One of world's most versatile mini campers becomes a fully electric RV
Just three years ago, Pössl introduced the Vanster as a lighter, simpler, more affordable multipurpose camper van sibling to its Campster. With the ability to quickly transform from an eight-person passenger van, to a four-person camper, to an empty cargo van, to everything in between, the 195-in-long (495-cm) Vanster is easily one of the most versatile vans in the world. And now it's also one of the cleanest, coming in a fully electric e-Vanster spec ready to travel the open road for up to 185 miles (298 km) a charge.
The e-Vanster was announced earlier this year, and it made a big splash at the 2022 Düsseldorf Caravan Salon that wrapped up on Sunday. Not only did it appear prominently on Pössl's stand, but it was also part of a green tech exhibit in an outdoor courtyard. The new van ultimately brings clean, quiet driving to a design so versatile that the below configurations are just some of the ways owners can use it as an everyday minivan, cargo hauler, adventure shuttle or camper:
The e-Vanster maintains everything worth loving about the original Vanster while adding a zero-emissions powertrain. It's essentially just a new powertrain option for the Vanster lineup, based on the 134-hp (100-kW) Citroën e-SpaceTourer with largest 75-kWh lithium battery. Like the diesel Vanster variants, the e-Vanster comes equipped as standard with a very light, simple sleeper package that includes a pop-up roof with double bed, a 220-V hookup, swivel cab seats, a three-seat second-row bench, and a slim, tall rear console with fold-out shelf and induction cooker. This version works as a light two-sleeper camper and a five-seat everyday MPV, and buyers can add a third row of seats for a total of eight spots.
Those looking to build the e-Vanster into a more capable, complete mini-camper van can select one of two removable "Campboxes." The Campbox Kitchen is a particularly flexible iteration of a tailgate kitchen box with a full-width frame. The frame houses slide-out modules on both sides of a central storage cubby. One slide-out module is a storage drawer stack with worktop, while the other is a complete sink system with basin, water canisters and 12-V pump-fed faucet. The central storage cubby includes an upper shelf for stashing the portable dual-burner gas stove and a large space below to hold a small fridge box, miscellaneous cooking gear or even a portable toilet.
Both the sink and storage modules can be used under the tailgate, removed from the frame and used outside, or set up inside the van into an L-shaped indoor kitchen. The entire Campbox is removable via Quick-Fix system to bring the van back to cargo- or people-mover configuration.
The second Campbox option, the Kitchen & Sleep adds a fold-out bed frame and three-piece mattress for use atop the folded rear SpaceTourer seats. This module, coupled with the sleeper roof, creates a four-sleeper layout good for family getaways.
At the Caravan Salon, Pössl showed a particularly light, versatile version of the e-Vanster that serves as both an everyday eight-seat MPV and a light camper van, without any conversion at all. It includes all eight seats (five standard, plus three optional), along with the standard Vanster package with pop-up sleeper roof, fold-out induction cooktop and swivel front seats. Adding either of the Campbox options would entail removing the third seating row, but as equipped, it was a seamless combination of eight-seat van for busy weekdays and two-sleeper light camper for relaxing weekends. One issue with using it as a camper van would be limited cargo space for camping gear, so owners would likely end up removing one or more rear seats or perhaps hitching up a trailer or cargo basket.
While the electric Vanster will offer a quiet, zero-tailpipe-emissions ride, it's not without some obvious downsides. Range is limited to an estimated 185 miles (298 km) or 237 miles (382 km) in the city. The latter figure might prove ample during the week when the Vanster is used mostly for daily urban commuting, but the 185 miles is definitely on the lean side for a road trip. Top speed is also limited to 81 mph (130 km/h), down from 115 mph (185 km/h) on the diesel model – not necessarily an issue, but we've definitely known a few RVers and road trippers who have exceeded 80 mph for large portions of their trip.
The electric Vanster weighs roughly 660 lb (300 kg) more than the higher-powered diesel Vanster but also comes standard with an uprated 6,830-lb (3,100-kg) GVWR that keeps payload at a respectable 1,706 lb (774 kg), only slightly less than the 1,768 lb (802 kg) on that top-spec diesel variant. That GVWR bump is available optionally on diesel models, so the e-Vanster won't have the option of extra payload like the standard Vansters do.
The basic e-Vanster with aforementioned standard package starts at €58,499 (approx. US$57,850). The Campbox Kitchen is available as an add-on starting at €2,099, while the Campbox Kitchen & Sleep starts at €2,649. For reference, the 2023 Vanster starts at €40,999 when built atop a Citroën Spacetourer or Peugeot Traveler with 142-hp 2.0-liter BlueHDI engine and €43,999 atop a Spacetourer/Traveler with 174-hp 2.0.