Roller Team rethinks the modern motorhome with basalt fiber-walled concept

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The Triaca Concept 230 at the 2015 Dusseldorf Caravan Salon(Credit: Messe Dusseldorf / ctillmann)

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We've just seen one Düsseldorf-debuted camper of the future work its way into the present, and now the Triaca Concept 230 presents another futuristic vision born at the Düsseldorf Caravan Salon. Designed by Italy's Roller Team, the new study is an experimentation with a smarter, more eco-friendly breed of motorhome.

Unlike some other concept campers, filled with fantastical ideas unlikely to travel to production lines anytime soon, the Triaca Concept 230 is grounded in modern-day reality.

"We set out to create the 'motorhome of the future' – innovative, technologically advanced, extremely functional, but that could immediately be put in production," explains Paolo Bicci, managing director of Roller Team parent company Trigano SpA. "This means that we did not start with impractical or unfeasible concepts."

"Triaca" stands for "Tecnologia per Ridurre l’Impatto Ambientale in Camper," which translates to "Technology for Environmental Impact Reduction in Motorhomes." Roller Team works toward that goal with an eco-friendly construction designed to cut down on weight and overall environmental impact.

Key to the Triaca's eco-friendly credentials are the basalt fiber wall panels. Volcanic-based basalt fiber has been gaining some attention as a cheaper carbon fiber alternative, and Roller Team says that the panels help to cut weight by 30 percent and add strength when compared to fiberglass. Basalt fiber is also recyclable, and you can read more about this potential up-and-coming wunder material in our article on the Fipofix Open 16 sailing yacht, which we also found on show at Messe Düsseldorf.

Roller Team's purposeful material selection continues inside the basalt fiber walls. The kitchen counter, kitchen sink and bathroom surfaces are made from Pral, an acrylic polymer-based composite that Roller Team selects for its robustness, anti-bacterial properties and ease of repair. The push-lock drawers are made from a honeycomb aluminum and painted MDF hybrid. Recycled and vegetable-based fabrics are used throughout.

While innovative materials look great in a brochure, an actual motorhome buyer is really going to be more interested in the overall interior design and equipment fitout. Here, too, Roller Team thinks just a tad outside the box, creating a clean, uncluttered feel with an open dinette/living area in the main cabin, a narrow corner kitchen, a pop-up roof and a corner bathroom. With a focus on multi-use, foldaway hardware, the Triaca 230's interior design reminds us a little of last year's Knaus Travelino concept caravan.

The long, narrow counter space of the corner kitchen stands in contrast to the shorter, chunkier kitchens common in motorhomes. Roller Team keeps more of that countertop open by eliminating and repurposing structural fixtures. Instead of a built-in stove, the Triaca has a plug-in induction hob stored away in a drawer. You can't shove a plumbed sink into a drawer or cupboard, but you can fit a panel over top of it so that the space doubles as part of the countertop, which is what Roller Team has done. The kitchen also has a refrigerator and an electronic faucet.

In another space-saving move, Roller Team gives the bathroom sink a flush, fold-out design instead of sticking it on the wall or planting it atop a vanity. The bathroom also has a toilet and shower.

Electronic controls tie the interior together. A remote control – which seems like it could and should be replaced with a smartphone app in this day and age – controls various equipment, including the accordion-style, pop-up top accessing the upper sleeping area; the telescopic, sliding-track dining table; the swiveling front seats; and the reclining furniture. The wall-mounted touchscreen control panel handles other functions such as lighting.

A solar panel-equipped electrical system powers all those electrically activated systems. Roller Team doesn't detail this system outside of identifying a lithium-ion battery and showing the photovoltaic panels mounted to the pop-top roof module. That leaves the solar system feeling more like an afterthought, thrown in for extra eco-friendly points, than a cornerstone of the Triaca's design.

The Triaca's cabin seating arrangement is highly multifunctional. The driver-side bench folds out to meet the passenger-side bench and create a cabin-width bed. It includes an electrically actuated lounge chair at the rearmost end. The drawer at the base of this chair includes an integrated removable plastic bench, providing a portable seat for inside/outside use. The long cushion atop the passenger-side bench folds up into a backrest, which creates a recliner with help from the electric footrest.

While there's nothing super-revolutionary about the Triaca interior, it does feel like a smart layout that effectively optimizes the limited interior space to give occupants the most comfort and functionality.

"The basic idea was to reinterpret already known logics and to apply them to the motorhome in order to improve its habitability and the distribution of interior spaces, reduce its environmental impact and test out a few solutions present on other products in order to apply them to future productions," says Bicci.

So even if a Triaca 230-based motorhome isn't in the cards, some of the concept's features may show up on production RVs. You can see these features in action in the video clip below.

Source: Roller Team

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