Several car companies are designing and building electric vans and in the next couple of years and consumers will have a choice of vehicles to choose from. Major obstacles still remain, such as driving range and charging capabilities.
For vandwellers, the idea of a full-electric van for boondocking is still unrealistic and hard to imagine. While range anxiety is a valid concern at 125 miles, the newest electric passenger vehicles manage to go beyond 300 miles and vans likely will follow the same path.
One thing is different for vandwellers: they are dependent on public charging stations and until these stations are ubiquitous and found at every street corner, no self-proclaimed boondocker would take an electrically powered vehicle in consideration.
The obvious hurdles to charging may be alleviated in the future through the use of solar technologies, but that’s still a long way off.
In the meantime, a very few of us would be able to lay their hands on a Ford Transit Electric StreetScooter Work XL, but they would have to go to Germany, where Ford is building 150 electric vans in 2017 and 2500 units in 2018. The van is built on a Ford Transit chassis that features a battery-electric drive-train with between 30 to 90 kWh or a range of 50 to 125 miles.
Or just wait for the Mercedes Benz Vision, a van designed for urban use.
The MB Vision van is designed as a delivery truck and sets the standard for future generations of vans and is powered by a 75 kW electric drive system with a range of 125 miles,
Driverless vehicles like the Vision will offer a whole new understanding of the home-on-wheels concept. The designers have done without a steering wheel, pedals and center console, freeing up most of the cabin to be included in the living area of the van.
While the Vison Van is a concept vehicle, some parts like the front end, will find their way into the new 2018 MB Sprinter.
For the most adventurous amongst us, it is time to reassess how living in a van could be made as comfortable as urban living.