LEVC is calling it the first electric campervan, albeit that’s not exactly true as conversions have been available for some time. The other factor in this is that the e-Camper uses a range-extender system, enabling a very useful battery-only range, but with a petrol engine to keep it moving when the battery is spent.
Being based on the VN5 – the van version of the best-known LEVC, the TX London taxi – means that there’s 5.5 cubic metres of space and up to 830kg of payload potential to play with. To make the e-Camper even more versatile, the company is adding a pop-up roof which adds both headroom and space for two people to sleep.
In total, four people can sleep in the e-Camper with the other two located in the versatile living space where a second-row bench seat folds out into a double bed. In addition to this, the firm has managed to squeeze in a kitchenette, powered by electricity so no gas or oil is required, and a central folding table. Both the driver and passenger seat rotate to face rearwards, creating a comfortable living space.
A sliding door on the side and large rear hatch adds to the flexibility of the space, whilst the e-Camper will have a range of racks for bikes and other cargo to be carried. Conversions are undertaken by renowned, UK-based specialist, Wellhouse Leisure.
Range extenders have never really caught on in the same way that PHEVs have, but they have merit. In LEVCs case, their common powertrain combines a 33kWh battery with a three-cylinder petrol engine from Volvo. On battery power, the e-Camper should be capable of around 60 miles of mixed driving, with motivation coming from a 147bhp electric motor. Once the battery is drained, the petrol engine kicks in to recharge the battery. It has no direct mechanical link to the driving wheels.
The good news is that if you don’t need or want to engage the petrol engine, charging can be undertaken at 50kW DC or 22kW AC, meaning charge times are well under an hour at the higher rate.
This means that in theory you could do an entire camping trip without producing any tailpipe emissions and – assuming you keep the battery topped up – won’t have to worry about an electric hook-up when you get to a site. Of course, if you do need to call on the petrol engine, the e-Camper’s total range before it needs more fuel is over 300 miles.
Thanks to the partnership with Wellhouse, LEVC reckons that it can start delivering customer e-Campers in Q4 this year. Prices are indicative, starting at £62,250 excluding VAT (or 73,000 euros in mainland Europe).