Volkswagen ID.Buzz camper experience hints at Tesla Robovan “van life” potential

Credit: AlwinArt/Twitter

The Tesla Robovan is still several years away, but a hint of its potential as an electric camper van can already be seen today. This is, at least, if one were to look at the accounts of experienced van campers with all-electric vans like the Volkswagen ID. Buzz. 

The idea of camper vans is said to have predated the popularity of the internal combustion engine, with the horse-drawn traveling home dubbed “The Wanderer” being commissioned by Scottish medic Dr. William Stables in the 1880s. It was not until the 1950s, however, when the idea of camper vans truly went mainstream, pushed by the popularity of the Volkswagen Type 2. 

It is then not surprising that with the emergence of the Volkswagen ID.Buzz — the electric successor of the Type 2 — veteran van lifers have started to test how EVs could work as camper vans. Among these is The Verge‘s Thomas Ricker, who took a VW ID.Buzz camper on a nearly 2,000-mile round trip across Europe, from Amsterdam to Milan. Ricket’s experience suggests that the future is bright for the camper van community even as electric vehicles take over. 

As noted by the experienced van camper, the Volkswagen ID.Buzz, especially one that’s equipped with an aftermarket Ququq BusBox-4 camping box, works very well as a camping unit. Together with a number of key products such as Starlink RV, which provided high-speed internet in remote locations, as well as a BaseCharge 1500 battery and biotite solar panel, Ricker, together with his wife and dog, were able to make the most out of their nearly two-week trip. 

Inasmuch as the ID.Buzz was a great camper van, however, Ricker also noted that the vehicle still has some areas of improvement. Volkswagen’s in-vehicle software, for one, does not have a dedicated Camp Mode, nor doors it still have bidirectional charging. The Volkswagen ID.Buzz is also a relatively compact van by nature, so the living space in the electric camper is pretty limited. 

These are things that other electric van makers, including Volkswagen itself, could keep in mind and address in upcoming models. Tesla does seem like a perfect fit for such a market as well, provided that the company does launch its highly-anticipated “Robovan” at a compelling price point. Elon Musk has hinted in the past that the Robovan would be larger than the already spacious Tesla Model X, so a Robovan converted into a camper van would likely have a generous amount of living space. 

Software-wise, Tesla’s Robovan would probably be compelling, considering that the company has already developed and rolled out useful features like Camp Mode and Dog Mode. Tesla’s software prowess would likely shine for camper vans, especially if the EV maker rolls out long-requested features such as bidirectional charging. 

The idea of an all-electric camper van is compelling, and it presents a pretty interesting option for those who are willing to adopt a nomadic lifestyle. And while the ID.Buzz is one of very few options available in the market today, the eventual arrival of all-electric vans that can be used as campers, such as the Tesla Robovan, would likely usher in a pretty exciting camper van era.  

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Volkswagen ID.Buzz camper experience hints at Tesla Robovan “van life” potential
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