practice. There are forums and YouTube videos that praise the virtues of Tesla camping and explore the hacks you’ll need to make it work. There’s even a third-party Tesla car app, with a “Camp Mode” function that will optimize the car’s systems for a good night’s sleep. This is a quirky, little Tesla subculture, and of course I had to try it myself.

I know what you’re thinking (because it was my first thought, too): Why would someone who can afford a Tesla need to bed down inside one? The last time I slept in a car was on a college road trip from Iowa to Florida, and it was a night of eternal torment, with cramped seats, suffocating heat, and mosquitoes that swarmed when we cracked the windows. Who would choose that again?

But Tesla camping promised something different. The sapphire blue Model S I was driving for the week has a 90 kilowatt hour battery—the largest you can find in a car on the road today. In theory, it should be able to handle a night of climate control and HEPA-level air filtration without much limiting of the vehicle’s range. Also, electric cars are virtually silent and release no tailpipe emissions (they don’t have tailpipes) so they won’t suffocate the camper or disturb the local fauna. As for the Model S’s panoramic glass roof, well, no tent can compete with that.

Read more: Bloomberg

Dalbury E Electric campervan (Image: Hillside)

The Dalbury E – Electric Campervan Review

Introduction

I own a T5 campervan and use it as my daily driver for getting to work and back, but the main reason for owning a campervan is for family holidays and short breaks. I have two children under 10 and my family have enjoyed touring the South of France as well as many spontaneous long weekends away in the UK. When Hillside Leisure first told me they were launching The World’s First Electric Campervan at the Motorhome and Caravan show in Birmingham I was excited. Not only do I love everything campervan and camping but I also have a great interest in all things gadget and electric – especially when they can transport you from A to B with zero emissions! Hillside Leisure invited me to the launch to take a few photos but when they asked if I would like to take it out, I jumped at the chance!

First Impressions

Coming from a background of owning a Volkswagen Transporter, my first thoughts turned to the base vehicle – a Nissan e-NV200. It doesn’t have as much history as the VW, but if anyone was going to take a campervan into the all electric age it would have to be a high tech Japanese manufacturer and I think it’s apt that Nissan brought out an electric base van. Nissan already manufacture the popular Nissan Leaf which has gained a huge EV following and this means they already know a thing or two about designing efficient electric vehicles.

Dalbury E Electric campervan (Image: Hillside)
Dalbury E Electric campervan (Image: Hillside)

On first inspection of the outside I thought the Nissan had a futuristic face with the nose showing an indication of a secret compartment and the colour choice of ‘electric’ blue was spot on. Although this was a base specification, the vehicle will benefit further from colour coded bumpers and alloy wheels as options available from Hillside Leisure. There’s not much on the outside to give the “all electric” game away apart from a few chrome badges showing “Zero Emission” and part of me felt it should have a few snazzy graphics hinting at electricity to stand out and be noticed as a pioneer and trend setter – another part of me realised that most owners would probably prefer a low profile.

Read more: Hillside Leisure Blog

Hillside Leisure to launch all-electric powered camper van

Nissan e-NV200 Electric Motorhome exterior (Image: Hillside Leisure)
Nissan e-NV200 Electric Motorhome exterior (Image: Hillside Leisure)

A DERBY motorhome firm is set to launch what it believes will be the world’s first all-electric powered camper van.

Hillside Leisure UK, based in Chequers Lane, has devised and built the vehicle, which is based on the Nissan e-NV200 electric van. The firm is now set to unveil the machine, which it says is the first commercially available camper van of its kind, at the Motorhome and Caravan Show 2014 this month.

Hillside is launching the vehicle in response to the growing demand for more environmentally-friendly vehicles that produce zero emissions. According to figures compiled by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, sales of electric cars in the UK have recently topped 10,000. They are popular because they are cheaper to run, both in terms of fuel and maintenance costs.

This year, commercial electric vans have hit the market – including the e-NV200, the van which HiIllside has chosen to convert. It has packed its van with all mod cons, including a cooker, fridge, water tank and lighting. It can provide one to four berths, with the rear seat converting to a bed.

Nissan e-NV200 Electric Motorhome interior (Image: Hillside Leisure)
Nissan e-NV200 Electric Motorhome interior (Image: Hillside Leisure)

Mark Cross, director of Hillside Leisure, said:

“We believe this conversion will be a first in the industry, indeed in the world, and the start of the electric revolution in our market.

“We went to great lengths to ensure delivery of the new Nissan e-NV200 electric van, which is the first one in the country, and we’ve used our in-house team of highly skilled craftsmen to create our unique camper van conversion.

“We can’t wait to unveil it at the show and look forward to putting it into full production next year.”

With an improving network of charging points around the UK, the company believes the time is right for an all-electric camper van.

Its model has a 106-mile range and a top speed of 76mph.

Read more: Derby Telegraph, Hillside Leisure Blog