Tesla-powered urban adventure camper van takes modern living off-grid
New Jersey van conversion startup Ready.Set.Van steps away from the overbuilt Sprinter 4x4s that tend to dominate the American van conversion scene to build a sleeker, more cosmopolitan breed of camper van that reflects its East Coast origins. Perfect for heading out to the wide-stretching expanses of the West or staying East and hopping between cities and suburbs, Ready Set's Promaster 159 vans feature beautifully appointed interiors wired up with more Tesla battery power than some plug-in hybrids. So owners can stick close to home or head for the horizon.
"White and wood grain" is making an argument to become the official camper van motif of 2020. We just saw how Freedom Vans used it to bring warmth and light into its Chongo camper van, and Ready.Set.Van uses it the same way, albeit with simpler, smoother whites and more wood mixed in. The look of the decor will ultimately be up to the buyer, but the van RSV chooses to highlight all over its launch photos has wood floors, counters and upper cabinet faces contrasted with clean white furniture and walls. A touch of gray is added via the cushion fabric, bedding and kitchen stainless steel, while a marble-look backsplash blends white and gray together. Ambient lighting mounted down the center of the ceiling, on the underside of the cabinets and inside the sidewall expansion flares around the bed warms things up.
Adding to the van's homey ambiance is a neat, spacious layout that has a long two/three-seat bench inside the sliding entry as a part of a dinette that's completed by a shorter bench on the other side and a wood table that slides out from underneath the bed. The rear cushion of the long passenger-side bench conceals an available portable toilet below.
The kitchen block across from the entry includes an induction cooktop, residential-style stainless steel sink and 80-L under-counter fridge.
Around the back, RSV adds some choose-your-own-adventure capability inside a load area that still wears the white-and-wood styling. The under-bed cargo area is left as free as possible, sized to carry two mountain bikes neatly next to the outdoor shower.
Where RSV really pushes its vans above and beyond ordinary is in the electrical system. Camper vans still commonly come with basic 100 or 200-Ah AGM batteries, but RSV steps toward off-grid self sufficiency by sourcing batteries from Tesla. Its standard electrical package includes a 420-Ah battery connected to 400 watts of solar charging and a 3,000-watt inverter. Buyers can also step up to the 840-Ah "Upgrade" or 1,260-Ah "Maniac" packages. The latter brings 15.6 kWh of capacity, giving it more battery than the new Euro-market Ford Transit Custom PHEV, which relies on a 13.6-kWh pack, not to run induction cooktops, air conditioners or other camping appliances, but to power itself forward for up to 35 miles (56 km) of zero-emissions driving.
"A lot of our clients are from the East Coast, where summers can be extremely hot, or they have dogs and want to be able to leave the dogs in the van while they’re out adventuring for the day," RSV founder Ben Fraser explains. "Having the capacity for extended hours of air conditioning can be a game changer."
RSV estimates that the base 420-Ah battery will run a camper van A/C system for four or five hours, while the Maniac package will run it for 12 to 15 hours.
The "Basecamper" layout described is RSV's entry level conversion and starts at US$33,750, not including the van. Buyers looking for something more can upgrade to the $42,250 Basecamp Plus package shown just above, which includes a wet bath between a front dinette and rear bed. The $42,750 "Wanderer" package has a rear Murphy bed and dual-bench dining area, central wet bath and kitchen, and front wardrobe. All three vans come with the 420-Ah battery system as standard, and more power is a separate upgrade. A new 2020 Promaster 2500 159 cargo van starts at $38,190, so a complete brand-new RSV camper van starts just under $72,000.