Scottish company Campervan Co. have been making waves this year, first with the release of the meaty off-road D:5 Terrain, and now with the latest in their long line of eco-conscious campervans, simply called the Eco Explorer. With its enormous range, low fuel consumption and self-charging battery system, it’s the ideal green adventure machine.
The Eco Explorer’s range of 1,000 miles is made possible by what Campervan Co. have dubbed the “tribrid” engine. They’ve started with the Toyota Alphard’s E-Four engine with Hybrid Synergy Drive technology, which runs on petrol for long distance driving and automatically switches to pure electric in situations like congested city driving. But Campervan Co. have taken this one further by installing a back up LPG system, which being much cheaper and more efficient than petrol or diesel, equates to a fuel consumption of 80mpg.
This versatile “city to country” van also comes with electronic all-wheel drive, and a 2.4L engine delivers a respectable 43mpg when running on petrol. The van’s built-in system controls the power being delivered to the rear wheels for extra traction, making it ideal for off-road or winter conditions, and it automatically stops and starts the engine in traffic too.
This compact camper measures just 4.85m (191”) long, but it manages to seat and sleep five people. The interior feels cosy with warm cream fabric tones and matching upholstery, with functional grey flooring and table.
The entire van is incredibly versatile, switching between layouts with ease to accommodate each of the five passengers. The three seater rear bench transforms into a double bed, or can be slid forward or backwards to accommodate extra luggage and gear; another bed for two can be found in the van’s pop top roof.
The Eco Explorer’s kitchen has been stripped down, lightened, and deconstructed, stowing away in various compartments and then being assembled on the van’s removable table that doubles as a meal prep space, which itself can be folded up and stored on the tailgate beneath the bench. This saves space and creates more room for the lower bed to unfold by not clogging up the van’s precious little floor space with a full kitchen unit.
The “kitchen” comes with two induction cooktops, one mounted on an omni-directional slider so it can be used outdoors as well as in, and the other stowed away vertically beneath the rear bench when not in use.
A compact electric cool box lives between the two front seats, but the lack of a fixed kitchen unit leaves no room for a sink or storage space for food.
All of the onboard equipment is run off the van’s starter and leisure batteries, which are both charged by the vehicle’s electrical system when driving, or more specifically braking, as energy is regained during the vehicle’s braking and deceleration.
This clever system means that even everyday appliances like a coffee maker or a microwave can be run on auxiliary power- a big luxury for such a small van. Scottish company Campervan Co. even suggest driving their Eco Explorer out into the Highlands and popping a meal into the slow cooker on the way, ready for dinner at your chosen camp spot in the evening.
A nifty, versatile camper with a big range and a big capacity for people ticks all of the boxes, and for £24,995 ($32,625) it’s not a bad deal. The Tribrid system will set you back an extra £2000 ($2,600), but for the fuel economy and range of 1,000 miles on a single tank of fuel, that extra money is likely well worth it.
Source and image credits: Campervan Co.
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