Mercedes Campervan Smart Series Could Reinvent Alternative Living

Few vehicles are as popular as the Mercedes Campervan when it comes to picking the best van to live in. It’s a well-known brand loved by camper enthusiasts the world over. They last a long time, and the designs are super easy to convert.

Mercedes recently launched plans for a new range of smart Mercedes Campervan models. They’re designed to help digital nomads with life on the move.

Picture Alexa on holiday, and you get an idea of how technical these things are.

Advancements in electric campervans are continuously on the rise. Likewise, more and more people are realising the benefits of vanlife for both holidaying and alternative living. Never ones to be seen at the back of the race, Mercedes have come up with some incredible ideas to stay one step ahead of the competition.

Mercedes Campervan Ideas – Futuristic Travel Is Just A Voice Command Away

Take A Look At The Sprinter Connected Home

Mercedes Campervan - Sprinter Connected Home with MBAC technology built in. Hexagonal side decals

When we think of a Mercedes Campervan, we think of class, luxury, and innovative design elements. The Sprinter Connected Home has all of those in abundance, providing you with everything that you could possible need for an enjoyable trip away.

Mercedes know how popular their Sprinter Camper Van is with van life enthusiasts, and they’re doing all that they can to capitalise on the vandwelling market.

The Sprinter Connected Home is a streamlined, technologically advanced Mercedes Campervan that seamlessly connects all of the driving and living aspects of the vehicle.

Sprinter Connected Home with MBAC technology built in - interior

This technological wizardry is more commonly known as MBAC – Mercedes-Benz Advanced Control. Everything in the camper is connected. It’s like having a Death Star style mainframe where all the camper’s functions have been fused into one easy-to-use system.

Except without the planet-destroying ray gun – that wouldn’t be very eco-friendly.

What Features Does This Mercedes Campervan Have?

The smartphone app used to control the MBAC inside this Mercedes Campervan

The pioneering MBAC technology this first smart Mercedes Campervan allows you to control vehicle features with a smartphone app.

And you thought the pinnacle of living was being able to boil a kettle from your phone!

Everything in the camper can be controlled from your phone. You can change everything from the temperature of the living space to the position of the awning via the touch of a digital button. Not only that, but you can change your refrigerate temperature, control your music, turn on lights, unlock the van, and much more.

Now that’s impressive!

What Other Surprises Will This Mercedes Campervan Range Have In Store?

Concept Marco Polo pop top campervan

The second of Mercedes’ smart campers takes this MBAC technology a couple of steps further. Get ready for some Altered-Carbon style features!

Meet The Concept Marco Polo, the perfect pop top camper for those millennials born in the digital age. Not only does it use a smartphone app to control all of the features, but there’s also an EarthCruiser style display in the van that you can use to change specific parameters too.

But what other parameters can you change? Well, this Mercedes Campervan is so advanced that it doesn’t even need curtains or blinds. The windows have liquid crystals inside them that can darken or lighten when commanded. I’d feel like a Jedi in this thing!

Using the app or external display, you can change the air suspension to level the vehicle without even getting out of the cab. You can also unfold the electric seat in the rear and pop the roof of the van.

But the real pièce de résistance of this Mercedes Campervan is…

Voice Control

The last thing that you want to do after a long drive is start faffing about with setting up all of the bits and bobs that make off grid living comfortable. Even when all of those features can be controlled by an app, we’d much rather just kick back and let someone else do it all for us.

Park up in this Mercedes Campervan and say the magic words, “Hey Mercedes, it’s time to chill out,” and some Harry Potter-style wizardry occurs.

The vehicle will level out on its own, and the music will turn on to your usual level in the cab. The awning will extend, and ambient lighting will gently brighten your living space.

Likewise, when you want to get up and go, all you need to do is say, “Hey Mercedes, get ready to leave.” Everything retracts back, normalizes, and turns off ready for your journey without you having to lift a finger.

The Marco Polo Mercedes Campervan will do all of this via the included Solar Power set up. You won’t need to be hooked up to an electrical supply, and it doesn’t use a petrol-guzzling generator either. It’s an easy-to-use, eco-conscious, exciting interface (I wish interface started with an ‘e’ too…).

Mercedes Are Pioneering New Fuel-Cell Technology

Concept Sprinter F-CELL Mercedes Campervan with blue decals

The German auto-masters know a thing or two about how to make their vehicles greener. But they also know that living in a van can rack up a tonne of miles, and a tonne of gas station receipts.

The hashtag #responsiblevanlife is now more topical than ever, with alternative living enthusiasts looking for new ways to ‘leave no trace’ and protect the planet while adventuring across the world. Luckily for us, Mercedes have come up with a solution.

The last smart Mercedes Campervan in the series uses an innovative fuel system that is both friendlier to Mother Nature and our wallets. It’s called the Mercedes F-CELL camper, and it’s got a few special tricks up it’s bonnet.

What Can The Mercedes F-Cell Camper Do?

Some of you may already have comes across a sample of this pioneering technology in the Mercedes GLC F-CELL. Essentially, instead of there being a great, dirty diesel engine underneath the hood, there’s a shiny new fuel cell sitting in its place.

I’m imaging the kind of thing that Luke Skywalker might have on a speeder, but in reality, it’s not quite as space-age as that.

So how does it work? Well, the fuel cells under the bonnet make electricity that power the motor. They also power the transmission, which can generate 197 brake-horsepower from the back of the van. This F-CELL Mercedes Campervan will give you an output of around 147kW. For any torque-junkies out there, that’s around 350 Nm.

I must admit that the technology in this camper blew me away when I first started researching about it. The idea is the F-CELL camper will have three tanks of hydrogen under the hood. These replace the need for petrol or diesel and will give you around 186-miles of driving.

You can, if you wish, add an extra tank at the back of the vehicle and bump this number up to a whopping 310-miles!

Plug in to a battery pack (yep, this things Hybrid too) and get another 18-miles. It’s the gift that keeps on giving… or driving in this case.

Can These Fuel Cells Power Anything Else?

It’s almost like you guys can read my mind!

The F-CELL Mercedes Campervan will provide all of the electricity that powers the appliances inside the living area too. You don’t need to weigh the build down with hefty AGM batteries. Devices such as the stove, water heater, and the fridge are all powered from the camper’s super hydrogen system. Pretty neat, huh?

Unlike the other two Mercedes Campervan models that we’ve covered in this article, it’s still unknown as to when or if the F-CELL will be mass-produced.

It’s all a little up in the air at the moment, and that’s mainly down to the availability of hydrogen fuel technology. It needs to be made cost-effective so that the end price isn’t too high for the consumer, and I’m not sure we’re quite there just yet.

Mercedes are big thinkers. They always look to the future and how vehicles might look in five, ten, or fifty years time. In this instance, I think the F-CELL might need a little more time before it becomes a reality. It’s certainly ahead of its time, but that doesn’t mean that the science behind its creation isn’t sound.

Maybe they could team up with Elon Musk to get the ball rolling a bit quicker. That guy can make anything happen!

All we can do is wait and keep our fingers crossed for more news on the F-CELL. And while we wait for the Concept Marco Polo to hit a forecourt near us, we can still make use of the incredible MBAC technology.

I’m fine pretending I’m a magician by changing features in people’s vans with a smartphone. The little nerdy things make a big difference!

Final Thoughts

Right from the announcement of the 2018 Electric Sprinter, we knew that Mercedes would be the front-runners in vehicles specifically designed for van life. The campers above take the stress out of every situation and are eco-consciously designed too.

In short, they’ve got everything you need for a modern-day off-grid adventure.

One thing that remains to be seen is how much the swanky Concept Marco Polo and the futuristic F-CELL will cost when they become available for purchase. They certainly make my homely Vauxhall Movano Camper Conversion look like an old country cottage.

The difference is, however, that my camper only cost around $7,000 (approximately £6,000) to buy and build. I might not have voice control, but I can pretty much reach a light switch from wherever I am and my phone controls the speakers.

What are your thoughts on these Mercedes Campervan models? Are they funky fresh or utterly unneccessary?

Join the conversation over on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

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