All-electric motorhomes have been slow to materialize, limited to concept cars and a few very select compact vans scattered across Europe. What the world really wanted to see was a pop-up Volkswagen Bulli motorhome with a comfortable floor plan and pure battery power. VW has one in its plans, but it won’t happen for a few years. In the meantime, the German converter Flowcamper intervenes with the Frieda Volt. Based on the VW T5/T6, the new van replaces its combustion engine with an all-electric powertrain and gets a flexible, modular interior with seating for five and up to four. And, yes, there are even toilets.
Flowcamper is teaming up with German electric conversion specialist Naext Automotive GmbH to create the exact type of motorhome the motorhome world has been dreaming of ever since electric vehicles began to go mainstream. Not only is the Frieda Volt bigger than the small vans that have so far dominated the few electric motorhome conversions, but it’s the famous Volkswagen Bulli, and it comes with the toilets the official Volkswagen California lacks. notoriously.
The Frieda Volt begins its journey as a used T5 or T6 van, and Flowcamper prefers those with damaged engines. That way, he doesn’t even have to feel bad about ditching the old, fuel-guzzling emissions sender, working with Naext to swap an electric drive. Flowcamper points out that this blueprint essentially doubles the Volt’s green credentials, breathing new life into an old minivan while making it a zero-emission electric vehicle.
By removing the engine, transmission, exhaust and other now unnecessary ICE-related items, Naext frees up space and installs the 72 kWh nickel-manganese-cobalt (NMC) lithium-ion battery in the underbody. . Buyers can also increase capacity with an optional additional 18 kWh battery in the spare tire compartment.
Drive power comes from a 110 kW (148 hp) electric motor with 255 Nm (188 lb-ft) of torque. The restoration process also involves replacing worn components, such as brakes or wheel bearings, with new VW parts and front seat upholstery.
Flowcamper estimates that the ICE electric powertrain swap results in a net gain of only 110 pounds (50 kg), helping the electric bus achieve a maximum range of between 300 and 320 km (186 and 199 miles). That might be pretty meager for an overland expedition through Europe and Asia, but it should be handy enough for traveling around Germany and neighboring countries without being too bothered by mandatory charging stops. And we already know that longer, more ambitious electric motorhome trips are possible with a little planning, patience and determination.
Flowcamper keeps things durable inside the RV cabin, relying on materials like oiled wood furniture, cork floor mats and apple leather trim. It carries over the floor plan of the traditional ICE Frieda, the base model that evolved from the original Flowcamper flower child. This layout includes a galley stacked behind the driver’s seat, a three-seat folding rear seat that converts to a 160 x 187 cm (63 x 74 in) bed and an optional sunroof with 110 x 185 cm bed ( 43 x 73 in). Unlike the standard Frieda, which can accommodate up to eight seats, the Frieda Volt reaches a maximum of six seats.
Like other Flowcamper vans, the Frieda Volt has a flexible layout with multifunctional amenities designed to keep pace with the unconstrained spontaneity of van life. The large galley box directly behind the driver’s seat houses a 21-litre compressor fridge and storage space below, while the shorter rear box contains a sink with stainless steel basin, hand sprayer and canisters of fresh and waste water stored below. A single-burner stove comes standard, and a second can be added as an option for a flexible two-burner setup. Unlike some other electric motorhomes, overland vans and caravan builders, Flowcamper has not completely stripped fuel from gas, using a gas canister stove.
Those who prefer to cook outside can mount the indoor/outdoor swing table just outside the passenger side sliding door. It holds the small stove and the long hose stretches the sink sprayer out the door where it can work to fill pots or combine with a collapsible basin to create a sink. Flowcamper also offers optional rear storage boxes that double as a tailgate kitchen and a driver’s side sliding door and fold-down worktops that provide a third outdoor kitchen option.
The kitchen sink sprayer also works as an outdoor shower with an outdoor stand. The available dry-separating toilets stow between the galley and the rear bench seat, concealed by a wooden top and fabric enclosure.
Thus, the electrified Volt motorhome offers all major kitchen and bathroom amenities, a flexible indoor/outdoor kitchen layout, five seats and up to four berths. Battery drive or not, this is an efficient little motorhome.
Flowcamper has not yet added any official Volt pricing information to its comprehensive Frieda price list. German motorhome media reports have suggested the van will start in the €60,000 (about US$63,350) range, which would be a big win for Germans and Europeans looking for a campsite. practical electric car at an affordable price. Note that some features, including the pop-up roof and lavatory, are optional on the standard Frieda, so the fully-equipped Frieda Volt four-berth with lavatory is sure to cost more than the base one.
We have contacted Flowcamper to clarify pricing and availability information and will update when we get back to you.
Source: Flowcamper (German)