Smart Ford electric camper van looks into digital nomadism's future
After 75 years of building a business around caravans and larger motorhomes, UK shop Bailey of Bristol is turning its attention to camper vans. And rather than simply introducing a carbon copy of what's already out there, the company aspires to innovate, best evidenced by its all-new Endeavor EV.
The concept camper stands atop a pure-electric Ford E-Transit and comes loaded with a multipurpose rear lounge/office/bedroom, Amazon Alexa-powered voice control, a touchscreen command center, an electric-lift hideaway TV and an all-electric appliance set. It's one of the most impressive all-electric camper van floor plan concepts we've seen to date.
Bailey's big product debut at the Motorhome and Caravan Show that wrapped up on Sunday in Birmingham, UK was the ICE-powered Endeavor, its first-ever panel van camper conversion. An impressive product itself, the Ford Transit-based Endeavor was put through its paces in the Saharan Desert before its dazzling exhibition debut. The van comes in buyer's choice of two floor-plans: a fixed-roof two-sleeper with rear sofa lounge Bailey designates the "B62" and a pop-up four-berth with vis-a-vis rear bathroom and kitchen it calls the "B64."
The company could have simply exported one of those floor plans into a Ford E-Transit and called it a day, or even just put a flashy wrap on an empty Ford E-Transit, locked the doors and called it an e-camper concept (it wouldn't be the first to do so). Instead, Bailey went the full mile in developing a preview of the more sustainable style of camper it sees underpinning the next stage of its plan to go Net Zero by 2050.
So far, Bailey's Net Zero efforts have focused on the decarbonization of daily operations. However, it knows that to truly meet its goals it will need to decarbonize actual camper products in the coming years. The biggest contributor of that effort will be the switch from traditional internal combustion engines to zero-emissions alternatives.
Bailey, therefore, uses the Endeavor EV as an experiment in next-generation sustainability and product development. It reconfigures the B62 floor plan and removes LPG appliances in favor of all-electric counterparts, starting with an induction cooktop and microwave oven replacing the triple-burner gas stove/oven range in the production Endeavor.
In back, Bailey replaces the passenger-side sofa of the production B62 floor plan with a cabinet/drawer storage console topped by a long shelf. This move helps it to create a triple-mode space that starts off in "day mode" as a living room-like lounge with a sidewall sofa facing the power-retractable TV that drops down from the overhead cabinet. This configuration keeps access to the passenger-side rear door open for easy ingress and egress.
In "office mode," the sofa bench cushion closest to the front of the van slides around to the rear to create an L-shaped workstation fixed around a removable table. This blocks access to both rear doors but leaves an empty space where the repositioned cushion was, which now clears room for a small drop-down laptop desk, offering multiple options for occupants to spread out and focus on work. Office mode doubles as dining mode, as the table and L-shaped bench can be used to seat the two occupants for a comfortable meal.
At night, additional cushions combine to create a double bed that serves as the van's only sleeping area – the van is also limited to two belted seats for driving so is purely a two-person concept camper. Just in front of the bed, the space-optimizing roller door for the wet bathroom has a concave orientation when the bathroom is not in use, clearing more kitchen/aisle space, and rolls out into convex form to expand bathroom floor space for showering and toilet access.
Bailey also uses the Endeavor EV concept to explore mobile smart home technology, installing a large tablet-style touchscreen command center over top the kitchen and an Amazon Alexa speaker on the rear shelf. The touchscreen could be used to control and monitor any or all onboard electronics and settings, while the Alexa speaker decentralizes the multicolor lighting system and Wi-Fi/Bluetooth audio, allowing campers to control those features via voice command without getting up or even pulling a phone out.
To further explore sustainability in camper van construction, Bailey sourced sustainable materials for much of the interior. Its efforts are most visible in the vibrant black-speckled white kitchen counter built from a material called Polygood, which is made from used kitchen appliances. Other examples include recycled-polyester upholstery, cork flooring and harvested ocean-plastic hardware. The multicolor interior reflects a "relaxed rainforest" theme that really shines through via the green cabinetry and wood-look doors and paneling.
For the exterior wrap, Bailey decided to add some drama with an explosion of electric blue leaping diagonally off the plain white front-end and black lower van cladding. The color ties in with the blue grille bars of the E-Transit and definitely makes the van known as a visionary electric camper.
Bailey makes clear that it has no immediate plans to add an Endeaver EV electric camper van to its lineup. In its current iteration, the base E-Transit itself is hampered by a meager 108-mile (174-km) range and the Endeavor package must rely on a 230-V shore power hookup to run its all-electric appliance set. Bailey plans to use the van as an early blueprint in the path toward electrification and says it will ultimately work with suppliers on off-grid power options.
Concept camper vans with no production future usually don't come with a price tag, but Bailey kindly estimates the Endeavor EV at 75% above the price of the £70,000 ICE Endeavor B62. That puts it at £122,500+ (approx. US$149,000), which is quite a price to pay for a camper that can't go much farther than 100 miles (62 km) without stopping for a charge. Bailey says that about 33% of the price hike from Endeavor to Endeavor EV is based on the higher price of the E-Transit itself, while the rest comes down to pricier specs like the smart control systems, drop-down TV and recycled materials.
While the Endeavor EV won't be available for purchase anytime soon, the UK has long been a leader in the electric camper van market and offers a number of options based on e-vans like the Nissan e-NV200, Vauxhall Vivaro and Volkswagen ID. Buzz.
Source: Bailey of Bristol