Automotive

Alphavan 4x4 camper emerges as an off-grid backcountry smart home

Alphavan 4x4 camper emerges as...
Alphavan previews its new 4x4 Edition ahead of its world premiere in August
Alphavan previews its new 4x4 Edition ahead of its world premiere in August
View 6 Images
The rounded furniture design and light colors give the Alphavan a bright, modern look
1/6
The rounded furniture design and light colors give the Alphavan a bright, modern look
More than just a bed in the rear, the Alphavan's master suite is a cozy sleeping nook closed off from the van with a rear wall
2/6
More than just a bed in the rear, the Alphavan's master suite is a cozy sleeping nook closed off from the van with a rear wall
The Alphavan turns into a family camper with the addition of the folding rear bed(s), turning the FlexPort into a kids' room
3/6
The Alphavan turns into a family camper with the addition of the folding rear bed(s), turning the FlexPort into a kids' room
Alphavan plans to equip every one of its campers with Mercedes MBUX infotainment, joining the MBAC camper control system in creating a smart camper van from bumper to bumper
4/6
Alphavan plans to equip every one of its campers with Mercedes MBUX infotainment, joining the MBAC camper control system in creating a smart camper van from bumper to bumper
During the ride, the FlexPort serves as a garage for holding luggage, sports gear and other cargo
5/6
During the ride, the FlexPort serves as a garage for holding luggage, sports gear and other cargo
The MBAC command touchscreen provides central control of important onboard functions and can also connect with a smartphone for remote control around the van
6/6
The MBAC command touchscreen provides central control of important onboard functions and can also connect with a smartphone for remote control around the van
View gallery - 6 images

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 Alphavan turns into a family camper with the addition of the folding rear bed(s), turning the FlexPort into a kids' room
The Alphavan turns into a family camper with the addition of the folding rear bed(s), turning the FlexPort into a kids' room

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.

The MBAC command touchscreen provides central control of important onboard functions and can also connect with a smartphone for remote control around the van
The MBAC command touchscreen provides central control of important onboard functions and can also connect with a smartphone for remote control around the van

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.

Alphavan Tour Guide powered by Cerence

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.

Source: Alphavan

View gallery - 6 images
4 comments
4 comments
guzmanchinky
This quality is SO nice, but why can't they do a similar build with the 144? That's already huge off road...
Knut
"The original Alphavan includes a 210-Ah lithium battery and 110-W solar panel, " and is the fuel diameter of the fuel pipe 4mm?
The batteries are measured in Watts per hour, remember Ohms laws? Watt is kind of like liters, and capacity is how many liters can be delivered in an hour. Then if the volume runs slowly or fast - the speed of the water through the pipe "v" as in "velocity" but in electricity, it is measured in Volts. The volume is Ampere - "Amp".
110W solar panels may be a 20V current 5 Amp, which is rather tiny, 50cmx50cm solar panels. 210Amp at 12V = 2.520KW and enough to power a 2000W stove for a little more than an hour, enough to make dinner. You have to get this right: a bike for 50km needs a 500Watt motor - the effect, and batteries for 2 hours driving - 1000W. This is a 48V battery of 20Amp. You can of course slow down the driving, go less up and down. A car battery is typically 80AmpH, 12.5V = 1KWH. comparable to the batteries on bikes. 210Amp, 2.5KW is for buses and larger vehicles because the diesel motor needs to "glow" to start.
Bill S.
“KNUT”. Excellent explanation. Thanks 🙏
BlueOak
The thing that always strikes me about these Sprinter and similar conversions - how narrow, even cramped they tend to feel inside. But I guess if you want compact on the outside,..