- Custom camper van maker Outside Van unveiled a 170-inch Mercedes-Benz Sprinter camper that’s valued at around $US290,000: the Elevate.
- The Elevate has two showers, a kitchen, two beds, a six-person dinette, a lounge area, a toilet, and a robust speaker system.
- The van was purchased by “one of Hollywood’s most popular actors” about four days after the company unveiled the build, Outside Van’s marketing and creative director Brian Jagodnik told Business Insider in an email interview.
- The custom camper van maker currently has a nine-month waitlist for vans that haven’t been produced yet.
- Outside Van’s wait time has only been increasing as van life continues to skyrocket in popularity during the coronavirus pandemic, according to Jagodnik.
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Like other companies that specialise in road travel, Outside Van has been seeing success during the coronavirus pandemic. According to the company’s marketing and creative director Brian Jagodnik, the camper van maker currently has a nine-month waitlist for vans that haven’t been produced yet, and this wait time has only been increasing as #VanLife continues to skyrocket in popularity.
As a camper van conversion company, Outside Van isn’t alone in this sales boost. Earlier on in the coronavirus pandemic, several camper van makers started seeing an increase in client inquiries and sales as more people started road tripping instead of taking flights and cruises.
Despite Outside Van’s growing waitlist, the company — which only creates custom builds — isn’t going to amp up staff or production efforts.
“You’re designing a van conversion from scratch and the process shouldn’t be rushed,” Jagodnik wrote in an email interview with Business Insider. “Since quality is our number one focus, hurrying production or hiring more staff to speed up production isn’t in the cards.”
Jagodnik predicts van life will continue its upwards climb in popularity, even after the coronavirus pandemic is over.
“Demand will continue to rise as adventuring in a van is one’s opportunity to simplify, get away, and connect on a personal level with friends and family,” Jagodnik wrote.
Besides the general increase in build demands, the company has also noticed other unique trends, specifically with amenity requests.
For example, over the past year, Outside Van has seen more requests for off-grid capable vans with additional power, solar energy, and secondary alternators.
The Elevate includes all of these highly requested systems with its two 240-amp hour AGM batteries, a 2,000-watt inverter …
… a secondary alternator that charges while the van is idling or driving, and 225 watts of solar energy.
These power systems help supply energy to multiple components of the tiny home on wheels, which sits inside of a 170-inch high roof 2019 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter.
The company went with a 170-inch, four-wheel-drive Sprinter chassis to create a van that could go off-grid in places where drivers are more likely “to get in some sticky situations,” according to Jagodnik.
The van’s roughly $US290,000 price includes the price of the Sprinter chassis.
According to Jagodnik, the van was purchased by “one of Hollywood’s most popular actors” about four days after Outside Van unveiled the build.
Besides hitting the highly requested power amenities, the Elevate served as Outside Van’s latest research and design and demo van to test new amenities, according to Jagodnik.
In total, Elevate was designed in six months and took between four to five months to build.
According to Jagodnik, the half-year design phase had a longer time frame than usual due to the van’s new components and layout.
The new features that were tested in the Elevate include its heated floors, a hinged bed system, a rear ladder for bikes …
… a new rear bumper, and a wireless router that can supply service to several devices.
The tiny home on wheels also has a wireless charging area for smartphones.
The company normally builds its demo vans for a target demographic, but this time, Jagodnik says the Elevate can be used by a wide segment of customers due to its flexible layout.
In terms of the floor plan, the shower and kitchen are at the front of the van, and the dinette and sleeping areas are towards the back.
Starting with the back of the van: the new hinged bed system can sleep two with the help of dual side flares that extend the width of the van.
This system, accompanied by the convertible dinette bed, allows the van to sleep up to three people.
When the secondary lower bed is in its dinette seating mode, the space can seat up to six people.
The dinette seating area also has a hidden storage system that tucks away the 2.6-gallon portable toilet, according to Outside Van’s YouTube video tour of the Elevate.
Now, moving on to the front of the van.
If there are only two travellers, the third passenger seat can be removed and replaced with an additional lounge seating unit.
Elevate’s kitchen setup includes an electric stovetop, a pull-out refrigerator, storage units …
… a sink, and a drawer that holds a separate propane stovetop for outdoor cooking,
The kitchen also has built-in speakers and a table that can extend outside the van for said outdoor cooking.
Besides the kitchen speakers, the van also has a robust audio system with subwoofers, tweeters, and midrange speakers.
There’s also an interior shower that can be used as an additional storage unit when not in use …
… although there are other storage systems throughout the van, including the “stuff sacks” on the rear door, cabinets, and under-bed storage.
For those who’d rather clean off outside, Outside Van also included an exterior shower.
The showers and kitchen sink source its water from the van’s 19-gallon fresh water tank.
For winter trips, the Elevate has the new heated flooring system and window coverings that help further insulate the tiny home on wheels.
Finally, moving on to the van’s exterior.
The exterior of the van has also been upgraded with accessories like a rear step bumper, utility ladders, an awning, a combo roof rack and light bars, and more.
To improve drive comfort, Outside Van included Agile Off Road’s ride improvement package that upgrades the van’s suspension.
Overall, the Elevate camper van is good for both weekenders and longer journeys during coronavirus-related lockdowns, according to Jagodnik.
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