The European motorhome market is flush with modular camper vans, but more models than not are midsize and smaller vans with simple, compact interiors. Vans like the Pössl Vanster and Terracamper VW Terock do a great job of transforming between camping, passenger-hauling and work van duties, but they lack some of the comfort, style and amenities of full-size camper vans, most notably a proper bathroom. German RV materials specialist Vöhringer has taken the next step in modular camper van design, sizing its ConceptCamper 2021 up to a full-size 6-m (19.7-foot) Ducato with a classic European layout capable of clearing out completely to turn the van into an empty cargo van or large passenger shuttle.
Vöhringer used the Covid-19 pandemic as a jumping off point to explore the future of modularity, stating that RV buyers are on the lookout for better modular solutions in response to the flux and uncertainty we’ve seen throughout 2020. A full-size camper van for everyday driving or work use that doubles as a vacation tourer during shaky times when flying, hotels and large, crowded spaces in general remain unattractive seems like the exact type of modularity that could benefit many buyers in 2020 and beyond.
Not all camper buyers are eager to sacrifice comfort and luxury to obtain flexibility, however. Some will not be willing to squeeze into a cramped midsize or compact van, modularity or not, opting instead for the space, comfort and full amenity suite of a class-leading Fiat Ducato camper.
But why can’t they have both?
Vöhringer explores how its suite of lightweight interior building materials and hardware can be used to create furniture modules that are fully functional on the road but also easily removable at home. The floor plan is the classic layout we’ve seen more times than we can count in European camper vans: rear bedroom, front dinette, and central bathroom and kitchen. The big difference is that every component removes completely from the van, freeing it for cargo carry or the installation of extra rows of seating.
A critical cornerstone of Vöhringer’s work is the light, simplified plug-and-play kitchen. Like the other modules, it attaches to the floor rails, bringing everything onboard cooks need, without the size or clutter of a permanent in-van kitchen. The sunken dual-burner stove and sink unit stretches nearly the full width of the countertop, so cooks need to rely on the flip-up worktop extension and stove/sink lid for cutting and other prep work. A refrigerator at the front end of the kitchen block is positioned for indoor/outdoor access.
The compact kitchen block falls short of what gourmets on the move might desire, but the advantage in cutting its size lies in opening up enough space for a pair of longitudinal rear beds, a feat that might otherwise necessitate a move up to a larger 6.3-m+ (20.1+ ft) base van. Each of the ConceptCamper’s beds offers at least 2 m (6.6 ft) of sleeping length, folding neatly against the respective sidewall during the day to free up the load area for transporting cargo.
Ahead of the driver’s side bed is one of the most compact wet baths with shower enclosures we’ve ever seen. Vöhringer packs all the necessary bathroom equipment into an extremely compact footprint, relying on a thin roller enclosure to close the bathroom door and seal the shower off from the toilet and sink at the rear. We’ve seen similar roller-wall solutions before, but they often extend out into the center aisle to create the necessary space (something that might also be more optimal than that shoulder-to-shoulder shower wall here).
Vöhringer’s bathroom certainly won’t rival a hotel shower in space and comfort, but the compact design looks to provide a higher quality experience than wet cells that do without a partition between shower and toilet while maintaining a light enough construction to remove entirely from the van.
The front dinette is a straightforward and familiar combination of two-seat passenger bench with seat belts, removable dining table and swivel driver cab seats. Vöhringer also mentions the proposition of an adjustable-height mobile workstation for those work-from-home newcomers looking for a functional home/travel office space.
The foundation of Vöhringer’s modular build is a floor with integrated rails for attaching the camper equipment. It relies on the company’s VStrong sandwich composite flooring material for strength, durability and water resistance. Vöhringer’s VLight Basic wood/poly/foam panels help keep the furniture light enough to remove and install with ease, and VFlex polyester wall cladding creates an aesthetic interior that eliminates the rotting and problems associated with plywood. The lightweight materials also help to cut the weight of the overall conversion, reserving more of the van’s payload for passengers and cargo.
Vöhringer is showing the ConceptCamper 2021 at the 2020 Düsseldorf Caravan Salon. You can take a closer look in the short video introduction below.
Vöhringer ConceptCamper 2021 – Innovative – Modular – Affordable (EN)