Finally someone has put one of those sleek, futuristic all-electric vans to use as a proper camper. In fact, the RollAway electric RV based on GM’s BrightDrop Zevo 600 commercial van is more of a five-star glamper. You can’t buy it, but you can give electric van life a try by renting one for a trip around or beyond California. Not only will renters rest easy with the peace of mind of a respectable 250-mile (402-km) range and California’s robust EV charging network at their backs, but they’ll be further supported with the promise of five-star vacation service. It certainly sounds like a better way to dip one’s toes into the e-RVing era than spending six figures on a camper van with a leash of 120 miles (193 km).
Every time we see one of those cool, conceptual next-gen electric vans, whether it be a Rivian, or a Canoo, or an Arrival, or one of the myriad other ground-up e-van concepts and prototypes out there, we can’t help but think, “That’d make a killer camper van.” Instead, the global electric camper van market has been heavily concentrated on under-ranged ICE-to-EV van nameplates like the Ford E-Transit or Citroën e-SpaceTourer.
Sunnyvale, California-based RollAway has finally gone and done it … or is doing it, at least. It’s converting the BrightDrop Zevo 600 into what should be a capable, forward-looking electric camper van you can drive right here in 2023. The Zevo 600 looks to be a very RV-friendly platform – the boxy 290-in-long van offers a respectable 250-mile (402-km) estimated range and a voluminous cargo area with 600 cubic feet (17 cu m) of space and 6.8 feet (2 m) of interior height. The Zevo 600 also packs all-wheel drive and up to 300 hp and 390 lb-ft of motor output. GM says it can charge in 160 miles (257 km) in an hour.
RollAway’s initial interior doesn’t quite match the futuristic concept-car vibe of the exterior, the way you’d see in an actual concept van like the original Winnebago e-RV or the Thor Vision Vehicle, it does absolutely look the part of a high-end custom. RollAway’s sample floor plan, which may differ from the “next-generation interiors” the company says it will have available when its rentals officially hit the streets, is a classic rear-bed layout with central kitchen and bathroom areas and a dining/living room.
RollAway will offer three different grades of van, starting with a classic two-person queen-bed model it calls the GlampVan. The LuxVan will be a more upscale version of that floor plan with a “spa-class bathroom, spacious living/dining area, and upscale furniture and decor.” The QuadVan will have a queen bunk bed layout that sleeps four people.
While the RollAway van interior is quite luxurious for a camper van, what the company is really selling is more akin to a full-service hotel. An on-demand virtual concierge service accessible with a swipe and poke of a touchscreen will offer customizable activities and itineraries, both in advance and along the way. Onboard Starlink satellite internet will ensure that renters are never out of service range.
RollAway also plans farm-to-table breakfast packages, housecleaning services, room service and more. Some services will be limited to select geographic areas, and some will start at a later date after the initial launch.
Besides quite effectively combining three on-trend travel and mobility categories – camper van rental, glamping and EV travel – into one, RollAway gives those interested a way of experimenting with all-electric RVing and road tripping without having to purchase an expensive camper van of their own and with the backing of a hotel-style vacation service.
RollAway launched pre-booking several weeks ago and offers packages starting at US$1,300 for a three-night stay. The company is currently advertising an early-bird discount that drops the three-night package price to $800 with a nominal $1 reservation fee. It tells us it expects to begin welcoming the first Zevo 600 “Suite on Wheels” camper van guests in August 2023.