Travelino—Lightweight Camper Of The Future Debuts At Motorhome Show

Last year, German camper specialist Knaus Tabbert used the Düsseldorf Caravan Salon to present its vision of the future camping trailer.

Travelino—Lightweight Camper Of The Future Debuts At Motorhome Show
Travelino—Lightweight Camper Of The Future Debuts At Motorhome Show

The yacht-inspired Caravisio was a large, luxurious home-on-wheels with improved aerodynamics. Thanks to the bed positioning, the front is arrow-shaped which has a positive effect on the upstream flow angle.

This year, Knaus went small, light and simple, presenting the Travelino concept, a compact trailer outfitted with space- and weight-saving features.

Strangely, Knaus appears to have abandoned all the aerodynamic headway it made with the Caravisio, reports gizmag.

The Travelino is much broader and less streamlined than last year’s concept trailer and appears less aerodynamic than most teardrops currently available in the marketplace. The curved trapezoidal prism is broad from every angle and unlike the aerodynamic Caravisio looks ill-equipped for head or crosswinds.

Travelino—Lightweight Camper Of The Future Debuts At Motorhome Show
Travelino—Lightweight Camper Of The Future Debuts At Motorhome Show

The focus of the Travelino is clearly not on the aero-efficient shape of the shell, but on the equipment, layout, and materials. The walls of the trailer are built from a lightweight, XPS foam-core material that helps the trailer maintain a base weight below 1,433 pounds (650 kg). Similarly, Knaus saves weight on the interior fixtures and furnishings through the use of a paper-based honeycomb board.

The 1,433-pound curb weight sounds less impressive when compared to the 400- to 1,000-pound (181 to 454 kg) weights of trailers already under production like the Teal Tail Feather, MyPod teardrop, and numerous other small lightweight trailers.

However, at over 13 feet (4 m), the Travelino is a few feet longer than the Teal Tail Feather and nearly double the size of diminutive teardrops like the MyPod Basic. Its mix of onboard amenities is also more extensive than any of those others, combining an indoor kitchen, dining area, double bed, bathroom, and outdoor kitchen.

Somewhat odd is the inclusion of both an indoor and outdoor kitchen in the Travelino design. It seems that a design so intent on saving weight and space would opt for one or the other.

Travelino—Lightweight Camper Of The Future Debuts At Motorhome Show
Travelino—Lightweight Camper Of The Future Debuts At Motorhome Show

Since Knaus does not mention any production plans, the Travelino seems likely to remain a design study for now.

Facts and Figures

Body Length: 13 feet (4.00 m)

Interior Width: 6.7 feet (2.04 m)

Interior Height: 6.5 feet (1.98 m)

Weight: 1433 pounds (650 kg)

Fully bonded, weight-optimized sandwich construction

Unique air spring suspension

Roof and floor plate GRP-planked

Windows, doors, and flaps frameless and flush

Screwless furniture cartridge assembly

Waiver of gas as an energy source for heating, kettle etc.

Benefits at a Glance

Travelino—Lightweight Camper Of The Future Debuts At Motorhome Show
Travelino—Lightweight Camper Of The Future Debuts At Motorhome Show

Comfortable ride with built-lowering and leveling

Pleasant, indirect LED lighting above and below the cabinets

Generous storage space solutions

Multifunctional use of space thanks to flexible bath, kitchen, and living solutions

Details

Knaus Tabbert GmbH

Knaus Tabbert GmbH is a leading manufacturer of recreational vehicles in Europe with headquarters in Jandelsbrunn in Lower Bavaria.

Other manufacturing plants are located in Mottgers (Hesse), Obermeitingen in Upper Bavaria, and Nagyoroszi in Hungary.

In business year 2012 the company with its six brands—Knaus, Tabbert, T@b, BavariaCamp, Weinsberg, and Wilk—reached a turnover of Euro 281 million, and with approximately 1,200 employees produced about 13,000 caravans and motorhomes.

Phone: +49 (0) 8583 21 309

Website: www.knaustabbert.de

Worth Pondering…

Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.

—Albert Einstein

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Skydancer 7.5: World’s First Convertible Motorhome

The world’s first convertible motorhome, the Skydancer 7.5 prototype, was exhibited at the recent Düsseldorf Caravan Salon 2014, the world’s largest trade fair for motorhomes and caravans held annually in Dusseldorf, Germany.

Skydancer 7.5: World's First Convertible Motorhome
Skydancer 7.5: World’s First Convertible Motorhome

The new convertible motorhome from German company, Skydancer UG, could completely change our road trip experience. Skydancer 7.5 allows the driver and passengers to see the landscape differently as they travel in their recreational vehicle.

Most of us are familiar with the well-known Integrated Body type designs: the classic coach built Class A motorhome, the Class B van chassis, and the Class C cutaway chassis.

However, the concept from Skydancer is not based on this body type design.

Skydancer has developed a new, exceptional, and innovative concept: the reverse alcove design. The concept of the classic cab motorhome was baptized, turned upside down, and alcove reversed.

This refers to an increased driving cab, which gives passengers a better view. The family-friendly design of the spacious cab puts a family of four in a raised platform cab.

Skydancer installs the driver and passenger seats above the engine in front, so as to design a sliding convertible roof.

Skydancer 7.5: World's First Convertible Motorhome
Skydancer 7.5: World’s First Convertible Motorhome

“Nobody should have to travel within the living room of the mobile home,” according to a company spokesperson.

“In Skydancer 7.5 all passengers travel jointly and enjoy the excellent views, a Skydancer true feeling.”

The design possibilities of the interior of a motorhome are now enhanced.

Skydancer’s 7.5 prototype puts the family of four in a raised platform cab that’s reminiscent of the upper deck of a double-decker bus. The panoramic glass home-on-wheels creates the feel of a tourist bus designed specifically for enhancing sight lines. The glass enclosure also slides backward, opening up the entire cabin to the sky above. The design includes a frame below the glass for structural integrity when in convertible mode.

The Skydancer 7.5 prototype is not an industrially manufactured motorhome but is still a work-in-progress. It is a used vehicle in fully running condition and available for purchase following Düsseldorf Caravan Salon 2014. It is sold as a used vehicle without a warranty.

With a mileage of 195,000 km (121,000 miles), the 2003 Mercedes Atego-based prototype is priced at €80,000 ($128,000).

Skydancer 7.5: World's First Convertible Motorhome
Sketch of Skydancer’s reverse alcove design (left) next to a more traditional RV driving cab

Dimensions and Space

Length: 8.2 m (27 feet)

Width: 2.45 m (8 feet)

Height: 3.4 m (11 feet)

Number of Seats: 4

Number of beds: 2 x 2

Total Weight: 7500 kg (16,540 pounds)

Design Characteristics

A driving cabin for four people, which is placed in front of the car and in an elevated position. The plane of view of the passengers extends over the roof of the living area also.

Under the seats of the passengers, a double bed is placed.

This design provides a good all-round panoramic view through the raised seating position of all occupants, particularly to the rear over the roof of the rear part of the vehicle.

Skydancer 7.5: World's First Convertible Motorhome
Skydancer 7.5: World’s First Convertible Motorhome

Details

Skydancer UG
Skydancer deals with campers and design alternatives to existing, established motorhome concepts.

Their vision for the motorhome market of the future is called reverse alcove.

Address: Hülchrather Str. 33, 50670 Köln

Phone: +49 172 2585752

Website: www.skydancer-camper.de

Worth Pondering…

What you can do, or dream, you can do, begin it.

—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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Mercedes Introduces Marco Polo Based on the V-Class

Mercedes introduced the new Marco Polo at the Caravan Salon in Düsseldorf, Germany.

Mercedes Introduces Marco Polo Based on the V-Class
Mercedes Introduces Marco Polo Based on the V-Class

Based on the V-Class, the Marco Polo is a compact camper van that “sets new standards in perceived quality, stylish living and comfortable practicality.”

Designed to be the first van you’d actually want to own, the model replaces the Viano and adopts an upscale design that borrows cues from the C-, E- and S-Class, according to a company news release.

Starting up front, there’s a prominent grille that is flanked by LED-infused headlights.

Moving further back, we can see sculpted bodywork, an upward sweeping shoulder line and protruding wheel arches.

The upscale styling continues in the cabin as the model can be equipped with premium leather upholstery, wood trim, individual rear seats, and rear center consoles.

Since the van is also a camper, it has been equipped with a sink, a refrigerator and a kitchenette with two gas burners.

There’s also a cupboard, a closet, and adjustable folding tables.

Mercedes Introduces Marco Polo Based on the V-Class
Mercedes Introduces Marco Polo Based on the V-Class

Other notable highlights include ambient lighting, metallic accents, and a freestanding COMAND display.

Under the hood, the entry-level 200 CDI has a 2.1-liter four-cylinder engine that develops 136 HP (100 kW) and 330 Nm (243 lb-ft) of torque.

Moving up the 220 CDI rewards owners with 163 HP (120 kW) and 380 Nm (280 lb-ft) of torque.

Last but not least, the 250 BlueTec produces 190 HP (140 kW) and 440 Nm (324 lb-ft) of torque.

Since the van was designed to appeal to a variety of customers, it is highly customizable and can be ordered with a short or long wheelbase (3,200 mm or 3,430 mm).

The model will also be available in three different lengths ranging from 4,895mm (16 feet) to 5,370mm  (17.6 feet).

The new Mercedes V-Class Marco Polo goes on sale later this year.

Details

Mercedes-Benz 

Mercedes Introduces Marco Polo Based on the V-Class
Mercedes Introduces Marco Polo Based on the V-Class

Founded in 1926, Mercedes-Benz is a German automobile manufacturer, a multinational division of the German manufacturer Daimer AG.

The brand is used for luxury automobiles, buses, coaches, and trucks.

The headquarters of Mercedes-Benz is in Stuttgart, Baden- Württemberg, Germany.

Websites: www5.mercedes-benz.com/en and www.mbusa.com

Worth Pondering…

Oh, what a beautiful morning’,

Oh, what a beautiful day.

I got a beautiful feelin’

Ev’rything’s goin’ my way.

Oh, what a beautiful day!

—“Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’” from the musical Oklahoma

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Mercedes-Benz Introduces New 2014 Sprinter Van

Auto manufacturing giant Mercedes-Benz introduced the new high-roof Sprinter van at the Caravan Salon in Düsseldorf, Germany, August 31 to September 8.

Mercedes-Benz at the Caravan Salon 2013: Sprinter USA
Mercedes-Benz at the Caravan Salon 2013: Sprinter USA

The number one base vehicle for luxury camper vans continues to build on its lead—and is now found as a camper van platform from Europe to North America to China.

Mercedes-Benz currently delivers around 4000 camper vans a year to numerous leading fitters and body manufacturers in North America, who transform them into attractive Class B camper vans or Class C motorhomes (partially integrated/alcove vehicles).

The fully functional cut-away model of the new Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is fully converted into a camper van. The right-hand side of the vehicle is completely open from the middle of the front passenger door to the rear axle, revealing a living area with front seats turned around and a spacious side-facing bench seat—which can be pulled out to form a double bed—a kitchen to the left of the opening and a bathroom with integrated wardrobe fitted in transverse position in the rear.

The cut-away model is fitted with furniture featuring a hard-wearing HPL coating in high-gloss white, grey laminate flooring, and seats featuring white genuine automobile leather from Mercedes-Benz. This combination lends the interior the elegant character of a yacht, according to a company news release.

Side walls and ceiling are covered in Alcantara, with LED lighting throughout. On the outside, the Sprinter sports the new tenorite grey metallic paint finish.

Alongside the cut-away model, the new Sprinter was on display as a chassis with cab and the unique low frame with independent wheel suspension for vans with driven rear axle.

Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Caravan cutaway van
Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Caravan cutaway van

Its Plexiglass cover symbolizes a camper van body while at the same time revealing the Sprinter’s technical details in the area of chassis and drive system.

The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter continues to enjoy increasing popularity among fitters in the luxury camper van segment. The company is now supporting these fitters with a new standard camper van package.

Features include the front passenger airbag and a folding handbrake lever. The latter prevents collisions between swivel seats and the lever when the handbrake is engaged. Along with other details, the package also includes the parametrisable special module (PSM module), which serves as the interface between the body’s technical features and the Sprinter’s electronics.

The innovation leader is now raising the benchmark yet again, with five new safety systems, engines complying with the future Euro VI emission standards, exceptionally low fuel consumption down to 37 mpg (6.3 l/100 km), and a striking appearance.

The Sprinter has a long tradition of pioneering new driver assistance systems, such as the ESP (Electronic Stability Program).

The new Sprinter premieres Crosswind Assist which virtually eliminates the effects of gusts acting on the vehicle, within the bounds of the laws of physics. The required extent of countersteering when exposed to gusts of wind is reduced, thereby markedly reducing the strain on the driver. An indicator lamp informs the driver when the assistant intervenes.

Mercedes-Benz at the Caravan Salon 2013: Sprinter Caravan
Mercedes-Benz at the Caravan Salon 2013: Sprinter Caravan

The proximity warning system is another first in this class. The radar-based system provides a visual warning when the Sprinter is too close to the vehicle ahead, followed by an acoustic alarm in the event of an acute danger of collision. When the driver steps on the brakes, Adaptive Brake Assist ensures that sufficient deceleration is applied to avoid an accident—emergency braking tailored precisely to the given requirements.

Blind Spot Assist warns the driver of other vehicles in the so-called blind spot when changing lanes. This system operates on the basis of four short-range sensors in the area of the B-pillars and the rear pillars.

When these sensors detect a vehicle in the blind spot, a red warning signal appears in the exterior mirror on the relevant side. If the driver nevertheless activates the indicator on this side, an acoustic warning will sound and the red warning signal will begin to flash.

Lane Keeping Assist goes into action when the Sprinter threatens to pass over a marking line without an indicator having been activated or any change to the position of the accelerator or brake pedal. This assistant is based on a camera system and provides the driver with an acoustic warning in such situations.

Mercedes-Benz at the Caravan Salon 2013: Sprinter Caravan
Mercedes-Benz at the Caravan Salon 2013: Sprinter Caravan

A camera also provides the basis for Highbeam Assist—another first in the Sprinter class. Highbeam Assist switches between high and dipped beam according to the given traffic situation. The camera responds to oncoming traffic or vehicles ahead by dipping the headlamps. When the road is clear again, the assistant switches back to high beam automatically.

These additional new assistance systems are available now in conjunction with the closed versions of the new Sprinter. The chassis variants will follow next year.

The Sprinter Caravan was not the only vehicle Mercedes-Benz displayed at Europe’s leading trade show for recreational vehicles.  The cut-away van was joined by the compact Mercedes-Benz Viano Marco Polo, Viano Fun, and other camper van platforms on Actros and Zetros trucks.

Worth Pondering…

No one knows what he can do until he tries.

—Publilius Syrus

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Airstream Introduces Land Yacht Concept Trailer

Makers of the iconic ‘silver bullet’ travel trailers like the Next-gen Series 2 International 684 Caravan, the classic 1954 Airstream caravan, the Victorinox Special Edition Airstream, and the 2011 Eddie Bauer Airstream travel trailer, Jackson Center, Ohio-based Airstream Inc. will display its expanded product lineup of travel trailers and touring coach models during the 50th Annual National RV Trade Show, November 27-29 in Louisville, Kentucky.

Airstream introduces Land Yacht concept trailer

Airstream which is also the longest-tenured recreational vehicle manufacturer in North America will introduce its newest luxury concept trailer, the Airstream Land Yacht.

The Land Yacht which boasts truly yacht-like interiors and incorporates elements from the world’s finest luxury watercrafts is actually the product of an international collaboration between Airstream, the maker of fine cabinetry Technoform, and the design studio of Officinia Italiana Design.

Tecnoform, an Italian company specializes in the production of furnishings for motorhomes and caravans. Its new TDL (Tecnoform Design Lab) project produces a caravan/trailer characterized by its high technical content and its unique design.

Airstream introduces Land Yacht concept trailer

It was shown at Düsseldorf Caravan Salon 2012, where it won the “Best Interior Design” and “Best Practice” titles in the prestigious “Caravanning Design Award: 2012/2013” organized in collaboration with Red Dot Design.

“Tecnoform designed this project to transfer to recreational vehicles the know-how developed in 48 years of experience in designing and producing furnishings for motorhomes, caravans, and luxury boats,” said spokesperson Antonio Mazzucchelli.

“The project was driven by the specific intent of showing that it is possible to design non-standard, highly innovative furnishings not only on paper. Not a mere design exercise but rather projects which can easily enter the market and find an immediate outlet in normal production.

“Last but not least, important partnerships were created for this project between the excellencies of the industry at national and international level, in order to give life to a product that would set the standard for interior design,” he added.

Crafted with quality materials and equipment throughout, including high-luster teak, white wood inlay boat-deck flooring, LED panel lighting elements, Corian solid surfaces, and plush Ultraleather; the 28-foot Airstream Land Yacht Concept trailer boasts a contemporary look created by Technoform’s engineering department in partnership with the long-term designer for Riva Yachts, Mauro Micheli

Sleek and sophisticated looking cabin unit which can comfortably accommodate up to 5 people, features a bedroom in the front, a bathroom amidships and a rear social space, which includes a galley that can be hidden when not in use.

Airstream introduces Land Yacht concept trailer

Notably, the Land Yacht Concept impressively represents Airstream’s latest effort to stretch the brand and its perceptions of what their trailer can actually be.

Features include a bedroom up front, a bathroom amidships, and a rear social space including a galley that can be hidden when not in use.

Other new models from Airstream include:

  • 30FB Flying Cloud – This new model features a main bedroom with a north-south walk-around queen bed and a rear bedroom with a lower double bed and an additional bunk overhead
  • International Series Signature – New interior options for all new models include a Mojave color scheme that comes with premium fabrics by Sunbrella
  • Interstate and Interstate EXT – Now available in a new floor plan that seats up to nine adults; a new black Ultraleather option is available for the Onyx and Camel décors

Details

Airstream

Airstream, maker of the iconic “silver bullet” travel trailer, is the oldest recreational vehicle manufacturer in North America.

Following founder Wally Byam’s credo, “Let’s not make changes, let’s only make improvements” Airstream has remained a timeless classic.

Airstream is the preferred choice of the Hollywood celebrities for its luxury caravans. Many of the famous celebs own Airstream trailers, including actor Matthew McCanaughey who is renowned for his love for caravans, and owns three in total. The actor recently bought himself a luxury mobile home, the 2010 Airstream ‘Timeless’ model with Smithsonian interiors renovated by New York’s GSM vehicles.

Airstream manufactures travel trailers (Sport, Flying Cloud, International Signature, International Serenity, International Sterling, Classic, and Eddie Bauer) and touring coaches (Avenue and Interstate).

A division of Thor Industries, Airstream is based in Jackson Center, Ohio.

Address: 419 West Pike Street, P.O. Box 629, Jackson Center, OH 45334-0629

Phone: (877) 596-6111

Website: airstream.com

Tecnoform

Tecnoform was established in 1965 by Federico Kerkoc. He had a vision: To start manufacturing interiors for recreational vehicles in an industrialized manner.

Tecnoform’s main manufacturing facilities are located in Crespellano, near Bologna, Italy.

Website: tecnoform.com

Worth Pondering…

I saw a peanut stand, heard a rubber band,
I saw a needle that winked its eye.
But I think I will have seen everything
When I see an Airstream fly.

—music and lyrics by Oliver Wallace and Ned Washington, in Dumbo

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World’s Fastest Motorhome Sets New Speed Record

Performance and motorhomes are not two words that generally go together—despite today’s vans offering a fairly reasonable turn of speed, considering their size and weight.

The world record is broken! (Source: goldschmitt.de)
The world record is broken! (Source: goldschmitt.de)

However, there’s always someone who has to go that one stage further—and it’s no surprise that they come from the land of unlimited autobahns, BMW, Porsche, and Mercedes-Benz.

In this case it’s a German suspension specialist called Goldschmitt, which has taken a standard Mercedes Viano Westfalia conversion and turned it into a Guinness World Record holding speedster.

The Class B motorhome has been named the fastest in the world after reaching a top speed of 222km/h which equates to 138 mph. They smashed the previous world speed record of 207km/h (128 mph), they themselves set in the first place with a Hymer Car motorhome.

The new record has been confirmed by German certification body TUV SUD.

The special model was based on Jules Verne’s Edition 60 of the Mercedes Viano.

To keep in line with regulations the only changes to the Viano were ‘an optimization to the engine and chassis’.

The optimized by Westfallia and Goldschmitt Mercedes Vito reached a record speed of 222 km/h (Source: goldschmitt.de)
The optimized by Westfallia and Goldschmitt Mercedes Vito reached a record speed of 222 km/h (Source: goldschmitt.de)

Goldschmitt emphasized that the interior of the motorhome had been left completely standard and that no action was taken to reduce the weight of the van, making a full Jules Verne ‘home on wheels’. Inside the van, it’s all ready to go and camp in and even the pop-up roof was left in place.

Propulsion for the record-campers from three-liter V6 diesel in the Mercedes Viano, which makes modifications thanks to engine electronics and suction through the company Evotech 261 hp.

Heinrich Bloemer, the Goldschmitt employee responsible for inventing the revolutionary gas-diesel engine was formerly an active racing driver.

For better road holding a gold Schmitt suspension with revised dampers and springs, lowered suspension and 19-inch tires.

Now if you are in a rush to arrive at the campsite and you’re in the market for a new set of wheels to go faster, be very happy: The new record-setting Westfalia Jules Verne home-on-wheels, with the exception of small modifications to the engine in production configuration, and street legal. The fastest camper in the world can therefore be bought by interested customers.

The Westfalia Jules Verne is the first model with separate twin beds in the rear. The base is the Mercedes Viano. The two-tone special edition Model 60 is limited to 60 copies and comes standard with leather upholstery, navigation system, and parking assistance.

Is driven 68 900 € expensive edition model of a diesel with 2.2 liters, which makes 163 hp.

For an additional charge of more than 3,000 € a 224 bhp strong 3.0-liter V6 mounted.

The record-breaking Mercedes Viano Westfalia Van will be on display at Goldschmitt’s booth at the 2012 Düsseldorf Caravan Salon which runs from August 25 to September 2, 2012. You may visit the Goldschmitt staff in Hall 13, Stand C53 or in the open area FG13-02.

The fastest camper in the world! (Source: goldschmitt.de)
The fastest camper in the world! (Source: goldschmitt.de)

Details

Goldschmitt Techmobil AG

In 30 years, Gold Schmitt has developed from a small factory to the estimated development partner for manufacturers in the RV and ambulance vehicles.

In 2012 Goldschmitt intends to expand their European leadership in the areas of competence air suspension systems, Expert valuation, steel springs, and leveling/hydraulic jacks for camper vans and light trucks.

In addition, to be undertaken this year with the development of hydro-pneumatic suspension for the Iveco Daily ready for production a step in the technology of the future.

Address: Dornberger 6-10, D-74746 Höpfingen

Phone: +49 (0) 62 83/22 29-0

Website: goldschmitt.de

Worth Pondering…

Security is mostly a superstition.
It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it.
Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure.
Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.

—Helen Keller

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