Is The Future Electric? The Growth of Electric Motorhomes and Campervans
There’s little doubting that electric cars are the future. The UK government’s ban on new petrol and diesel cars from 2030 is looming ever closer while rising fuel prices are also making traditional vehicles less viable. Electric vehicle sales hit new records in 2021 even as the wider market stalled – with more battery electric cars registered than in the prior five years combined. But what about electric motorhomes and campervans?
The technology could make your chosen travel method more eco-friendly as you get around producing zero emissions. But it remains early days, and while more electric concepts and base vehicles are emerging, it may be a few years yet before they’re a common sight on our roads.
Below, we’ve looked into the main pros and cons of adopting electric motorhomes and campervans in the UK. You’ll also get a sneak peek at some of the most exciting models currently available or in development.
The case for electric motorhomes and campervans
The primary argument for electric vehicles is clear: they’re better for the environment than combustion engine vehicles and are a vital tool in the fight against climate change.
Electric vehicles create zero tailpipe emissions when driving, improving air quality while producing substantially lower emissions over their lifetime even when factoring in manufacture and electricity generation. Zero driving emissions is especially beneficial for vehicles travelling long distances like motorhomes and campervans often do.
Electric motorhomes and campervans will therefore have great appeal for those who want to holiday and indeed live more sustainably. They also create next to no noise pollution, allowing people and wildlife around you to enjoy a more peaceful environment.
Your running costs should also be significantly less given you’ll be foregoing traditional fuel. While real-world data is limited on the topic, it’s also expected that servicing will work out cheaper due to there being fewer moving parts to break down or wear out. Fully electric vehicles are currently exempt from road tax too, cutting down your annual spend even further.
Barriers to electric motorhome and campervan adoption
Various issues are restricting widespread adoption at the moment – including a couple of key points that are unique to this market.
First is load weight. While electric motors weigh less than internal combustion engines, the large electric batteries that are required for range currently weigh at least the same or more. Considering a regular B-class driver’s licence allows you to drive vehicles weighing up to 3,500kg, this creates a risk of motorhome drivers exceeding limits and earning fines. Unless you apply for a C-class licence that is, which won’t suit everyone.
The next problem to solve is range. While the battery technology and charging infrastructure is improving all the time, many feel electric vehicles are still better suited to travelling short distances in built-up areas.
This poses an issue if you’re driving a fully-loaded motorhome or campervan around the country or abroad. Even once you reach your destination, few campsites will have the infrastructure needed for a rapid full recharge. Your trips might have to be a little slower and better planned out, for now at least.
A third barrier is the initial cost. Considering traditional motorhomes and campervans are already expensive, adding electric batteries will add thousands of pounds to sale prices – though you could shave some off through the plug-in grant scheme. Remember you’ll have lower running costs in the long run too.
These issues mean that, for now at least, options on the open market are limited. But there are a few models making headlines.
Early electric models in development
The Iridium electric motorhome was premiered at the CMT travel trade fair in January 2019, with a second model following soon after to offer an improved range of 250 miles.
Developed by WOF GmbH, the Iridium looks and feels largely like a regular self-contained motorhome. But a weight of 4,000-4,800kg means you’ll need a modified licence to drive one in the UK, and production was initially limited to 30 vehicles. Their starting price is also around €170,000, putting them out of reach for most holidaymakers.
Volkswagen ID. Buzz
The ID. Buzz is a fully electric VW campervan that’s built for the future. This sleek-looking vehicle was revealed to the world in March 2022, and in Volkswagen’s words delivers ‘climate-conscious mobility’.
The ID. Buzz will go on sale later in 2022 with more versions to follow, including the ID. Buzz Cargo commercial van. Price information is yet to be released – you can sign up for updates on the Volkswagen website using the link above.
Following the release of several electric cars, Japanese manufacturer Nissan revealed a fully electric NV200 camper concept offering a range of up to 187 miles on a single charge. It’s originally a van but can be converted through Nissan or a certified partner, with prices varying depending on specifications and who carries out the work.
Nissan hasn’t announced plans to mass produce a camper variation just yet, though that may change depending on the public reception of the concept.
Get covered for the future
Electric motorhomes and campervans might be a few years behind other road vehicles, but the future still looks bright. We can help you stay covered in the meantime with our comprehensive motorhome, campervan and caravan insurance options – and we’ll happily talk to you about conversion projects too.
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We’re a family run business with over 30 years' experience in the provision of specialist motorhome and campervan insurance. With a wealth of awards under our belt, we pride ourselves on providing a friendly and professional service, offering you the most comprehensive cover money can buy - starting from just £220!
We’re a family run business with over 30 years' experience in the provision of specialist motorhome and campervan insurance. With a wealth of awards under our belt, we pride ourselves on providing a friendly and professional service, offering you the most comprehensive cover money can buy - starting from just £200!