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This Revolutionary Camper Van Is Basically a Camping Transformer
Tiny homes, roll out.
The electric vehicle revolution, whenever it finally does arrive at a tipping point, stands to remake the world of transportation as we know it. Engine noise and exhaust fumes will vanish; gas stations can transform into coffee shops and restaurants and parks to serve recharging vehicles’ owners.
But the rEVolution has the potential to change more than just how we drive; it’s also poised to shift the way we camp and recreate. Electric RVs, camper vans and camping trailers offer more power for more features, and the potential flexibility of EV platforms means camper-building companies can let their imaginations run comparatively wild.
The latest entrant into this field: upstart California company AC Future, which has joined forces with famed Italian design house Pininfarina — yes, the one that designed all the Ferraris — to create a vision of what the electric camper van can be in our bright, shiny tomorrow, as first spotted by New Atlas. Although, to be quite honest, calling the AC Future eTH a “camper van” is selling it a little bit short. It’s more of a tiny house that folds into a van-sized platform — a camping Autobot, so to speak.
The AC Future eTH folds an apartment’s worth of space into a camper van footprint
On the road, you might not take particular note of the eTH — which, for the record, stands for “electric Transformer House.” Folded up, it’s about 20 feet long and 11 feet high, making it around the dimensions of the high-roof Mercedes-Benz Sprinter that serves as the platform for many a camper van build.
The real magic begins when you park and open it up. The walls power outwards at the touch of a button, with the rear and left ones sliding a full eight feet away from the chassis to create a whopping 400 square feet of living space that can sleep up to four.
The floorplan of the eTH in living mode.AC Future
As designed by Pininfarina, however, the eTH’s interior seems better suited for a couple of DINKs rather than a family with kids. There’s a primary bedroom in the stern, a kitchen area with ample room for cooking and a (comparatively) expansive living room.
The cockpit, meanwhile, is designed to convert to an office when parked; the steering wheel stows away and the dashboard’s center-mounted infotainment / instrument panel screen spins to become an external monitor.
Writing this from a Manhattan apartment, this looks like heaven.AC Future
The eTH can generate its own power and water for serious boondocking
It’s the eTH’s self-sufficiency capabilities that really make it a potential game-changer for living off-the-grid, however. Atop all those roof panels lie solar panels, which can generate a claimed 25 kWh of power (presumably per day, though the brand didn’t specify). Up front, there’s a water generator — i.e. a dehumidifier — that can pull up to 13 gallons of H2O from the air every day. Stick to sponge baths, and a single adult could probably live almost indefinitely out of this camper.
In terms of what actually motivates this little home, AC Future and Pininfarina didn’t offer much — really, anything — in terms of the powertrain specifications of the electric Transformer House. The brand’s website claims it uses an “EV / ICE Chassis,” but based on the power demands and the flat skateboard-like shape of the chassis, we find it hard to believe any internal combustion engine and drivetrain could fit conveniently in there. (Also, it wouldn’t exactly be future-facing to stick a dirty ol’ gas motor in your fancy Silicon Valley camper.)
For the moment, of course, all this is vaporware – AC Future’s vision of the future exists solely on the computer screen, as far as we can tell. The brand’s CES 2024 debut of the eTH came in the form of a “VR debut,” which makes it seem pretty clear that these renderings from the company’s YouTube channel are about as real as it gets for now.
AC Future’s ambitious timeline on their website claims prototypes will be made this year, with the camper van entering mass production towards the end of 2025. (Supposedly, a camping trailer and a mobile home based on the same tech and plans will follow.) Considering the number of hype-driven products from start-up brands we run into on a regular basis here at Gear Patrol, we’re not holding our breath for the eTH to reach the streets in less than 24 months. But whether it’s in 2025, 2030 or 2050, products like this electric van seem poised to eventually change the way we camp, vacation — and maybe even live.
AC Future eTH
Length (road mode)
Length (house mode)
Width (road mode)
Width (house mode)
Interior volume (house mode)
400 square feet
Compact size on road, ample living space when parked