Renault electric mini-camper is a funky hostel that roams 177 miles
Some of the best snowboarding, mountain biking and hiking trips take place not in fancy five-star spa hotels but in the most basic hostels, cabins and yurts, barebones accommodations that encourage travelers to spend more time doing what they came for, less time soaking up luxury in the hotel. It's that type of simple, focused trip that guides the design of the new Hippie Caviar Motel concept that Renault teased on Tuesday. Built atop the Kangoo E-Tech electric compact van, this Hippie Caviar is very different from last year's Hippie Caviar Hotel glamper van – more "hippie," much less "caviar" – but could be just the ticket for a fast-paced adventure getaway.
The only things tying the Hippie Caviar Motel teaser together with last year's Hippie Caviar Hotel preview are the "Hippie Caviar" in the name, an electric powertrain and colorful styling (albeit with very different colors). The two show cars are otherwise at opposite ends of the camper van spectrum and don't even share a base vehicle, as last year's van-based luxury micro-resort was based on the midsize Trafic, rather than the compact Kangoo.
The Kangoo E-Tech is certainly better-suited for a "roving, versatile and sprightly shelter for adventure and sports enthusiasts who are keen on wide open spaces and thrills" than it is for an expandable mobile hotel suite like the Hippie Caviar Hotel. Renault's quoted language sounds a lot to us like a sleeper van with a foldable bed and few other amenities, but maybe the automaker will go the way Mercedes and others have and use a simple third-party camper-in-a-box kit. Or maybe it will design a more complete and original camper interior – it certainly did last year.
To drive the point about sporty adventure and wide-open spaces home, Renault adds a ski rack on the roof and a colorful mountain graphics package on the side. A two-tone paint job with deep night blue and silver works naturally with the graphics, and subtle orange accents on both van and skis tie everything together like a bow. Renault mounts the ski rack toward the edge of the roof so it won't obstruct the view of the stars through the panoramic glass. The company also promises several other smart storage solutions for additional gear.
The new Hippie Caviar concept continues the eco-friendly theme of all-electric RVing by utilizing sustainable materials such as recycled tire and cork content for the interior floor and furnishings. Keeping things light and simple, as it appears Renault is doing, will get the most out of the Kangoo E-Tech's 45-kWh battery, which Renault estimates at a 177-mile (285-km) WLTP range. Renault says that the van can add 106 miles (170 km) of range in 30 minutes of charging, helping make that last push to a camp a little smoother when running too low on battery to make it all the way there without a charging stop.
Interestingly, Renault will debut the Hippie Caviar Motel not at this week's Düsseldorf Caravan Salon, a natural choice for such a concept and the debut venue of last year's Hippie Caviar, but at next month's IAA Transportation show in Hannover, Germany. We'll report all the details once Renault makes them available.