In October our family visited the Motorhome and Caravan Show at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC), Birmingham. Although we have a general interest in motorhoming, and have taken a number of holidays by motorhome, I had a particular aim to see the new all-electric Dalbury campervan being launched by Hillside Leisure.
It is claimed to be the World’s First Electric Campervan, and is based on the Nissan e-NV200 electric van which is itself derived from the Nissan Leaf electric car. From a little bit of Googling it does seem like it really is the world’s first production campervan, in other words if you exclude private conversions of conventional campervans.
I was pretty impressed with it as a package. There are the usual driver and passenger seats up front, except that the passenger seat is able to rotate around to face the rear. The large sliding door on the left side provides good access to the central ‘lounge’ area; here there is a large bench seat with two seatbelts that folds down to convert into a bed when required.
Along the inside wall opposite the door are the camping facilities inside a fitted wooden unit. Top left is a cutlery/storage drawer which slides to the left to reveal a twin gas ring stove; underneath this is the fridge. Top right is the sink with hot and cold taps; below it is storage. Further right/back are the electrical sockets and controls with more storage below. Opening the rear doors provides access to the gas bottles and water tank.
Above the lounge is a pop-up roof that provides enough room to in the vehicle to stand up. In addition, bed boards can be fitted so that two people (realistically, children) can sleep there, so providing the vehicle with 4 sleeping berths in total.
Overall, we were very impressed with the Dalbury. It would be ideal for a couple to use for motorhoming though, at a push, it could take a family of four (at least if the children are young). It certainly represents an attractive idea: take a touring holiday, driving from one campsite to another each day, charging up overnight, and never paying for fuel!
Even better, I think it would be a good daily driver that also holds the promise of weekending away whenever you want, particularly for a couple. It’s small enough to be a primary vehicle, with parking being straightforward so it can be used for shopping and other errands. Unlike other campervans the fuel cost is so low that you wouldn’t hesitate to use it for commuting. Come the weekend you put in your bedding and fill the fridge and you can weekend away at virtually no more cost than staying at home.
We liked it a lot, and are looking at opportunities for hiring it to try it out ‘in the wild’. Roll on the good weather!