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The campervan is the perfect way to explore the great outdoors

Inspired by Covid-enforced staycations, manufacturers are eager to bring campervans to the market.

If growing up watching Scooby-Doo cartoons taught me anything, it's that there are no such thing as monsters – just men (usually caretakers) in costume. 

And if the capers of the cowardly canine and his human pals taught me one more thing, it was that the best way to have adventures with friends is in a campervan.

There's no definitive answer on what marque the Mystery Machine was – Chevy, Dodge and Ford are all in the running, while the late 90s live-action movies used an early 70s Bedford – better known to us Brits as the ice cream van. 

But there's no doubt that more than 50 years ago the Volkswagen Type 2 launched the campervan craze – and who hasn't lusted after a 1960s or 70s VW camper in vibrant hippy colours?

Now, inspired by Covid-enforced staycations, manufacturers have been scurrying to bring campervans to the market.

VW campervan

Volkswagen has continued making campervans since the 1960s. And joining the existing Volkswagen California (prices from £55,000) and Grand California (from £74,000), Volkswagen's latest, more affordable campervan offering is due for release any time now.

The new Caddy California starts at £29,965. Is it a true campervan? Well, it's a van and you can go camping in it, so yeah, I guess so. Based on the Caddy van, it has a folding bed, a pull-out kitchenette, and a tent that unfurls from the back doors which makes it suitable for a family of four.

Meanwhile, Skoda – part of the VW family – has decided to mark its 125th anniversary this year by announcing a campervan. 

The Skoda 1203 was something of a communist-era icon, used as a delivery van, flatbed, minibus, ambulance, even a hearse.

Now, the 1203 has been reimagined for the modern market as a camper.

Although it's still very much in the concept stage, with no word on pricing or a release date, given Skoda's reputation for affordability it might prove to be a serious contender if it ever makes it past the blueprint stage. 

With vans transitioning from fossil fuels to electric power, the world’s first electric campervan will be built right here in the UK by the London Electric Vehicle Company – better known for its black London cabs.

“The campervan market is growing rapidly and, despite these vehicles being used for coastal and countryside adventures which often include national parks and protected areas, they are still powered by petrol or diesel engines," says CEO Joerg Hofmann, somewhat sternly.

"This is a major conflict; we can see a shift in consumer attitudes, with demand for greener mobility solutions to help to protect and improve air quality. 

"Our new electric, zero-emissions capable e-Camper offers the perfect solution and is well-equipped with high quality features that can be tailored to meet a range of customer requirements.” LEVC's offering will sleep four and be available next spring at £62,250.

This could be closely followed by an all-electric campervan from Nissan. Based on the e-NV200 MPV and e-NV200 delivery van, the e-NV200 Winter Camper concept features an integrated kitchen, folding beds, and an on-board power pack that can be recharged via a roof-mounted pop-up solar panel.

Oh, and although Hyundai don't make campervans, the Ioniq 5 can be used as a power source – offering great wild camping potential! 

Dominic Threlfall
Managing director
Pebley Beach

pebley.co.uk

 

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