This is the Verdier Westfalia Solar Power – VW-style van conversion whose manufacturers claim it is the shape of things to come:
It’s certainly a modern, strking vehicle with definite sex appeal but great practicality too.
Solar panels, a popup roof that sleeps two, a kitchen area that can be accessed from the outside, a retractable awning… the list goes on.
The only slight reservation I have is in the level of hype surrounding it. Most of these features are already available as production and/or aftermarket options on mainstream van conversions and motorhomes.
Leaving aside the pleasing aesthetics – its looks certainly beat most mainstream conversions – what are we left with?
The specifications published on Verdier’s website include:
- Hybrid vehicle engine – new, but not specific to the campervan and coming soon to vans everywhere
- 40W/12V solar panel – pretty unremarkable already. Why such low power?
- Hydraulic suspension – unusual on a small van, but does it really serve any useful purpose?
- Built-in satellite navigation – hardly groundbreaking. Already available as an option on almost all new vans
- Cooker & sink – sounds familiar…
- ‘Rock and roll’ bed to sleep two with a further double in the poptop – VW and other small van conversions have used this configuration for at least 40 years…
The Verdier Westfalia won the Special Prize from the Jury at the Caravaning Design Award 2006/2007 Innovation for New Mobility at the 2006 Caravan Salon Dusseldorf in Germany.
While an attractive, modern and fairly eco-friendly design – I like the wooden panelling – I can’t help wondering if the judges were blinded by style over innovation.
What do you think?
Here’s a few more pictures to whet your appetite. For the full lowdown, visit Vernier’s website at www.vernier.ca: