We've got 4 kids and we like camping. What are our EV options? | The Driven
Pic: VW http://newsroom.vw.com/vehicles/future-cars/official-the-vw-bus-is-back-and-its-electric/
The electric version of VW’s iconic Kombi camper, the Buzz. Source: VW

We are encouraging questions from readers about electric vehicles, and charging, and whatever else you want to learn. So please send them through and we will get our experts to respond, and invite other people to contribute through the comments section.

Our latest question comes from Nick, who asks:

“My wife and I have 4 kids.  Currently we are driving around in a R51 pathfinder which is great for camping and 4WD trips but it is inefficient for the school run etc.

“We only have 1 car. We are really wanting an alternative 7 or 8 seater for daily commutes and the Tesla model x is out of our budget and lacks any type of meaningful cargo space when fitted with the extra seats.

“We may keep the 4WD depending on our EV options (if any). Are you aware of any EV people movers or vans that are coming onto the market?  When and how much?”

Our resident expert, TheDriven contributor and AEVA member Bryce Gaton, says:

Hi Nick – yes, you are unicorn hunting: but as you also rightly point out, one does exist … at a price!

If you want a full battery electric vehicle (BEV) replacement to fully replace your camping and 4WD vehicle that does the school run too: the Tesla Model X with the third row of seats is the only currently available option.

It even has a good tow rating – so it ticks all the one-car replacement boxes. (Just not the price one). It is also likely to be the only such option in the full BEV market for some time to come.

However, there is at least one BEV in the pipeline that could fit your single car specifications (and is very cool looking to-boot!)

That is the VW ID Buzz electric Microbus. Planned for release in 2022, it reportedly is going to have a range of 420km with flexible seating and load carrying options, plus include ultra-fast-charge capacity.

Altogether it would make a great one-car replacement for gentle off-road, surfing and camping trips as well as daily driving runs to the shops and school. And you’dbe turning a lot of heads with its significant styling nod to the iconic VW Combi!

Unfortunately, whether it will be made in right-hand drive and released in Australia are complete unknowns.

In the meantime, if you are interested in going electric in the near future: then you may have to look at a two car scenario. That way you could go to a smaller BEV as a second vehicle that does almost all of the day-to-day work, saving the 4WD for moving the full family and/or gear loads.

Five seater options there would be the Renault Zoe, the Hyundai Ioniq (coming next month) and Hyundai Kona (due Feb 2019).

Pricing for these begins around $45,000 for the 200km range Ioniq sedan, around $50,000 for the 300km Zoe hatch through to a likely $55,000 for the 400km range Kona small SUV.

(Note that I am quoting ‘real-world’ driving ranges, not the test cycle ones generally used by the manufacturers. Those are good for comparisons, but are not normally achievable on the road).

By the way, there is a dark-horse option for a one-car BEV replacement. This is the second-hand 2014-15 ‘grey import’ Nissan E-NV200. The E-NV200 is basically a Nissan Leaf in van clothing with seven seats and around 100km driving range.

But it would not do the camping trips due to its limited range … unless you live in Queensland and can use the EV fact-charge DC superhighway from Brisbane to Cairns! (Nissan E-NV200s are available through a private vehicle importer in Queensland).

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