Expandable camper pod turns Cybertruck or F-150 into a micro-RV
Tesla threw a big, clanky wrench into the pickup camper industry machine when it introduced the Cybertruck. In an instant, the world's hottest pickup truck was entirely incompatible with every traditional camper product out there, from basic shells to huge slide-in expanders. There are certain to be plenty of Cybertruck-specific campers to fill the void, but California startup Form Camper has designed a pickup camper that works with both the Cybertruck and traditional pickups. It starts off as a carbon fiber box that fits neatly between the bed walls before expanding electrically into a hard-walled hut for all-electric camping.
In order to fit both Cybertruck and traditional pickup beds, camper builders will have to create designs that do not sit on or extend past the bed sides, where Tesla's angled rails will interfere. In the case of CyberLndr that means sizing an expandable box to the Cybertruck's unique dimensions and tying it to Tesla's battery. Form Camper goes with a more universal approach, creating a basic rectangular box sized to fit between the sides of virtually any pickup bed.
Of course, a box isn't exactly comfortable to sleep in for those that count themselves among the living, so Form is engineering a full expansion system. Instead of simply folding out, Form's electrically-actuated box-in-box design extends off the back of the pickup truck to create a separate room that drops down to ground level, simultaneously deploying a single hard roof over the entire space. It works like so:
The fully deployed interior will have 71 square feet (6.6 sq m) of total floor space inside the walls and include a door to the outside. A pair of nylon-ripstop canopies will deploy off the sides to expand overall sheltered space.
The Form camper reminded us at first sight of a high-tech, pickup-top version of an Aussie hard-floor camping trailer, but it operates more similarly to a pickup version of the ioCamper and has an interior more like the recently launched Flip90 truck camper. Like the ioCamper, it will be able to camp with or without the base vehicle, in this case, relying on electric telescopic legs to lift off the bed and stand on its own at base camp. The truck will then be free to venture out on daytime adventures without having to lug around the camper bulk.
The Form interior will require just a little bit of setup to complete an estimated five minutes of total setup time. Users will fold out the double bed in the pickup-top section of the camper, which is folded in half to make room for the stored kitchen block that slides out during expansion. They will then slide out the kitchen cooktop and sink and the separate worktop when needed. The kitchen block will also include a fridge/freezer and various drawers and cabinets. Bidirectional slides and dual-sided cabinets will allow the kitchen to be used seamlessly inside or outside.
Between the kitchen block and rear wall, the Form will have a cushioned bench for dining on the flip-up table across from the seat-step up to the bed. Remove the bench and the space will then double as the wet bath, providing a portable toilet, wall-mounted shower, and privacy door.
Plans call for the Form camper to be LPG-free, running entirely off a battery, either the available 300-Ah deep-cycle lithium-ion battery or the large automotive pack of an electric truck like the Cybertruck or F-150 Lightning. A 400-watt roof-integrated solar charging system will help prolong battery life and off-grid autonomy. The camper promises to provide further off-grid readiness by carrying 189 liters of fresh water below the bed and a reverse-osmosis system for purifying extra water in the field.
Form will use a weight-shaving sandwich construction of aluminum honeycomb between carbon fiber, keeping the estimated dry weight down to 1,000 lb (454 kg) and tank-filled wet weight to 1,300 lb (590 kg). It plans to launch with a single size that measures 9.8 x 4.4 x 3.4 feet (300 x 135 x 102 cm) when packed down into box form. The camper will be designed to work with the full gamut of pickup trucks with beds between 5.5 and 8 ft (1.7 to 2.4 m) long. Shorter-bed trucks will require a hitch-mounted support arm to stabilize the camper during expansion.
In addition to the Cybertruck, Form is building its early advertising around market leaders like the F-150 and Chevy Silverado. We confirmed with the company that the initial single-size camper model will not work with the Rivian R1T because of the truck's unusually short 4.5-ft bed.
Form plans to complete a prototype by the second quarter of 2022, and specs and features are subject to change. It intends to begin production in the second half of 2022 and will offer a limited first run of 500 units. Retail price is estimated at US$69,500, but those who preorder now can get a discount of between $5,000 and $20,000 with varying levels of fully refundable down payment. The lowest $49,500 price level requires a $10,000 deposit and will only be offered in quantities up to 25 units.
We look forward to taking a close look at the prototype once it's developed.
Source: Form Camper