Ah the classic campervan. What could be better? The sights, the bird song, the fresh air, and a comfy place to lounge, cook and sleep at the end of a hard day’s sightseeing. Bliss. What could be better? Well, for one thing the classic camper that we all know and love is a typically noisy Volkswagen with ‘that’ flat-four air-cooled soundtrack thumping its way through the countryside. They’re agricultural, smelly, dirty and incredibly underpowered at best. You’re lucky to get up most hills and it’s no wonder there’s an enormous market for modding engines or even replacing them altogether with the likes of Porsche derived power plants. They’re a relic from a bygone era and, curiously, attract a certain level of misplaced nostalgia. Essentially, the original VW Camper is nothing more than an inflated VW Beetle and they were from Nazi Germany!
Harsh? Perhaps, but this neatly sets the tone for the attitude taken by many to keep the best parts of the Camper and replace its worst [the engine].
What Campervans do well is offer convenient means of transport and accommodation in a single item. Ideally, these attributes should be kept while the engine replaced with something more harmonious.
Enter eDub Trips, a classic 1973 Campervan that’s had its engine transplanted with an electric motor. If you’ve read our Electric Classic Cars article (Issue 15) then you’ll know that this isn’t a new idea, but it is a good one. Take one classic car remove engine – keeping the gearbox in place - and install a set of batteries and a powerful electric motor. The result is still very much the same classic car, only now it can be used daily, is reliable and can not only keep up with traffic but overtake too.
Indie, as eDub Trip’s founder Kit Lacey has named ‘her’, is just such a vehicle. Under the rear seat is a bank of batteries that provides enough power to travel around 60-miles. Kit says the vehicle is capable of 75-miles, but to be on the safe side he tells guests the 60 figure.
While most EV conversions are in the hands of private owners who enjoy the idiosyncrasies of their retro-modern vehicle, Kit is generous enough to make Indie available for hire. It’s both the perfect way to enjoy a campervan experience, as well as – for many – their first electric vehicle experience too.
Our adventure with Indie begins just north of Harrogate, home of some famous tea, amongst other things and, it transpires, plenty of rain too.
This is actually a good thing, I tell my companion for the weekend, because while everyone else is sat miserable in their tents, we’ll be cocooned in a nice tin campervan. To which they grumbled something about hotels.
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