Will This Be The Next Class B Camper Trend?
Ford just debuted its all-electric E-Transit van. This has the potential to be big news for the Class B camper van and van conversion world.
Electric vehicles are starting to get a lot of traction in the vehicle world because of its dwindling consumer cost and an increase in nationwide charging infrastructure.
Cheaper to drive
Electric vehicles, in general, are cheaper to maintain. According to EnergySage.com,
“Changing the engine oil, coolant, transmission fluid, and belts can add up in value over time. By comparison, electric cars don’t have internal combustion engines, so these costs disappear. Universal vehicle expenses like tire and brake changes, insurance, and structural repair are part of owning any vehicle, but EV owners avoid many of the repeated costs associated with combustion engine upkeep.”
For those that log a lot of miles, a study published in the journal Joule concluded that over the estimated 15-year lifespan of the vehicle, customers could save thousands of dollars in gas costs. The best-case scenario has EV owners saving about 14,000 dollars over 15 years in just fuel costs.
Better for the environment
According to energy.gov, “In general, EVs produce fewer emissions that contribute to climate change and smog than conventional vehicles.”
If you live in a city, you know how smog can affect air quality and hamper visibility daily. For those reasons, among others, drivers are embracing the EV market. It’s only a matter of time before that crosses over to the RV market as well.
Why an electric Class B camper?
The new Ford E-Transit van lends itself to being converted into a Class B motorhome or van conversion without much modification. Let’s break down what is standard in the new E-Transit and how that works in an RVer’s favor.
An all-electric Class B would not require fuel in the traditional sense. You would need an electrical power source to charge it. The new Ford E-Transit has a range of 125 miles, so finding charging stations on the road would be a must for any RVer.
EV charging stations are popping up all over the place. According to Statistica.com, there were over 24,000 charging stations and over 78,000 charging outlets in the United States as of March 2020. That number is only going to grow as the electric vehicle boom does.
That means you are going to have access to charge an electric Class B or van conversion no matter how far you are planning on driving in a day. To aid in finding a charging station, the Ford E-Transit has a 12-inch touch screen monitor that is fully GPS functional, including mapping of available charging stations.
Charging sounds like a long and arduous process that will require you to stop for hours at a time.
According to Ford, “On a 115-plus-kilowatt DC fast charger, E-Transit cargo van low-roof models can achieve approximately 30 miles of range in 10 minutes and approximately 45 miles of range in 15 minutes.”
We all have different travel styles. However, it is recommended to stop at least every two hours and stretch your legs for fifteen minutes on a road trip. With that in mind, a fifteen to twenty-minute break every one to two hours at a charging station will keep you and your batteries on the road for a full day.
RV park charging
The E-Transit comes with a 240V mobile charger that plugs into a NEMA 14-50 type outlet. Guess what the NEMA 14-50 outlet is also used for?
If you said 50 amp RV service, you are correct. RV parks with 50 amp service are basically electric vehicle charging lots. For every hour the Ford E-Transit is plugged into the RV park’s 50 amp plug, it gains 10 miles of drive distance. It’s like having the RV park fill your gas tank up while you sleep.
One of the biggest fears that people have over electric vehicles is not finding places to charge them and long charging times. With most RV parks already equipped to charge electric vehicles and the growing quick-charge infrastructure, those fears will soon be a thing of the past.
If you like dry camping, you most likely rely on an inverter to convert your DC from the batteries into AC power to run your devices. The Ford E-Transit comes with the Ford Pro Power, which uses the batteries to provide up to 2.4kW of power.
That’s enough to run basically any appliance you may find in modern Class B camper vans. This would be very attractive to Class B manufacturers and do-it-yourself gurus looking for the perfect vehicle for their van conversion.
The future of electric vehicles
Electric vehicles have become more and more prevalent. Battery technology is getting better and cheaper every year. It is only a matter of time before the electric vehicle world crosses over to the RVing world.
With the increased interest in Class B campers and custom van conversions, there are sure to be many eyes looking at the new all-electric Ford E-Transit. To learn more about the 2022 Ford E-Transit, check out their site.
You may also like some of the new electric trucks for 2021.
Levi Henley is a freelance writer and has also been full-time RVing with his wife and pets since 2015.
7 thoughts on “Will This Be The Next Class B Camper Trend?”
What would make this really useful for RVs is to 4x their battery pack and offer a system like the BMW i3 REX (range extender) where you can recharge the batteries from a small generator. That way, you’d have a 500-mile electric range and always have the easy backup option.
It looks like we are still a few years off of a viable electric solution.
So if I sleep 8 hours, I can get 80 miles for tomorrow. Wow! What a deal! I could easily blow 80 miles in the western US looking for my next full charge, which will take hours. What a scam.
125 mile range would be a deal breaker for me, and I think, most anyone considering a Class B motorhome. Even with lots of chargers, that would mean many stops along the way. Considering that charging it with a 50amp charger only nets 10 miles per hours, it would not be practical at all. My guess is that it would need at least a 300 mile range and faster charging to make it feasible.
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Many class B campers have solar panels on the roof. Can you offer any insight on prospects that these solar panels might one day “fuel” the vehicle’s transit rather than just the accessories? Even if they only could provide power to the next campsite, say one or two hours drive; one could hopscotch the nation without ever needing to visit a charging station.
The power you could put on a van would get you no more than 3 or 4 miles a day on good days. And that is if you didn’t use any of the solar for anything else. Now if you could park your van under a carport with 10 300 watt panels you might get 30 miles a day. Self powered solar cars aren’t going to happen. Not enough solar power falls on a car to move it very far.
What Ed said above. However, the solar panels on my RV taught me how nice they can be to counter parasitic draws. I’d love 200W of panels on my EV car for the same benefit. Dead starter batteries suck, but it’s worse when your traction pack slowly drains while parked.