Jucy Launches Groundbreaking Electric Campervan

Jucy Launches Groundbreaking Electric Campervan

The future of motorhome travel is fast approaching

Electric vehicles (EVs) have been around for a while now in one form or another, and with Tesla beginning to roll out their Model 3 cars the era of the electric vehicle is well and truly dawning. Electric campervans have been a little slower to roll off the production lines though, but that hasn’t stifled the dreams of two French students and a New Zealand campervan rental company.

Jucy Electric Vehicle

Parisians Heloise and Solene had a vision to travel across New Zealand in an electric campervan, so they got in touch with Jucy Rentals. Jucy loved the idea but there was just one small problem: there were no electric campervans in New Zealand. Not to be dissuaded by a small detail like that, Jucy set to work creating New Zealand’s first electric campervan, finished it, and asked Heloise and Solene whether they wanted to take it on a road trip around the country. Naturally they said yes, and have now embarked on New Zealand’s inaugural EV campervan road trip.

We got in touch with Dan Alpe at Jucy to chat about the current state of EVs, practical considerations for driving an electric campervan, and their plans for introducing EVs as a regular feature of their rental fleet.

Jucy Electric Vehicle

What is the effective range of your current EV prototype?

The current range is just over 100 km. So far, Heloise and Solene are finding this not to be too much of a problem, and are enjoying that it’s meaning they are seeing lots of New Zealand!

What range would you consider acceptable for an electric campervan in New Zealand?

On average our customers travel 160 km per day, so that would be the minimum we would like to achieve, however ideally, we would be able to offer 200 km of course!

How much does it cost to fully charge your EV prototype?

Approximately $9 using the fast charger which takes 20 minutes. This is equivalent to paying 30 cents a litre for fuel – so we anticipate this will be attractive to future travellers.

Where can you charge an EV in New Zealand?

There are over 250 charging points throughout New Zealand. ChargeNet is a great place to start – they’ve got a map of all charging stations on their website.

Jucy Electric Vehicle

What would it take for Jucy to roll out a fully electric fleet?

It is early days for us, but we are receiving very good data and feedback from Solene and Heloise around the vehicle and the challenges they are having to overcome. The current vehicle we are using is a Nissan e-NV200 with a 24kW battery which obviously doesn’t give us the range that we are aiming for. Nissan has confirmed that it is releasing a 40kW option later in 2018 with a realistic range of approximately 200 km which will meet the minimum requirement for us.

There is also a requirement for further infrastructure advancements allowing charging in more remote parts of New Zealand, this will be greatly helped with more and more campgrounds coming on board.

That said, the EV trial with Heloise and Solene is definitely providing the information we need to know about what still needs to be done to make it a reality. Without a doubt, we’re finding their enthusiasm fairly contagious.

What is Jucy’s timeline for having electric campervans available for hire in New Zealand?

We are aiming to have a small fleet available for customers to hire in the next 12-18 months.

What kind of issues of Jucy currently facing on the journey to launching an electric fleet?

There are two main challenges at this stage: the first being the availability of a suitable chassis and the second being the speed in developing charging infrastructure. We believe there will be large advancements for both over the next 2-3 years. The Government has established a contestable fund to encourage innovation and investment to accelerate the uptake of electric and other low emission vehicles in New Zealand, which is a great start.

Electric campervans look set to provide an ultra-cheap, eco-friendly alternative for travellers worldwide in the years to come, but there’s no need to wait that long. A standard campervan hire in New Zealand or anywhere else in the world gives you the freedom to explore destinations on your own time and go wherever the road takes you. Don’t delay - start planning your epic motorhome road trip today.

Written By: Kristof Haines

It’s funny how motorhome memories stick with you. I can still recall a motorhome vacation my family took when I was five years old and how awesome I thought I was, tucked away in a loft bed above the cab. From revealing unique destinations to providing tips and tricks, it’s my mission to help others build great motorhome memories too.