Today’s review is something else we Yanks aren’t able to get our hands on, the XBUS Camper. This little German vehicle from ElectricBrands has about the same cute factor as the modern Mini but in a bus form.
The company has plans to offer its vehicles as modular systems rather than a specific purpose-built unit. That means that if you bought an XBUS of one configuration for your business, you could buy modules to use it in other forms. Think going from a pickup to a van, for example.
These are really small vehicles. For those of us who are fans of the old Subaru 360 vans, that’s about what we’re talking about here. They’re only 4 meters (13.12 feet) long, 1.7 meters (5.58 feet) wide, and 1.9 meters (6.23 feet) high. That’s about the same length as the original VW Beetle. But this is a bus. Or van … or camper … or pickup. Well, or all of those.
In Europe, this is small enough to get it qualified as an L7e quadricycle. In other words, not a car. So that’s how they get past many of the rather stringent regulations there. If you remember the GEM electric vehicles here, they were sort of similar in that they weren’t really a street vehicle.
XBUS Camper has a top speed of 62 mph
But these XBUSes can reach a top speed of 100 km/h, which is 62 miles per hour. So these do have a bit more performance than a first-gen GEM.
In the flurry of interesting concepts, the company is revealing now that they’ve come into our world by showing off the XBUS camper van.
The questions we would have about this would likely start with range. The company states that it can travel about 200 kilometers on a charge, depending on which battery you choose. There is a 15 kWh battery permanently installed, and then batteries that range from 10 kWh to 30 kWh in a drawer at the back of the XBUS. You can literally swap them out.
If you have a business, that makes a lot of sense as you can have charged batteries at the ready and simply swap one in and put the XBUS back on the street.
Yikes! I just cannot imagine going 60 in this thing. Of course, I did it in my Corvair van, which might have just been as crazy. Who knows?
The best thing I can liken this to that we would be familiar with is the original VW camper van of the 1960s.
Like that van, there is a pop-up roof section in the middle. You have a bed in the back over what was the engine in those VWs. And a seat up front.
The center section features a folding seat that either can fold flat, the bottom cushion can fold up to form a seat, or the backrest can fold down.
When the backrest is folded down it works with the “wayback”—and now you have your bed. Since this is such a short vehicle, the back of the camper actually extends much like a slide room. So you do get a larger sleeping surface. I don’t know how long, though, as more specific details are still forthcoming on this.
In the center is an island that has a small table that pops out of it. Open the cover and there’s a single-burner stove, though you would think that they would use an induction cooktop in this. I mean, you’re sitting on a huge battery.
There are also vessels, sort of like Jerry cans, under the island. That’s your water system.
The XBUS camper is currently set up with three solar panels on the roof: one over the cab, one on the pop-up section and one on the rear. At this time those provide 260 watts for the front unit, 360 for the pop-top and 200 for the back. Not bad.
All the usual electric vehicle stuff is happening here with things like regenerative braking and such. With four electric motors in the wheels of this that means four-wheel-drive.
Honestly, I don’t know how many serious campers this will attract, even in Germany where their standards of what constitutes a camper are different than ours. But it is cool to see this thing. The idea of a modular vehicle that you can use in your business is going to be a hit, in my opinion.
I like seeing companies do things that aren’t typical or the same ol’, same ol’, as you all know.
This will be imported to countries other than Germany but not this one, assuming you’re reading in the US of A. If you are in Jolly ol’ England and have £29,727 (that’s about $36,000), perhaps you might get in line for one of these.
If you do, please, please visit our forums and explain what your motivation is. I do think there’s a huge market for a reconfigurable and unique vehicle like this. But I am not totally convinced of the camper variant, even though I’m curious.
Hey. Remember I owned a Corvair camper myself. So weird isn’t beyond my interest by any means.
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Tony comes to RVtravel.com having worked at an RV dealership and been a lifelong RV enthusiast. He also has written the syndicated Curbside column about cars. He also works closely with a number of RV manufacturers to get an inside look at how things are done and is a brand ambassador for Rockwood Mini Lite with his wife, Peggy.
You can also check out his RV podcast with his wife, Peggy.
These RV reviews are written based on information provided by the manufacturers along with our writer’s own research. They are based on information from a single unit and may not reflect your actual experience. Shop your RV and dealership carefully before making a buying decision. We receive no money or other financial benefits from these reviews. They are intended only as a brief overview of the vehicle, not a comprehensive critique, which would require a thorough inspection and/or test drive.
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