All-electric Mercedes camper van connects city centers and country campgrounds
Following up on the all-electric Nissan N-Vane mini-campervan concept they showed at last year's Düsseldorf Caravan Salon, the van conversion masters at Reimo were back to battery basics this year, showing a fuller, more versatile zero-emissions camper van. The Mercedes-based Weekender E slides into the driveway as a multifunctional family powerhouse, spending the workweek commuting around the city and weekends escaping on mountain or coastal getaways without ever dirtying the crisp, clean air.
The recipe behind the Weekender E, or Weekender Easy as it was also labeled at the Caravan Salon, includes one essential ingredient: the eVito, a 116-hp battery-powered version of Mercedes' mid-size van. Reimo suggests the van can handle trips up to 200 km (124 miles) per charge, but Mercedes' own estimates put the upper limit for the 41-kWh battery at between 150 and 184 km (93 and 114 mi), so it would seem Reimo just took that last figure and rounded up. Since it's a concept van, we won't deduct too many points for that – automakers themselves certainly don't shy away from providing the most "optimistic" of range estimates for concept cars.
Long story short, this isn't the van for cross-continental voyages or meandering road trips without a set destination – it's much better-equipped for fully organized trips to destinations relatively close to home. The limited range can be forgiven if you look at its other attributes, though.
The Weekender E is really designed to be a dual-purpose vehicle, working seamlessly as an everyday driver and as a camper van without any time-consuming conversion work in between. For that purpose, the electric powertrain delivers reliable, efficient, zero-emissions driving during short, defined work commutes, including in low-emissions zones, and the Reimo conversion package allows the van to work as a cleaner-driving holiday-mobile.
Last year's Reimo Nissan N-Vane was essentially a standard Nissan e-NV with a camper-in-a-box system thrown inside the lift-gate, but the Weekender E is a more thoroughly converted five-seat, four-sleeper pop-top camper van, albeit with light, simple equipment. Instead of a permanent kitchen block taking up a chunk of the van's midsection, Reimo goes with a more compact, versatile kitchen solution. Mounted to the floor rails, the swiveling kitchen block can be used indoors or swung outside and used under the open sky. Either way, it puts a single-burner gas stove and sink at campers' fingertips, adding a worktop and flip-up counter as prep space. With the loosening of a few bolts holding it to the floor rail, the kitchen block can also be easily removed, eliminating the one large piece of camper equipment from the van interior.
Reimo's three-seat rear bench folds down to create a double bed, and a second bed in the pop-up roof finishes off sleeping accommodations for a full family of four. The odd man out in the fifth van seat will have to pack his own hammock tent or make alternative sleeping arrangements.
Other than a folding table mounted to the back of the seating bench, under-seat storage drawers, a cabin heater with app control, and some insulation and wall upholstery, that's the entire package. So remove the kitchen (or even leave it in), and you have an unassuming five-seat passenger car good for daily driving. At under 2 m (6.6 ft) in height, it's even fully garageable.
While 124 mi (200 km) of range is simply way too little to get us excited about the prospect of an eVito all-electric camper van, Reimo's package does look like exactly the type of conversion that would benefit small electric vehicles. It's light so as not to add much range-cutting weight, and it's versatile and user-friendly enough to make the e-van work as an everyday driver first and foremost, and a camper whenever needed. It could be a win/win for urban dwellers who want a cleaner-driving commuter vehicle with camping capabilities.
Hopefully Reimo continues its series of electric show vans next year with a more road trip-ready, 249-mi-range (405-km) Mercedes EQV-based camper van, moving closer to a viable e-camper experience.