This High-Tech, Off-Road Camper Van Is the Future of #VanLife

November 2, 2019 Cars By

While #vanlife may have once been the domain of old VWs and off-road-modified Econolines, it’s about to get a serious high-tech upgrade. German motorhome manufacturer Hymer has partnered with chemical giant BASF on the VisionVenture campervan to give us a window into what the near future of camper vans will likely look like. The concept incorporates 20 high-performance plastics, 100 3D-printed components, and a new type of reflective paint to present a “near-production glimpse into the future of van life.”

That glimpse of the future includes an awesome panoramic, yacht-like deck in the rear of the vehicle. It also involves quite a bit of cool new technology and innovative material. The VisionVenture employs so-called “Chromacool” paint that reflects infrared light, reducing heat on the surface of the vehicle — and consequently in the cabin, by as much as seven degrees Fahrenheit. That paint minimizes the strain on the air conditioning, permitting heat-conscious van buyers to expand their color palettes beyond “white” and “very nearly white.”

Another key feature is the self-inflating pop-top roof that rises in less than a minute. An Elastollan coating provides the top with added water and wind resistance. The air in the inflatable walls serves as additional insulation, as well.

The high-tech construction also allow for some interesting use of materials. BASF’s Veneto Slate, used as the walls in what’s delicately described as the “wellness area,” is a flexible material with a thin, lightweight natural slate surface. The camper van also uses a mixture of plastic and hemp fibers as a lightweight alternative to wood for cabinet doors and kitchen fronts.

Sadly, don’t expect this precise van to hit the streets anytime soon — or down the road. “Near-production” more likely means Hymer will incorporate some of these VisionVenture features on its campers and motorhomes, rather than crank out this exact model. In the meantime, however, you can check out the in-production present of #vanlife with this Sportsmobile 4×4 overlanding beast, or this forbidden fruit Westfalia model.

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Tyler Duffy

Tyler Duffy is Gear Patrol's Motoring Staff Writer. He used to write about sports for The Big Lead and The Athletic. He has a black belt in toddler wrangling. He's based outside Detroit.

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