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VW e-Transporter & e-California

Ajspicer

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I note that VW has registered the names “e-Transporter” amongst others that probably relate to an Electric variant of the T6 or future T7. They have shown their e-Crafter at a recent motor show and this is due for release later this year.


It is only a matter of time before the California based vehicle is available in an electric format, but what sort of range would it need to have to make it a viable option as a campervan for you? I personally would be happy with 150 to 200 miles as I usually need a break after driving this far anyway.


There are many American companies converting old splitscreens and bay window vans to electric powered vehicles with amazing results. If a kit became available for the T5, I would ditch the diesel power for sure.
 
hirsty

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Lots of if's & but's in this one (eg: will there be a charger available where I'm going?) but all other things being equal I welcome it. It's becoming an increasingly viable option as the efficiency & price point of both batteries and drivetrain improves - ideally I'd like to see 300-miles, which'd be enough for most days with a bit left in reserve or for use the morning after.

They'll definitely get this ironed out with transport fleet vehicles, mass-adoption will come from someone like DHL, UPS or Amazon (when they reach Prime / Grocery tipping point) getting it nailed with a big manufacturer.

Not expecting much enthusiasm around these parts though, even Stop/Start appears to be seen as the Devils work! :eek:
 
MattBW

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After watching the electric bays and splits part of me is quite tempted to convert my T25 to electric, its doable now and possible to get 250 mile ranges apparently on a small split screen van. I'm going to wait though things can only improve and conversion a bit like solar will get more affordable.

Interesting times.
 
soulstyledevon

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I have done 800miles in 13hours.
I would expect any vehicle I own to be capable of the same. If not, it's a no from me.
Why would I buy a touring vehicle with limited touring capabilities ...???
 
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hirsty

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It’s amusing how many posts there are across this broader forum praising / referencing the ongoing evolution across six generations of VW Transporter - this makes it somehow makes it more authentic & ‘the real deal’.

However whenever anything genuinely innovative is raised it’s often dismissed as useless - unless introduced in it’s finalised fully formed end-state.

Mr Benz would’ve had a tough sell (even throwing in the man with a red flag to walk upfront) to the ‘horse & carriage’ drivers here 100-years ago. It got better for him real fast from there though, with support from state infrastructure & legislation, new competitors & economies of scale, leading to huge societal shifts & a barely recognisable product within a generation or two.

Tesla didn’t exist when the T5 launched & now have the largest market cap of any car firm & their latest S can do 390+ miles on a charge.
 
soulstyledevon

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Tesla didn’t exist when the T5 launched & now have the largest market cap of any car firm & their latest S can do 390+ miles on a charge.
Theres the problem. Having a limited range on your family hatch-back or city car isn't much of an issue. But we often do large miles and need a vehicle capable of the same.
True, things need to start somewhere. But 60 years ago you could buy a first generation transporter van and drive to the other side of Europe with just a few 5 minute refuelling stops. Electric does not offer that option and i struggle to see it ever being able to do so.

The California offers us a freedom no other vehicle can and thats the attraction...
If someone said to you,
"here is the new Electric California. It can cover 250 miles before an 8 hour recharge"
You wouldn't be satisfied.
Yeah, not really going to work for about 95% of California owners.
 
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Velma's Dad

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Presumably a crucial factor in whether it's viable in a camper is not just the between-charges range, but also very importantly the re-charge time?

I'd be quite happy with a camper that needed, say, a 45 min re-charge on a trip between the South East and Scotland. As I only use the van for leisure trips (I realise for some it's their daily driver - that's a different use-case) then planning in one or even a couple of short stops on a long trip isn't going to be a showstopper.

Having to spend a slightly longer time waiting for a re-charge, than the 5 mins to throw in some diesel/petrol, will presumably stimulate investment in decent facilities at service areas, where people would actually be happy to spend an hour. Actually on trips north we rarely spend less time than that for a break at Tebay on the M6, with its good quality food and shopping.

So will the less-time-crunched oldsters (and I'm not as young as my avatar picture makes out, you know) be the first-adopters of e-campers?

But can anyone with industry knowledge give us a clues as to the expected re-charge time (on a decent high-powered charging point, eg at a motorway services) for the next generation of batteries?
 
Digger

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Who knows what the future holds. One issue of charging electric cars will be capacity and time. A normal petrol station can refuel 12 vehicles every 3 minutes. What would we require if we moved over to electric with 20 million vehicles requiring charging. Not being negative but it will be a challenge.
 
Lewis

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Who knows what the future holds. One issue of charging electric cars will be capacity and time. A normal petrol station can refuel 12 vehicles every 3 minutes. What would we require if we moved over to electric with 20 million vehicles requiring charging. Not being negative but it will be a challenge.
I think this is the biggest issue until we make radical improvements in battery life.

My concern about the governments announcement is that it may slow infrastructure development in the short term as companies wait for the inevitable incentives/subsidies. Until these are forthcoming companies may not want to invest heavily only to realise that a better deal came along later.

I just can't help but feel that the government is so preoccupied with sorting out the EU situation and staying in power that the time and energy needed to advance the move away from petrol/diesel just isn't there. I'm happy to be proved wrong though and broadly support the direction of travel.
 
Bellcrew

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I think this is the biggest issue until we make radical improvements in battery life.

My concern about the governments announcement is that it may slow infrastructure development in the short term as companies wait for the inevitable incentives/subsidies. Until these are forthcoming companies may not want to invest heavily only to realise that a better deal came along later.

I just can't help but feel that the government is so preoccupied with sorting out the EU situation and staying in power that the time and energy needed to advance the move away from petrol/diesel just isn't there. I'm happy to be proved wrong though and broadly support the direction of travel.
The Japanese government does not have these distractions and whilst they are encouraging the use of electric vehicles , their manufacturers are pushing hard for hydrogen fuel cell technology which makes more sense for long distance endurance/heavy vehicle usage. Taxation will be the biggest conundrum in the change from hydrocarbon power to electricity.
 
hotel california

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The Cali in set-up as we know it now (T5/6 ) can not be powerd by electric engine imo.
Battery's and generator probally weigh more than a engine and 80l fuel .
Plus the fact most electric verhicles have a small combistion engine to back up when battery's are low.

A Cali now can only take 500kg load , wonder how much a electric Cali would be carrying 50kg .

Just my 50cent
 
owen_h

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Just had a look at the trips I'm planning to do over the next fornight during my main holiday in the Cali to see how feasible they would be in an e-Cali.
Longest daily mileage is 415 miles but that is split 140 to the channel tunnel & 275 miles to a campsite on the Luxembourg/Germany border. So if the tunnel or ferries offered re-charge I would need a range of ~ 300miles and recharge on the campsite.
The other long daily journey will be Black Forest to Reimes ~ 300 miles. May well have a stop during this leg that could be used for a top up charge.
So for me the absolute minimum range would be 300miles and that would be assuming that the infrastructure in charging stations was in place. (including campsites).
 
Teejay

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snip.
So for me the absolute minimum range would be 300miles and that would be assuming that the infrastructure in charging stations was in place. (including campsites).
We did see someone charging their PHEV while on hookup, all I could see was a few cables running under the caravan and one into the side of the PHEV.
 
owen_h

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We did see someone charging their PHEV while on hookup, all I could see was a few cables running under the caravan and one into the side of the PHEV.
Just had a bit of Googling on how long it would take to fully recharge an electric car on a 10A or 16A supply. (that you would typically find on a campsite). Obviously its going to depend on the battery capacity but the best I could find was on a Tesla forum where there were times of 35hours being quoted.
They (on the Tesla forum) seem to be talking in mph = miles per hour of charging and getting between 2 to 6 miles (range) per hour on domestic 10A sockets.
 
rod_vw

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My son's GTE Golf (hybrid) will do about 22 miles on its battery before the petrol engine comes in. That gives an example of where the current (no pun intended) hybrid technology is now.
 
Milo4

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Who knows what the future holds. One issue of charging electric cars will be capacity and time. A normal petrol station can refuel 12 vehicles every 3 minutes. What would we require if we moved over to electric with 20 million vehicles requiring charging. Not being negative but it will be a challenge.
The great thing about EVs is that most people start the day with a full tank so the above is not realistic. Sure the current infrastructure is not perfect but imagine if half the parking spaces in car parks had a 3 pin plug socket then most people could top up while they shopped. Most people's vans are parked up on campsites overnight, so that alone would give everyone 60+ miles in their tank every morning before they needed to plug into a rapid charger.

Everyone loves to quote monster distances to justify why an EV doesn't work. If you are driving 200miles without a 20-30 min break then you are just increasing your risk of an accident. I have a Tesla an even though the car does most of the driving for me I still stop every 2 hours for a break. I bung it on charge for 20 mins at a supercharger and I'm good to go again. Most journeys are less than 200 miles but of course some people are the exception to this.

The biggest issue I see with the Cali is weight. The Tesla is about half a tonne heavier than a normal car, so the same in the current Cali chassis just wouldn't work. I'm sure VW have got a plan though...
 
marshian70

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We've had various governments recently announcing the intention to ban petrol and diesel new car sales by 2040. Whether this is realistic or not given that electric appears to be the currently favoured alternative, it makes sense for companies like VW to register these names long before they might actually need them. Saves a load of hassle...and money. We might no see an e-camper for some time but diesel and petrol as an energy source will I'm sure eventually give way to something else.
 

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