Alphavan 4x4 camper emerges as an off-grid backcountry smart home
German conversion company Alphavan presented one of the most impressive (and large) camper vans of 2020 with its eponymous 290-in (736-cm) two-bedroom Sprinter camper, a van built to carry mountain bikes to camp before sleeping a family of four in full comfort and privacy. Not surprisingly, Alphavan has heard a rather loud call for an all-wheel-drive version, and it answers with the all-new 4x4 Edition. The new van will soon roll out as a wheeled backcountry smart hut for "self-sufficient micro adventures."
Alphavan has been keeping busy in the best possible way since we last looked at it, taking home 2021 Red Dot and iF Design awards for its cushy camper van while working successfully at cracking the code of transferring that camper to a more rugged, off-road-ready vehicle.
Alphavan plans to keep most of the 4x4 Edition details under wraps until its official debut at the Düsseldorf Caravan Salon next month, but its first photo suggests that the van will be laid out much the same as the original, only planted atop a Mercedes Sprinter 4x4. From what we can see peeking out the side door, the van includes the same high-set master bedroom, passenger-side kitchen block and driver-side wet bath as the original.
It also appears Alphavan sticks with the extra-long-wheelbase super-high Sprinter, which brings roughly 10 feet (3 m) of height with its 24 feet (7.4 m) of length, when equipped in Alphavan spec. As we noted when Airstream rolled out a similarly massive 4x4 camper van, the largest Sprinter won't be the ideal 4x4 when ducking tree branches or sidestepping boulders on tight, weed-strewn off-road trails, but it'll give drivers more traction during less demanding commutes and will certainly make for a roomy, luxurious base camp upon arrival.
The original Alphavan (featured in the remaining photos) combines transport utility and at-camp comfort by splitting its rear into two floors. The upper bedroom becomes a private space complete with its own rear wall, integrated sound system, and ambient and direct lighting. Downstairs, a multipurpose "FlexPort" carries bikes, boards, and other sports gear and cargo during the drive, transforming over into a bedroom for one or two children at night. In contrast to the cold aluminum that other camper vans use in this style of garage/bedroom, Alphavan extends the warm trim of its greater interior to make the space feel more like home and less like sleeping inside a mobile workshop.
We won't know for sure if the Alphavan 4x4 Edition has any interior changes until the Caravan Salon, but when you're winning international design awards, you probably don't need to change much. Besides, the FlexPort concept is an even better fit for an all-terrain 4x4 camper, especially one that comes loaded with off-grid capabilities. The original Alphavan includes a 210-Ah lithium battery and 110-W solar panel, and Alphavan confirms that the 4x4 version will also include lithium and solar power.
Alphavan also confirms that the 4x4 Edition will debut the latest iteration of its Mercedes-powered smart home system. Nearly all of the 4x4 Edition's onboard equipment and features will be controllable from the Mercedes MBUX infotainment screen in the cab, MBAC screen in the living area and a Bluetooth-connected mobile device running the accompanying app. In the original Alphavan, the smart home system includes controls for the lights, power awning, HVAC system, entry step and more.
Alphavan's new smart home system will also incorporate the "Alphavan Tour Guide App," developed in collaboration with American automotive software provider Cerence. Cerence's tour guide software delivers professional guided tour and point of interest audio content that promises to turn the Alphavan into a tour bus with overnight accommodations. The video below shows how the new Alphavan Tour Guide app will enhance the journey.
This year's Düsseldorf Caravan Salon kicks off with an industry day on August 27 and runs through September 5. We'll have more details about the Alpha 4x4 Edition once they go live.