The RV market probably isn't quite ready for a full-blown electric motorhome just yet, but electric vehicles can still have a positive impact on vehicle camping by lending their powerful battery technology. With the new Nissan x Opus camping trailer, Nissan shows how EV batteries can fully power the equipment of a non-engined camper. The Leaf-derived Energy ROAM battery pack gives the innovative, award-winning Air Opus inflatable six-sleeper enough juice to keep campers comfortable and fed for up to a week, all without the emissions and noise of a gas generator.
Nissan already offers travelers an all-electric mini-campervan option, and now it shows how that very same battery technology could be used in a non-powered trailer, with all the battery power going to onboard amenities like the lighting, microwave and fridge.
Nissan plans to launch its portable, weatherproof Energy ROAM lithium-ion battery packs later this year in Europe, and as it moves toward that launch, it is exploring (and advertising) potential uses. It put the ROAM packs to use in last month's NV300 mobile workshop Concept-van and made similar Leaf-based battery packs a part of last year's Dark Sky and Frontier Sentinel concepts.
Each Energy ROAM pack repurposes lithium-ion battery cells pulled from first-generation Leaf cars, putting the "second-life" batteries to work for other purposes. Pricing has yet to be announced, but the packs could potentially find many uses, from powering tools on remote job sites, to keeping cooktops and fridge/freezers running at campsites, to cranking up audio/video equipment at outdoor parties and tailgates.
The latest Nissan electrification experiment turns the Air Opus inflatable pop-up trailer into an off-grid adventure machine ready to serve up everyday electrical conveniences on travels that run farther and longer than average. The Energy ROAM battery pack slides into a purpose-built front-mounted compartment, providing 700-Wh of capacity. Nissan reckons that's enough for roughly seven days of camping away from shore power, when factoring in some help from the 12V leisure battery and included 400W solar panel.
"Opus owners really love getting out into the wild and enjoying the more remote corners of the countryside," says Jonathan Harrison, Opus managing director. "At the moment, to go off-grid for any lengthy period, you either turn to a fossil-fuel generator or you compromise on the power you can use with existing battery solutions. This new concept integrating Nissan Energy ROAM is answering real customer needs. Soon campers might be able to take whichever road — or unbeaten track — they choose, safe in the knowledge they will be connected to a robust and sustainable energy supply."
The greater Nissan x Opus electrical system includes both 230V and 12V circuits, the former powered directly by the ROAM battery, the latter powered by the leisure battery charged via the Nissan pack. Onboard equipment that relies on electrical power of one form or another includes the air pump that auto-inflates the living space in 90 seconds, 230V microwave, fridge, digital video projection system, LED lighting, and 10-device 4G mobile Wi-Fi hotspot. No matter how far into the open landscape of dirt, rock and vegetation they roam, campers enjoy some impressive luxuries at camp.
Nissan's battery pack is removable and can be charged off the trailer, including in situations where you want to leave the trailer set up at camp and just carry the battery to a charging location. It only takes about an hour to charge from a 230V outlet or an estimated two to four hours from the 400W solar panel.
Beyond the new power system, the Nissan x Opus trailer is a generously equipped Air Opus riding on off-road tires and carrying gear to camp with its dual-bicycle rack and kayak carrier mount. Once at camp, it inflates effortlessly into shape at the push of a button, offering sleeping space for up to six people. The interior also includes a dual-burner gas stove, worktop and dining area with wraparound couch.
While not the basis of the Nissan x Opus, a forthcoming trailer would be an even more perfect match for Nissan's portable battery tech. Opus is in the process of bringing to the British market a more proper off-road trailer with off-road chassis, independent spring suspension, all-terrain wheels and tires, and stone guard. The model is designed specifically for Opus' home market of Great Britain and differs from the off-road-specific Outback model developed in Australia and later launched in the US. For instance, the British variant lets campers escape the country's oft-gloomy weather with a standard indoor kitchen in place of the slide-out kitchen on the Australian/US Off-Road model.
Opus UK plans to launch several Off-Road Air Opus variants in mid 2019 with base prices ranging between £20,995 and £24,995 (approx. US$27,100 and $32,250). Its standard road-oriented Air Opus lineup ranges between £15,995 and £18,995 ($20,650 and $24,500) to start.
Opus will show the Nissan x Opus concept at this week's Caravan, Camping & Motorhome Show at the NEC in Birmingham, UK. The show runs from Tuesday, February 19 to Sunday, February 24.
Look a little closer at the Nissan x Opus trailer and its features in the video below and photo gallery.
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