Automotive

Advanced $300K camper van goes green in more ways than one

Matching curtains cover all the windows at night
Matching curtains cover all the windows at night
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Looking back from the front of the ARV Baja camper van
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Looking back from the front of the ARV Baja camper van
The Baja wet bath
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The Baja wet bath
ARV had so much fun with the green, it kept right on going into the Sprinter cab
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ARV had so much fun with the green, it kept right on going into the Sprinter cab
The dining table slides and folds out from below the countertop, doubling as a counter extension
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The dining table slides and folds out from below the countertop, doubling as a counter extension
Mercedes' MBUX infotainment system gets dialed brighter than ever
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Mercedes' MBUX infotainment system gets dialed brighter than ever
The Advanced Baja has a rear lounge/dining room/bedroom
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The Advanced Baja has a rear lounge/dining room/bedroom
Advanced RV turns a 2019 Sprinter into the Baja camper van
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Advanced RV turns a 2019 Sprinter into the Baja camper van
Matching curtains cover all the windows at night
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Matching curtains cover all the windows at night
Comfy sofa by day, electric-folding bed at night
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Comfy sofa by day, electric-folding bed at night
Inside the Advanced RV Baja camper van
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Inside the Advanced RV Baja camper van
The Baja includes a 24-in TV and Apple TV media player
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The Baja includes a 24-in TV and Apple TV media player
The new Baja camper van from Advanced RV is a bright, well-equipped van, but is it worth $328,000?
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The new Baja camper van from Advanced RV is a bright, well-equipped van, but is it worth $328,000?

Ohio's Advanced RV got a hold of one of the last imported third-generation Mercedes Sprinter vans and turned it into a green camping machine ... quite literally. The van features a bright-green interior, complemented by a noise/emissions-cutting 800-Ah off-grid battery bank. Throw in custom-designed solutions and high-end features like a Vizio smart TV, multi-fold extendable table and comprehensive touchscreen control and you have one serious small motorhome.

This is going to sound odd for a US$328,000 camper van, but Advanced RV's mission in making the van it calls "Baja" was to respond to calls for a less fancy fit-out. So it ditches the granite counters and wood wall paneling some might call old-fashioned and stuffy and goes all-out funky with a bright lime green theme throughout. The van is so green crazy, in fact, that the green-trimming extends right past the camping furniture and onto driver cab elements like the MBUX infotainment screen and door handle surrounds.

Advanced RV turns a 2019 Sprinter into the Baja camper van
Advanced RV turns a 2019 Sprinter into the Baja camper van

ARV started the project off with a 170-in wheelbase 2019 Sprinter it says was the last German-built Mercedes Sprinter it received ahead of the start of American-built Sprinter production. As such, the conversion shop had a little extra time to spend in developing equipment and solutions from the ground up, so as not to show a new Sprinter build too far in advance of getting more 2019 Sprinter inventory.

ARV intersperses stainless steel surfaces amongst the green furniture and cabinetry, and one of the new features designed specifically for the Baja is a stowaway countertop extension/dining table combination. Instead of the pedestal or side-mount table you usually find in camper vans, the Baja has a dual-panel tabletop that slides and folds out from a compartment below the end of the kitchen counter. This table works to create a larger L-shaped counter and two-person dining area for the rear sofa. It looks a bit scrunched for dining but is an interesting alternative to the usual dining layouts.

The dining table slides and folds out from below the countertop, doubling as a counter extension
The dining table slides and folds out from below the countertop, doubling as a counter extension

The sofa folds down electrically at the push of a button to become a double bed, and a new cushion design gives it a more personalized level of comfort. Whether in sofa or bed configuration, it is positioned in prime viewing distance of the 24-in Vizio smart TV hooked to Apple TV. A set of green-tinged flush-mounted ceiling speakers tickle the ears with sound waves.

Strangely, we don’t see any indication of a stove in the kitchen, so it appears that Baja campers are left to bring their own portable stove or rely on the microwave across from that extra-long stainless steel counter. Below the microwave, the large 193-L standing fridge/freezer provides plenty of food storage.

Between the kitchen and rear lounge, the wet bathroom houses a sink, shower and toilet. Unlike many wet bathrooms and their combination sink faucet/shower sprayers, the Baja bathroom has a separate shower sprayer and more residential-style sink faucet.

Looking back from the front of the ARV Baja camper van
Looking back from the front of the ARV Baja camper van

Onboard electrical equipment is powered by a large 800Ah lithium-ion battery pack designed for off-grid usage. ARV doesn’t mention anything about roof-mounted solar, but it has added in a second alternator for keeping that lithium charged. The newly developed Mercedes MBAC smart camper system is just launching in Europe and not currently available in the US, but ARV adds a Silverleaf touchscreen command system to bring together various component control and data display functions, including temperature adjustment and power system monitoring.

Multi-color-adjustable ambient lighting throughout helps tie the bright green and stainless steel together. Other features of note include diesel heating, on-demand hot water, a run-quiet air conditioner, a keypad entry system and Compustar security. ARV also adds a VB air suspension and tire monitoring system to the base Sprinter. The van carries water in 151-L fresh, 102-L gray and 68-L black tanks.

Mercedes' MBUX infotainment system gets dialed brighter than ever
Mercedes' MBUX infotainment system gets dialed brighter than ever

While ARV has done some nice work on the Baja, we’re rather perplexed by the US$328,013 price tag, which looks more like what you’d find dangling off a fully equipped, go-anywhere expedition vehicle or spacious multi-expanding motorhome. This van simply doesn’t have the size or packaging to command such a price, and honestly, while the Baja does have a higher level of standard features, we’d much prefer a layout like the $89,000 Frankia Yucon 7.0 Lounge.

We assume ARV’s price takes into account the extra development time behind some of the new solutions, but we just can’t see paying such an exorbitant price for what amounts to a nicely equipped one-off when other ARV camper vans list in between $130,000 and $250,000.

ARV seems to recognize that the price and/or day-glow Kermit green interior might make the van unsellable, in which case it plans to add it to its rental fleet. Current listings for ARV camper van rentals show prices starting at $390 a day.

Source: Advanced RV via Motor1

3 comments
guzmanchinky
Yeah that price seems more like a tax writeoff strategy for when they don't sell it. $390 a day is pretty high for a rental as well.
BlueOak
Perhaps this story was posted as satire. $328,000 for what, other than the lithium battery pack, is an entry level RV? Note the base vehicle underneath is $45-55,000 *at Retail Prices*. And a third of a million dollar RV based on the stripper, body color bumpers, grille, and door handles, model? Somebody is playing with you.
Biker Bill
For $50K less you can own an Airstream Atlas. It too is very expensive but what a great and well thought out rig. Green is the kiss of death when you try to re-sell . How many green cars do you see running around other than Jag's? $300K is a bit over the top .