Bimobil 4x4 expedition vehicle to camp as a backcountry smart home
We've seen vans large and small incorporate Mercedes-Benz's MBAC smart motorhome control tech, and at this year's CMT show, we took a look at the world's first Class C motorhome to utilize it. No ordinary motorhome, Bimobil's LBX 365 is an off-grid expedition vehicle meant to venture into rarely explored spaces. Now it promises to bring a little modern convenience to those spaces, roaming the globe as a mobile backcountry hut with full-blown smart home control.
While MBAC should prove a nice, convenient addition to #vanlife, it's arguably even more of a boon to overlanding, in which having real-time access to metrics like water level and battery life could prove vital. So in adapting its LBX 365 floor plan to the latest Mercedes Sprinter, Bimobil takes advantage of the MBAC hardware to create a smart home-style control system that ties together many onboard appliances and components. Mercedes' design allows for control from a dedicated living area touchscreen, driver cab infotainment screen and mobile app.
Located between the bathroom and the rear dinette, Bimobil's easy-to-use living area touch display offers many of the same features we've seen on MBAC-powered camper vans like the Westfalia James Cook. We played around with the Bimobil system a little at CMT, and, even with the screen set to German, it was super fast and easy to navigate through the menus and find exactly what we wanted or perform simple operations like switching the lights on and off, in the entire motorhome or in specific areas.
Additional menus offer access to interior and refrigerator climate and information about the 200-L water tank and 210-Ah battery status. The only option we didn't find that we have used on other MBAC systems was audio control, which is too bad because having an app-controlled sound system in the middle of nowhere seems all kinds of right. But Bimobil's MBAC system is still in the prototype phase, so perhaps the audio feature was hidden or will be added later. Otherwise, we guess LBX 365 owners will just have to buy any of dozens of rugged, affordable outdoor Bluetooth speakers to get their smartphone-controlled music fix.
Beyond its new MBAC smarts, the 260-in (660-cm) LBX 365 is a capable two-person exploration machine with a spacious layout. The longitudinal double bed (two single beds, really) is tucked up in the alcove over the Sprinter cab, leaving the rest of the floor plan open for general living. Owners will find a kitchen block just inside the entry, a dry bathroom across the hall, and a large dinette at the rear. The dinette centers a dining table inside a U-shaped sofa and compacts down into a second bed when needed. Optionally, Bimobil offers two extra belted seats to make the 365 a proper four-person camper.
Appliances include a 100-L compressor fridge, dual-burner stove and Truma Combi 4 heater/water boiler. The base Sprinter comes with all-wheel drive and available 2.1-liter 161-hp or 3.0-liter 188-hp engines. The 188-hp exhibition model wore a base price tag of €146,859 (approx. US$162,975) and was optioned up to €183,172 ($203,250) with numerous add-ons including a 130-watt solar charging system, baking oven and reverse camera system. Pricing for the MBAC system hasn't been added yet because it's still under development.
Until Mercedes gets around to adding MBAC to the Unimog (pictured above on the Bimobil EX 432 that greeted visitors just outside the CMT entry), the LBX 365 promises to be among the most rugged three pointed star-badged rolling smart homes the world over.