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Hi I'm thinking our first ev may be a Vauxhall Vivaro-e (or Peugeot or Citroen or Toyota), and converting it into a campervan to replace our old traffic campervan and our car

This should be fine, but my one thought is we'd like to fit a seat-belted 'rock and roll' bed, sliding if possible, and I'll not sure if these beds require extra bolts/drilling through from underneath. As the battery is under the rear floor, this may be a problem?

Obviously I've not actually seen this van yet, or have any experience fitting these beds, but if anyone has any thoughts or ideas much appreciated!

I'm hoping to keep it all nice and light to keep a good range.
 

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I'm hoping to keep it all nice and light to keep a good range.
Don't sweat that. Unlike an ICE you get to regenerate most (prob. 60%-70%) of the energy used dragging it uphill when you fall down the other side.
Rolling resistance isn't going to change a lot, and with a big van it's the air that'll be the biggest drag at any speed.

require extra bolts/drilling through from underneath.
Hopefully it'll come with a selection of mounting points. If they don't line up you might need a subframe to adapt to the bed.
 

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Thanks for the comments.

With the bed, I guess I'll have to contact some manufactures to check. I read about one came that with a sub floor strengthening kit... 🤷‍♂️ But hopefully some come to just fit the mounts already there. I think/hope they'll be the same as the standard vivaro as is the same van.

Re weight, probably right, it shouldn't make to much difference, but still, I feel light it better if possible.

If/when I get it, would be interesting to load up with a pile of slabs, drive up and down a bit hill and compare!
 

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Just thinking again, 'sub floor' could have meant below a secondary plywood/vinyl floor....
 

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This is a really interesting idea! I might look into doing this myself at some point. I presume the plug-in van grant still applies even if you convert the van to camper van?

You wouldn’t need to pay extra to have a heater put into the van like you would do normally, as you’d just be able to run the climate control system from the battery. Hopefully there’s a way to do this while switching off the daytime running lights though.

Please post back here with whatever you find out about putting in the rock n roll bed!
 

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Thanks! I looked into that a while back, but the e-NV200 is a smaller van than the Vivaro, and it didn’t look like there was enough space for converters to put a bed in the pop-top. Plus, if I get one I’ll want to keep it a while and I’m not sure whether chademo is a good long term bet anymore...
 

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Hey @loggamatt - I'd assume the van grant it still ok - you buy it as a van (with windows in the back (it's cheap option)), use it as a van - put a bed it, and sometime in the future do the DVLA conversion to camper van if you want the car speed limit - or just leave it as a van.

I was thinking about heaters - I'm not sure if the vivaro-e gets an air source heater or an electric element heater, but yeah, if you have enough spare charge in the battery before the next charging point it could give a few hours of heat.

Totally agree about the NV200 - the Vivaro should be a just a bit bigger and make campervan life bit easier. @E7EV great eNV200 video though - some nice features in that van!

Regarding beds - I've little a bit of research - I'm in Edinburgh, but found a place in Dewsbury, Yorkshire called CCK Campervans, they have some rock n roll beds which can also be put on sliders - which could be useful - not totally sure as yet. They normally bolt through the floor to attach the rails - but as the batteries may be in the way (don't want them drilling 100 holes in the battery!) they can get the sliding rails welded instead for extra £470 - adds up, but at least it's an option

 

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Hey @loggamatt - I'd assume the van grant it still ok - you buy it as a van (with windows in the back (it's cheap option)), use it as a van - put a bed it, and sometime in the future do the DVLA conversion to camper van if you want the car speed limit - or just leave it as a van.

I was thinking about heaters - I'm not sure if the vivaro-e gets an air source heater or an electric element heater, but yeah, if you have enough spare charge in the battery before the next charging point it could give a few hours of heat.

Totally agree about the NV200 - the Vivaro should be a just a bit bigger and make campervan life bit easier. @E7EV great eNV200 video though - some nice features in that van!

Regarding beds - I've little a bit of research - I'm in Edinburgh, but found a place in Dewsbury, Yorkshire called CCK Campervans, they have some rock n roll beds which can also be put on sliders - which could be useful - not totally sure as yet. They normally bolt through the floor to attach the rails - but as the batteries may be in the way (don't want them drilling 100 holes in the battery!) they can get the sliding rails welded instead for extra £470 - adds up, but at least it's an option

Really nice option then when you think of the van grant, the base vehicle shouldn’t cost too much more than an equivalent range car. Though of course then there’s the conversion cost on top. But camper conversions tend to hold their value quite well I’m told.

I believe most of the bits have just been lifted from the e-Corsa, so my guess would be if that has a heat pump then the van probably does as well. And of course, running the air conditioning overnight would be a real luxury in a campervan in hot conditions too. Campervan owners try all kinds of different tricks to try to keep cool in the summer... you’d just set the climate to a comfortable temperature and go to sleep :) The daytime running lights will be the killer in that though I’ll bet, but I’m sure an electrician could rig up an extra switch to turn them off.

That’s great news on the rock n roll beds! Though I don’t have kids, so don’t need belted seats in the back anyway, so even if a rock n roll bed couldn’t work it wouldn’t necessarily be a deal-breaker for me. Some kind of wooden bed frame could I’m sure be attached without going through the floor.

One other thought I had, you’ll probably want an inverter to run 240v things from the leisure battery, rather than relying on campsite hook up for it. Because you could trickle charge the leisure battery from the main battery, meaning you could use the campsite hookup as a free charge for the van + leisure battery, instead of for just running 240v accessories. Of course, would take forever for a full charge, but some free electricity is better than no free electricity!

Interesting option this! Might beat you to it on getting a Vivaro-e (or one of the sister vans) campervan if my enthusiasm continues... :D
 

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Counter-argument to having an EV as a camper van base that I woke up thinking... wondering what your thoughts are on it?

EVs shine for local journeys within their range, because you can charge overnight on cheap electricity. For long distance journeys, EVs are no cheaper than petrol/diesel vehicles because the cost of rapid charging isn’t really much cheaper than the cost of filling up with petrol/diesel at a pump. And the equivalent petrol/diesel vehicle will have cost a lot less up front.

Campers by their nature are designed to go long distances to holiday destinations, and thus will spend a lot of their life sat on expensive rapid chargers.

So total ownership costs for an EV campervan will be a lot more than for a petrol/diesel campervan I expect, and the hassle greater because it takes longer to ‘fill up’ an EV than a petrol/diesel van. In which case, why not get a petrol/diesel campervan? There’s the environmental argument, but is there any other?

Just throwing this one out there because I’m hoping someone will explain to me why my assumptions here are wrong, because if I could make the numbers work then I really like the idea of doing this as my next vehicle! :) But I can’t help thinking that a jaunt across Europe in an EV camper is going to cost the same/more as a jaunt in a petrol/diesel one?
 

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Counter-argument to having an EV as a camper van base that I woke up thinking... wondering what your thoughts are on it?

EVs shine for local journeys within their range, because you can charge overnight on cheap electricity. For long distance journeys, EVs are no cheaper than petrol/diesel vehicles because the cost of rapid charging isn’t really much cheaper than the cost of filling up with petrol/diesel at a pump. And the equivalent petrol/diesel vehicle will have cost a lot less up front.

Campers by their nature are designed to go long distances to holiday destinations, and thus will spend a lot of their life sat on expensive rapid chargers.

So total ownership costs for an EV campervan will be a lot more than for a petrol/diesel campervan I expect, and the hassle greater because it takes longer to ‘fill up’ an EV than a petrol/diesel van. In which case, why not get a petrol/diesel campervan? There’s the environmental argument, but is there any other?

Just throwing this one out there because I’m hoping someone will explain to me why my assumptions here are wrong, because if I could make the numbers work then I really like the idea of doing this as my next vehicle! :) But I can’t help thinking that a jaunt across Europe in an EV camper is going to cost the same/more as a jaunt in a petrol/diesel one?
It might just require a different use pattern to get the most out of it.

Assuming an average range of 150 miles, you might choose to wind your way down to your destination hopping from campsite to campsite, charging overnight. Kind of like a multi-destination holiday.

In this way you get the benefit of cheaper travel with the chance to experience many more places.

The one thing that will need to improve is the charging infrastructure at campsites.

Does this thing come with three phase charging? That could be useful.
 

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It might just require a different use pattern to get the most out of it.

Assuming an average range of 150 miles, you might choose to wind your way down to your destination hopping from campsite to campsite, charging overnight. Kind of like a multi-destination holiday.

In this way you get the benefit of cheaper travel with the chance to experience many more places.

The one thing that will need to improve is the charging infrastructure at campsites.

Does this thing come with three phase charging? That could be useful.
Good point... also, there’s of course destination charging at car parks of towns you want to visit on the way to factor in.

I guess any campsite that advertises an electric hookup will be able to recharge it from the 3-pin cable (but I’m not a campsite expert, so could be wrong about this?) Not a snappy recharge of course, and maybe won’t get you all the way to 100%, but assuming you get to your campsite at 6ish in the evening, and then leave to continue your journey at 9 the next morning, it’d still get you a lot of useful free miles.

That said, I would want to be doing majority ‘wild camping’ or camping at ‘aires’ that don’t have hookups to save on campsite costs while travelling... also, because I like the idea of being out in the wilds a bit more than lined up next to rows and rows of other campers on campsites each time. I suspect I’d average 1 night in a campsite out of every 3, in order to use the showers.

Nevertheless, some free charging in campsites and car parks brings the cost per mile down a bit I’ll admit, but does it still bring it down enough? I just did a rough calculation, and if using rapid charging only on a Vivaro-e, you’d probably actually spend more on chargers than you’d spend at the pump in the equivalent diesel.

Perhaps a PHEV van like the Ford Transit makes more economic sense as a camper van? Could still plug in at campsites with a 3-pin cable to help with the costs, and on the longer stints would be paying for cheaper petrol instead of expensive electricity.
 

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Perhaps a PHEV van like the Ford Transit makes more economic sense as a camper van?
Where is it written the being more environmentally conscious should also be cheaper?

Personally I don’t mind paying a bit of a premium in order to reduce my impact and have the convenience and smooth experience of an EV.

My experience is most campsites have terrible electrics with king cable runs, so you’d be lucky to get 6 amps on a granny charger.

However some campsites do have dedicated EV chargers, which would be the ones to go for.
 

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Where is it written the being more environmentally conscious should also be cheaper?

Personally I don’t mind paying a bit of a premium in order to reduce my impact and have the convenience and smooth experience of an EV.

My experience is most campsites have terrible electrics with king cable runs, so you’d be lucky to get 6 amps on a granny charger.

However some campsites do have dedicated EV chargers, which would be the ones to go for.
True, but we all have our own limits as to how much of a premium we’re prepared to pay to be environmentally conscious. Perhaps you’re prepared to pay more than I am, and are a better human than me as a result. I’m at least confident that as a current EV owner who is paying a premium for it, I’m not the worst human on the planet environmentally speaking ;)

And I would argue that EVs are only more convenient for trips within their range. For trips outside of their range (the kinds that camper vans will do), they are less convenient. Still nicer to drive though!
 

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That said, I would want to be doing majority ‘wild camping’ or camping at ‘aires’ that don’t have hookups to save on campsite costs while travelling..
I'd say that given the current state of EV charging options (such as most campsites) and campervan usage patterns as you suggest, then the time for ECVs is not quite nigh from a convenience aspect at least. If you want to be off-grid overnight too I'd say it's going to be a long time before it will be nigh for you.
Current electric vans are generally built for daily delivery services with overnight charging.

So sadly I think you are probably best sticking to ICE this time round. Even a PHEV would probably be an expensive white elephant because most of your trips will be way beyond the battery capacity, and you still couldn't recharge overnight.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Much of our camping will be Scotland/UK anyway, so range should be ok with a few stops at free/cheap show chargers or campsites. I hope!

If you plan to drive to to Spain in a day then stay put in a remote area for a few weeks, then the EV probably isn't there yet.

Personally I'm happy for a bit premium price/extra effort on the few long trips each year... But yes there are limits. Most our driving is local anyway, and I can also see us doing more short trips once we get an EV as it'll be so cheap
 

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True, but we all have our own limits as to how much of a premium we’re prepared to pay to be environmentally conscious. Perhaps you’re prepared to pay more than I am, and are a better human than me as a result. I’m at least confident that as a current EV owner who is paying a premium for it, I’m not the worst human on the planet environmentally speaking ;)

And I would argue that EVs are only more convenient for trips within their range. For trips outside of their range (the kinds that camper vans will do), they are less convenient. Still nicer to drive though!
Although I don’t think there’s really a premium when you consider that there’s less maintenance and wear.

Of course you could always convert a Kangoo?
 

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Definitely look in detail at the implication of bolting a rock and rolla into the back. I assume there will be a minibus/crew version of the van, but you will need to be bolted/welded to the chassis for them to be valid seatbelt anchorage.
 

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Still mulling over what I think. Even though I agree that buying an EV as a camper van probably doesn’t make sense having crunched the rapid charger numbers, having an EV camper van as a daily driver might. My argument would go, I like having an EV for my 30-mile round trip commute to work, and can charge it at home overnight. I like the idea of having a campervan, but I only have parking space for one vehicle. So I either get a diesel campervan that works great on camping trips and accept that my work commute will cost more more money from then on, or I get an EV campervan and accept that my holidays will cost me more than they would have in a diesel campervan.

Need to spend some time mulling all that over! Of course, the EV is probably the better moral choice than the diesel van too!
 
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