Renault electric camper urges solo nomads to ditch office, go outdoors
As if the modern office worker needed another reason to push for a remote schedule, Renault has revealed the Hippie Caviar Motel mini-camper concept. Just looking at it makes us want to call out sick and head for the mountains to escape the grind for a few hours or days. Renault homes in on solo nomadism by skipping the usual two-/four-person floor plan and dialing the van for single-person adventures. The smart, convertible floor plan supports the driver with a dining area, single-person bed, mud room, gear storage and scenic lounging. And in case the driver feels even the slightest pang of conscience about the "sick" day, the van doubles as a rolling office so he or she can at least answer a couple emails before calling it a night.
After witnessing last year's Hippie Caviar Hotel concept, we weren't expecting a practical or traditional camper van layout from this year's Hippie Caviar Motel ... just something smaller and more efficient. Renault meets those expectations emphatically, making the smaller, simpler Motel concept a unique single-person RV.
Renault clears out any sign of rear seats in order to make room for a chic, purpose-driven layout that supports the owner's craziest action sport whims. A convertible camper seat faces backward and partners with a flip-up table to create a laptop workstation and solo dining area. Renault makes no mention of a kitchen, so Hippie Caviar Motel pilots will probably want to pack a meal or bring their own camp cooking equipment. A small tailgate grill seems like it'd complement the flexible, free-spirited nature of spontaneous Hippie Caviar Motel adventures quite nicely.
The other half of floor plan houses what looks at first like a flashy mini-bar or console but ultimately appears to serve only as a divider wall separating the main living area from the mud room and changing station inside the driver-side sliding door. The integrated rear-corner lounge seat is perfectly positioned for catching a fiery sunset after a long, tiring day, and the reflective puffy upholstery delivers warming comfort inspired by the reflective emergency gear and down jackets common in mountain sport.
Renault's simplified, opened-up floor plan leaves plenty of load space in the rear and pass-through accommodation for longer gear. Skis (and maybe fishing rods) find home on the lightweight roof carrier, and an inconspicuous rear door window flare is actually a low-profile storage pouch.
The aforementioned mud room includes hooks to hang wet clothing and a waterproof storage box that looks perfect for boots and accessories. Renault focuses in on winter sports, so the mud room would be ready for hanging a damp, snow-covered jacket and neatly storing away wet boots, gloves, goggles and hats to prevent them from getting the living area all dank. It's just as easy to imagine the space working for surfing wetsuits, muddy hiking boots, bike helmets and body armor, backpacks, and other gear. The only thing we'd add is an electrical socket tapped into the automotive battery pack for plugging in a portable boot/glove dryer.
For those who forgot to call in sick and are instead inspired to cut out of work early after catching a glimpse of the Hippie Caviar Motel from the office window, the near-silent Kangoo E-Tech electric powertain will aid in their stealthiness. The 45-kWh lithium battery won't provide long-distance escape on a single charge, but the 177-mile (285 km) range is augmented by 80-kW fast-charging that delivers 106 miles (171 km) in about 30 minutes — so the workplace escapee doesn't have to get caught at the trailhead around the corner, either.
As promised, Renault revealed the Hippie Caviar Motel at this week's IAA Transportation show in Hanover, Germany, and it plans to show it again at next month's Paris Motor Show. Hymer's recent green lighting of the fantastical 2019 Vision Venture RV concept has us loath to say "never," but we can't imagine Renault ever bringing anything even remotely like this to market. As last year's concept/production camper split showed, an e-Kangoo production camper would likely (and smartly) toe the line of convention and practicality.
Renault uses a crazy sport to hype its crazy camper van concept, showing how the Hippie Caviar Motel serves as a tiny, efficient support vehicle for speedriding pro Valentin Delluc.