Base vehicle: Nissan e-NV200 Price from: £38,500 (£14,000 for conversion only) Berths: 2/4 Travel seats: 4 Length: 4.56m Width: 1.76m Height: 1.89m Payload: 360kg (estimated)
If you’re after a micro campervan conversion then the Nissan NV200 is certainly one to consider. With a length and width of 4.56m by 1.76m, it’s no larger than your average family estate car and, at 1.89m high (with the pop-top roof down), it will slip under most car park height restrictor barriers, too.
Wiltshire-based Small Campervan specialises in building unique conversions on both new and used base vehicles, so no two campers will ever be exactly the same. A choice of options on plywood finishes, fabrics, curtains and cushions mean you can also customise your camper to suit your own personal taste. It's perfect for solo campers (or slim couples), as the rear bench converts to a bed that’s said to measure 1.75m long by 0.98m wide. If you opt for bed boards in the pop-top roof, this will add a further two berths for small children, too. Since the rear travel bench also offers two seatbelts, this makes it, at a push, a four-berth camper.
However, while Small Campervan has been building this conversion on the diesel-powered NV200 for a number of years, what’s new and exciting about the model pictured here is that it’s the all-electric e-NV200 battery electric vehicle (BEV). It’s the first of its kind for Small Campervan and we’ve not had the chance to see how it performs in the long-term, but it sounds promising.
The e-NV200 van is quoted as having a range of 160 miles, depending on a number of factors. As with any electric vehicle, things like the air-con and radio, and even headlights and windscreen wipers, all draw from the battery. Cold weather, and driving like a boy racer will affect range, too.
The traction batteries can be charged at home using a normal three-pin 13A supply, and with a Rapid charger found on garage forecourts, etc.
The vehicle has an easy-to-use hook-up point for both charging methods.
The e-NV200 also benefits from regenerative charging, which makes use of energy available when braking or decelerating, and puts charge back into the batteries from energy that would otherwise be wasted.
When it came to designing the campervan, Tim Thornbury, owner of Small Campervan, said that “One major consideration was to ensure that the electrical needs of the campervan conversion didn’t affect the mileage range of the vehicle, so we decided to use renewable energy to charge a 120Ah leisure battery rather than drawing from the traction batteries, and have fitted a 100W semi-flexible solar panel to the pop-top roof.”
Using the PVMobileSuite app, which is free to download, you can check the charge state of the leisure battery on your phone. For added convenience, there’s also a display panel fitted in the campervan that shows the state of charge of the leisure battery along with the current output of the solar panel. If you’re staying at a campsite with electric hook-up, the leisure battery can, of course, be charged in the usual way. The camper also benefits from having a Gaslow refillable gas cylinder (rather than an exchangeable Campingaz or Calor Gas cylinder), which can easily be refilled at any LPG station.
The conversion features a two-burner gas hob and a stainless-steel sink with a 12V water pump that supplies drinking water from a 12.5-litre removable container housed within the sink unit, as well as a 12V compressor fridge and LED lighting. For storage, there’s a wardrobe at the back of the ’van, and space under the bench/bed.
Specification on the base vehicle varies but this particular model features heated front seats and steering wheel, cab air-con and tyre pressure monitoring, and automatic transmission. Other options include cruise control, Bluetooth audio system with CD player, steering wheel controls, and a key fob that allows you to remotely control the heating and air-con.
Small Campervan was established in 2000, at which time it was repairing and renovating campers and motorhomes based on the Bedford Rascal and Suzuki Super carry vehicles. The company now carries out conversions on small vans and MPVs like the Fiat Doblo and Renault Kangoo, although it’s focused on the Nissan NV200 in more recent times. “These are a small to medium-sized van and are ideally suited to everyday use as a car and a campervan,” says Tim.
“We offer several different layouts, too – some are more suited to one or two persons. The layout of the campervan featured here gives lots of space, and the Nissan NV200/e-NV200 is a great base vehicle if you don’t want or need a larger van, and is very easy to drive.”