Eco Campervans Are Becoming The Vandwellers Vehicle Of Choice

Gone are the days of having to choose a gas guzzling, air polluting tiny home as your camper conversion of choice. Just as the culinary world is having an overhaul with the rise in popularity with clean eating, so too is the camper van industry, with the arrival of more and more new eco campervans heading onto the scene. We’re not just talking about expensive luxury R.V’s like the Tesla Bus either; owning an electric campervan has never been more affordable, and the number of models out there for you to choose from might just surprise you. 

Electric cars have been on the go for a while now, but for some reason, a large proportion of the general public still see them as uncool. Vandwellers are eco-conscious people; we live by the ‘leave no trace’ mantra, but that doesn’t mean that we’re not conscious about how our tiny homes look either. I’m here to tell you that eco campervans are cool and that you’ll soon be seeing a lot more of them on the roads. Whether you’re already one of our top eco campers or just an aspiring member of our Van Lifers and Weekend Warriors Facebook group, here are five reasons that will show you that Eco Campervans are the future. 

5 Important Reasons Why Eco Campervans Are Making The Headlines. 

eco campervans - solar

1. Eco Campervans Make The Most Of Free Energy

Ok, so I’m starting with a bit of a crazy point here, but just hear me out. This range of eco campervans from Dethleffs is entirely reliant on the sun for all of their charging needs, and with the entire exterior of the Class C sized motorhome being covered in solar panels, you can charge up on the go and reap electricity no matter where you are parked. Think about how many times you charge up your laptop or camera on the go. Have you exhausted all of your best power banks on the first day of your trip, or perhaps you decided to watch all of Stranger Things season two in one day and left yourself without power for the rest of the weekend. 

eco campervans - vw solar
This conversion is slightly unorthodox, but we like that the owners have at least tried to bring their green living vision to life!

In a camper like this, you don’t need to worry about plugging in at campsites or dragging an extension cable out of a strangers window so that you can pay them £20 to nab a little bit of juice. But the possibilities go much further than just charging up gadgets; these Dethleffs eco campervans eradicate so many inefficiencies by using phase change materials that absorb heat throughout the day and distribute it when the temperature drops below a certain level at night. The advanced electric mainframe in this camper also powers inferred heating panels in the walls, furniture, and floor, allowing you to heat certain objects without heating up the rest of the space in the van. To cut a long story short, there’s so much that you can do with the suns natural energy rather than relying solely on diesel or gas powered technology. Even this off grid caravan can’t compete with that.

The electric motor in this Iveco Daily campervan conversion can provide around 174 mi (280 km) of driving before it needs to be recharged. We’ve already seen a car that is powered fully by solar embark on an off grid adventure to the Antarctic, so pretty soon we might be able to charge up our camper through the week and have enough juice to hit the road for a long drive on Friday evening.

2. Eco Campervans Are Zero Emission And Tax-Free

As well as being good for the environment, eco campervans are also tax-free vehicles; that’s a saving on gas and tax now too, just think of what you can do with all of this extra money! This tag line was one of the genius sales pitches behind what was classed as the worlds first all-electric campervan, the Dalbury E-Electric. This nifty little day camper is a perfect tiny eco house for any aspiring weekend warrior or alternative living enthusiast, and it’s powerful enough to take you anywhere your heart desires. 

eco campervans - dalbury

Governments are trying to crack down on harmful emissions, so you’ll also find that there are lots of procedures in place to help you achieve a greener state of mind both on the road and in the campsite. The Dalbury E-Electric is built on a Nissan e-NV200 (which we’ll be checking out in a minute) and the boffins over at Nissan will provide you with a brand spanking new home charging unit for FREE, installed and supplied British Gas, Nissan’s official Home Charging Partner. That’s how committed the UK is to a green future, and here in mainland Europe, you’ll find charging stations in most city carparks. A fast charge unit will give you 80% charge in just 30 minutes, which I bet is a lot faster than you would have initially guessed!

3. Eco Campervans Are Functional And Cheaper Than You Might Think

eco campervans - nissan

The Nissan Camper electric range has all of the mod-cons that you might find in a VW California Camper or other similar ranges of pop top camper. They look funky fresh, and with their cool exterior paint jobs, they would look just at home on the drive of a retired weekend warrior as they would in the hands of a newly licensed digital nomad. These two vehicles above cost £15’000 each for the basic model, with a final price tag of around £25’000 for a fully converted version. The Dalbury E-Electric above comes in at around the same price too, meaning that these Eco Campervans are within most peoples budget and a great option if you’re looking for a cheap camper. 

It’s not as though they don’t come with lots of van life essentials or top cooking accessories either. The NV electric range all come equipped with a fridge, hob + sink combo, a pullout table, a pull out bed, charging ports and more. They have everything that you could need for a day at the beach or a weekend of off grid living, and the pop top makes travelling in a van much more pleasant too; nobody likes crawling around on all fours like Gollum in a tiny van!

4. Eco Campervans Are Leading The Way For New Technologies

You only have to take one look at the VW Buzz to see the potential scope for new gadgets and gear in electric campers. It seems that the possibilities are endless when it comes to adding extra equipment to make your ride more comfortable and user friendly; just take the Augmented Reality ‘Nintendo Switch style’ hand-held console in this VW concept for example, or the fact that many eco campervans have numerous functions that can be controlled via your smartphone. With a cleaner motor comes a cleaner build, and the means of integrating more technology into places where old and noisy machinery used to go. 

eco campervans - buzz vw

As I said earlier, the fact that the entire build runs on an advanced electrical mainframe means that the creators have more opportunities to be inventive with their charging ports and hands-free items, but is this because they’re trying to make eco campervans seem a lot more interesting to consumers? Who knows, and we’re still a long way off from flying into Back To The Future territory, but the VW Buzz certainly does show any eco-sceptics that going green doesn’t have to be just about vegetable patches and ditching CFC’s (although they both help too!)

eco campervans - vw panel inside

5. Eco Campervans Go Great With Electric Trailers

Just when you thought that you couldn’t get any more eco-friendly, we throw an electric trailer into the mix. Off grid trailer travel brings up thoughts a monster camper being towed by a brute like the Ford Earthroamer, but thanks to Dethleffs (see, we’ve gone full circle) there’s now a camper trailer that uses the sun to power its movement and charge up its power banks while stationary. Trailers don’t need batteries though, right? Well, this off road trailer has an electrified axle which turns the wheels of the trailer, meaning your car has about 90% less work to do, using up less fuel and energy at the same time. 

eco campervans - e coco

Electric trailers are a great choice if, like many of our readers, you simply don’t have the room to add an eco campervan into your life. Trailers are much smaller to store away, and eco-friendly ones like the E.Home Coco also reduce your carbon footprint, making you sleep easier when you eventually pick the perfect park up spot. 

Final Thoughts…

If you’ve skipped right to the end for the summary, then I’ll try not to disappoint you. In short, both vandwellers and the larger weekend warrior community are turning to eco campervans because they are cost-effective, they look a lot cooler than they used to do, and they’re much kinder to the environment. We’re not asking you to be a new age hippie and to start wearing pants made out of hemp, but we are asking you to consider the possibility of going a little greener in 2019 and checking out some of the fantastic eco-friendly vehicles that are making their way onto dealers forecourts around the world. 

Since digging deeper into the world of eco campervans, we’ve also found a couple of companies that will strip out the old engine in your Volkswagen Bus Camper and replace it with a brand new electrical system. Now you can send out good vibrations every time that you drive your retro adventure bus. Are eco campervans the future of van life? Yes. How long will it take to convince the world that we’re right? Only time will tell!

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