Vauxhall Elite camper van to roam roads as both an electric and diesel
We thought we were done rounding up electric campers for the year, but Vauxhall has squeezed in one more. The British marque has partnered up with British converter Wellhouse Leisure to create a camper van as British as the Union Jack itself. The Vauxhall Vivaro Elite Campervan will launch next year, first as a 2.0-liter turbo-diesel and later as an all-electric Vivaro-e camper. And like that, we'll kick off an era in which automakers sell their own camper vans in buyer's choice of combustion engine or electric drive.
Vauxhall announced the Vivaro Elite Campervan this week, outlining plans to get it to market in early 2021. After rolling off Vauxhall's production lines in Luton, UK, the high-spec Vauxhall Elite van will go on to get converted into the pop-up Campervan at Wellhouse Leisure's Barnsley, South Yorkshire factory, where its undiluted Britishness is recognized by the name "Vivaro Blighty."
The Blighty serves as the base for the Vivaro Elite Campervan and is essentially its identical twin, albeit available directly from Wellhouse Leisure. The camper van looks much the same as it did when we checked it out earlier this year, minus the optional Irmscher sports kit it was wearing at the time.
The Blighty/Elite Campervan conversion continues forward as a two- or four-sleeper with pop-up roof (roof bed optional) and two-seat rear bench that folds into a 188 x 117-cm (74 x 46-in) bed. The driver-side kitchen block comes topped with a combo dual-burner gas stove/sink unit, with a 25-L compressor fridge keeping things chilled below the countertop. The two-seat rear bench, swivel front seats and removable dining table create the dining lounge. Standard features include a 2.2-kW heater, interior lighting package, and 100-W solar panel wired to the onboard leisure battery.
The Elite base van spec brings with it a host of top-tier equipment, including a 7-in touchscreen Multimedia Navi Pro infotainment system with satellite navigation, semi-adaptive cruise control, rear-view camera, head-up display, front and rear parking sensors, and speed sign recognition with intelligent speed adaptation.
The Vivaro Elite Campervan will be available directly from Vauxhall, competing in that way with other automaker-badged British-market offerings like the Volkswagen California and Ford Nugget series. Pricing will start at £46,000 (approx. US$62,450).
The even more intriguing news in Vauxhall's announcement is confirmation that an all-electric version of the Vivaro camper van is also in development for 2021. Conversion shops from the UK and mainland Europe have long been leaders in creating small, efficient electric camper vans, so it's not surprising to see Wellhouse, which introduced a Ford Transit Custom PHEV camper van earlier this year, jumping in and converting the all-new Vivaro-e.
The all-electric Elite camper van will come with the larger 75-kWh lithium battery pack that gives the Vivaro-e up to 205 miles (330 km) of range. Wellhouse's preliminary spec sheet calls for the Vivaro-e camper van to have the same layout as the diesel Blighty, including the single bench/bed and optional second bed in the standard pop-up roof. Vauxhall didn't announce a price, but Wellhouse lists estimated base pricing for its "Blighty E" camper van at £59,995 ($81,400).
We look forward to taking a closer look at the Vivaro-e camper van once it's complete and ready for launch. We also look forward to seeing what other electric camper vans 2021 brings – the Fiat Ducato Electric and Mercedes-Benz EQV top our list of electric vans begging to be converted into camper vans.