- Advanced RV has revealed a prototype of its “B Box” camper van built on a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter cab chassis.
- The B Box fits a full bathroom, kitchen, and dual living room and bedroom inside of the highly insulated box.
- Advanced RV’s president Mike Neundorfer estimates that the price will be similar to the company’s other vans, which have recently ranged between $310,000 to about $490,000 with a median price of about $380,000.
- Advanced RV has begun manufacturing custom B Box vans for its customers and has hired new staff members to accommodate this increase in production.
- The unveiling of the B Box comes at a fortuitous time for the RV industry, with RV sales going through the roof with no sign of slowing down.
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Unlike most camper vans – including ones that Advanced RV has built in the past – the B Box doesn’t take the classic look of a tiny home on wheels. Instead, the camper cabin sits inside of an insulated fiberglass composite and foam box that’s both off-grid and four-seasons capable.
“Advanced RV’s mission is to listen to and understand our clients’ travel objectives so that we can collaborate with them to bring their vision to life,” Advanced RV’s president Mike Neundorfer said in an email interview with Business Insider. “When we discovered a box that would allow us to meet our clients’ objectives on a cab chassis, we pursued building a prototype because we knew of the spatial, insulation, and off-grid advancements a box would provide.”
The unveiling of the B Box comes at a fortuitous time for the RV industry. Last month, RV shipments increased 31.2% year-over-year with a total of 41,509 shipped in September 2020 compared to 31,639 shipped the same time last year, according to a September survey of RV manufacturers by the RV Industry Association trade group.
Despite this upwards trend, Class A and C RV shipments dipped year-over-year last month by 12.7% and 5.2%, respectively. month. However, Class B RVs remained resilient: last month, Class B shipments increased by 57.9% compared to September 2019, according to the same survey.
The prototype of the B Box camper took around 10 to 11 months to complete and has similar dimensions to a traditional 170-inch Sprinter van, although the B Box has a higher ground clearance with at least 9.5 inches.
B Box’s interior is about 6.67 feet tall and has an extra nine inches of width despite having a similar exterior width as a traditional Sprinter.
The cabin box is about three inches wider than the widest part of the van.
According to a statement from Neundorfer, the name of the van is derived from its Class B RV classification, which the company specializes in.
Like many camper van and RV makers, Advanced RV has seen an increase in Class B RV interest from the public since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Even if interested parties aren’t looking to build a van, we are receiving more calls, inquiries, and interest in our YouTube channel,” Advanced RV president Mike Neundorfer said in an email interview with Business Insider.
Advanced RV created the B Box out of partial necessity, not because of the coronavirus pandemic, but because of chassis manufacturing changes.
In 2018 and 2019, Advanced RV began struggling to meet client demands due to delays in Sprinter chassis deliveries in 2018 when Mercedes-Benz opened a new Sprinter manufacturing plant in South Carolina, according to Neundorfer.
In order to prevent employee layoffs, Advanced RV started building its own box on wheels.
“The creation of the B Box turned a difficult Sprinter supply problem into an opportunity to meet client objectives with a design using cab chassis which are readily available,” Neundorfer wrote.
The company has now begun hiring new staff members to accommodate the ramped up production of custom B Box vans for its clients.
This includes a B Box with a washer, dryer, and pop-up roof camper for a family with children.
Neundorfer estimates the price will be similar to its other vans, which have recently ranged between $310,000 to about $490,000 with a median price of about $380,000.
The van’s air suspension system is electronically controlled and comes with custom shock absorbers. And for improved efficiency, the exterior of the van is lined with airtabs.
The exterior also has sidelights and a 360-degree camera system.
For extra security, Advanced RV included a keypad by the entry door to password lock and protect the van.
Stepping stairs automatically drop down when the entry door is opened for increased accessibility.
The cabin can be easily accessed from the van’s cab, and the passenger seat can swivel to face the interior, therefore serving as an extra seating spot.
Behind the cab is a microwave, refrigerator and freezer, and the kitchen unit, which includes cabinets, a sink, and a large counter space.
The camper has shoe storage shelves integrated into the side of the kitchen unit and cabinets that line most of the van’s ceiling.
The color of the lights that brighten up the interior can be changed.
To clean off after a day in the outdoors, the B Box’s bathroom has a shower that can filter and sterilize used shower water, allowing the water to be recycled and reused. This repurposed shower water can also be used for the toilet.
The bathroom is also equipped with a toilet, mirrors, a shower curtain extension, a medicine cabinet, and a sink.
The bathroom and kitchen’s water is sourced from the van’s 50-gallon freshwater tank. Used water is then deposited into the two 27.5-gallon grey and black water tanks.
Advanced RV’s latest van also has openable dual pane windows with screens and shades by the sofa bed. The back hatch can also open, bringing in more fresh air and rear access.
There’s also room to store outdoor toys like bicycles in front of the rear hatch and behind the sofa bed.
The sofa bed can seat three people with seatbelts and sits on a steel frame for extra support and security.
The interior also has a Sonos sound system and a TV for extra entertainment inside the tiny home on wheels.
B Box’s strong insulation allows the interior to be warmed and cooled with only approximately 20% of the energy that it takes to maintain the temperature of a normal camper van, according to Advanced RV.
The van is so tightly sealed, the interior’s carbon dioxide levels will increase if people stay and breathe inside the van for too long, according to Advanced RV’s YouTube video. To combat this, its makers included an air heat exchanger and a carbon dioxide monitor.
To make the tiny home on wheels more four seasons capable, Advanced RV included on-demand heated water and floors, and air conditioning and auxiliary heating systems.
All of these amenities are powered by the van’s 48-volt, 15.2-kilowatt-hour lithium battery pack that can be charged with the alternator. These power systems can then be monitored with the van’s touchscreen control center.