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Futuristic all-electric Ecco Camper concept from NAU

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June 26, 2011

The Ecco Camper concept by NAU design

The Ecco Camper concept by NAU design

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NAU, the design studio behind the 360-degree Immersive Cocoon we checked out earlier this month, has penned this streamlined, zero-local-emission Ecco Camper concept with a view to inspiring a new way of getting away from it all in the 21st Century.

The expandable roof of the Ecco Camper integrates solar panels to supplement the power supply and the vehicle can also be charged via a standard 240 V outlet.

Comprising of an aluminum and glass exterior, the Ecco's teardrop shape sits low to the ground for improved aerodynamics and can accommodate up to five passengers. Once you have found that perfect resting place, the cap of the vehicle opens upwards to expand the interior space, whilst transparent panels create an observatory for star gazing at night. Foldable beds, toilet and private rear access complete this camping concept by providing all the necessary comforts for outdoor adventures.

The Ecco Camper concept by NAU design
The Ecco Camper concept by NAU design

We'd love to see this camper concept become a reality - especially if the price tag can be kept within reach of today's combustion engine motor homes.

NAU via Architectura+Design (Italian).

About the Author
Bridget Borgobello Bridget is an experienced freelance writer, presenter and performer with a keen eye for innovative design and a passion for green technology. Australian born, Bridget currently resides in Rome and when not scribbling for Gizmag, she spends her time developing new web series content and independent cinema.   All articles by Bridget Borgobello
20 Comments

I think that's Buster Crabbe at the wheel.

Eideard
26th June, 2011 @ 02:10 pm PDT

Form should flow from function -- not from some random drafting tool on the designer's desk.

DemonDuck
26th June, 2011 @ 04:52 pm PDT

Not sure the ground clearance it too practicle on most campsites I've been on.

AndyP
26th June, 2011 @ 11:56 pm PDT

And why is it not accessible design?

Clive Durdle
27th June, 2011 @ 06:38 am PDT

Excellent design study from an artistic point of view but ends there. The design has major drivability/safety problems. A three wheel layout with steering in the back is not stable and the driver cannot see out the front corner of the vehicle.

Rohn
27th June, 2011 @ 07:34 am PDT

All the critics should know those points can be addressed.

Amazing how small-minded some "intelligent" people can be.

Constructive criticism is one thing

BUT

the world is choking on destructive cynicism in the name of "science".

I think it sure is a lot more appealing in it's impression than all these ugly,boxy smog monsters running around.

Give it 4-wheels,adjustable air-ride and whatever drivetrain is most effective and it will sell.

Reserve the edge of tech for rich visionaries but the shape,interior and concept are sound with current drivetrain options.

Check out RQ Riley's page for more attainable concepts and consider his low-cost foam/wood technique to build this.

Dream with one hand,

Shift with the other!

Rock on!

Griffin
27th June, 2011 @ 09:33 am PDT

I have noticed a trend in recent years of what I will call "hypercriticism" when new concepts and ideas are presented. Instead of responding with: "krazy idea, how do we make it work?", folks seem to respond more like: "It has problems, it will never work!"

Yes, I can see that the concept vehicle 'needs work' but it is innovative and a compact, economical camper/motorhome is needed in today's market.

I didn't see anything in the article that said it was 'rear-steering'. Three wheel vehicles can avoid some of the legal/tax problems of four-wheel vehicles, at least for now. Two front steering wheels and one rear drive wheel is stable and controllable. Certainly, a one front steering wheel and two rear drive wheel arrangement is less stable(personal experience taught me that!).

The front corner visability would be bad unless cameras that feed to viewscreens for the driver are provided. These are showing up more and more on current vehicles as supplemental rearview mirrors so using them for forward corners wouldn't be a challenge. A video dash that is multifunction should be provided. It might automatically switch to the cameras when there is a turn input to the steering system. Again, this is like the backup systems being applied to current production.

This would be a perfect vehicle for an adjustable suspension. It would provide varying ground clearance when on the road and squat for stability and leveling when camped.

I loved the Buster Crabbe comment! I remember watching his space show on Saturdays so many years ago. Showing us the future by imagination and props can inspire designers in the real world to stretch their imagination and create miricles!

History Nut
27th June, 2011 @ 11:01 am PDT

can you say GUST OF WIND

Jay Finke
27th June, 2011 @ 11:07 am PDT

I buy one tomorrow if it was available. Build it, they will come.

Love it, Michael

Michael Slattery
27th June, 2011 @ 11:36 am PDT

Griffin,

If you have the money, ok blow it.

But...

"I think it sure is a lot more appealing in it's impression than all these ugly,boxy smog monsters running around.

Give it 4-wheels,adjustable air-ride and whatever drivetrain is most effective and it will sell."

Remove that envisioned drive train to something more conventional and the design is not possibe. Electric storage for such a system is just not practical. Solar power is so low density in such a drive line application. You will spend inordinate amount of time looking for charging stations. Ground clearance is insufficeint for the intended used. In fact the shape is not even that aerodynamic with that large frontal surface.

Science is the envelope from which the cyncism you belittle orginates. A true scientists IS a cynic at heart.

JohnMc
27th June, 2011 @ 12:04 pm PDT

Actually it just not that innovative. Look up tear drop trailers. Those were built in the 40's and 50's in great numbers and the plans are available free online with a bit of searching. Everything mentioned here was done on those. Other than trying to fit a drive train into the things. And stuffing 4 people into a space normally occupied by 2.

Camping can be uncomfortable enough with out having to decide whose feet are in your face or who the lucky person is that doesn't get to actually fit inside to sleep. Just have visions of bears thinking it's a portable burger stand in the night. And the criticism is not onerous but correct. With that design it would suffer from wind veining/weather cocking in any wind just like the tear drops do. I'd rather have a tear drop it's much more practical and from the looks a better camper.

Wragie Wrawagie
27th June, 2011 @ 02:53 pm PDT

At the risk of further offending Griffin and History Nut, if you wish to publish in the public domain, you have to be prepared for as much criticism as acclaim, probably more. Doesn't mean people are against your idea, only that you didn't give it enough thought.

There are several illogical aspects to the Ecco Camper concept. As it's an EV, lets agree that one of the design essentials is energy efficiency. In travel-mode it seems to be about 2 metres high, unfurled for camping a little over 4 metres. The vehicle also appears to be about 2.7 metres wide. This would present an enormous cross-section to any prevailing wind, making travel inefficient and accommodation prone to significant disturbance in anything over 5 knot winds.

On a similar vein, the energy required to open the passenger compartment door would appear to be far in excess of that necessary to allow people to enter/exit the vehicle. In its open position it has no additional functionality so why does most of the side of the vehicle move up? Is there some inherent problem with a conventional hinge?

Last, with the packaging oriented strongly towards accommodation and sleeping quarters, it's not clear that there's any room for (a) a kitchen or cooking area, or (b) batteries. The lack of kitchen is manageable - cook outdoors on portable equipment. But given the energy storage requirement to propel the Ecco, given its height and width, battery storage volume will be significant. That is, if it's expected to go to faraway places. Where are all the batteries?

I'm all for presenting concepts to give people a hint of what might be possible, and to promote further thinking/dreaming of what could be. However, for me at least, it's more stimulating to review an idea that has been more thoroughly considered, rather than a few thoughts converted into a visually enticing form by some computer renderings. Many people would have doodled similar concepts on table napkins or a scratch pad. Would it have been worthwile showing lots of folks what they'd done? Nah, it's only noise.

johnniesazzler
27th June, 2011 @ 07:54 pm PDT

I am tired of these ludicrous concept vehicles. If you want to sell me, make it look like i could take it out for the weekend. Three wheels are fine, but put all the weight inside the tripod, keep the center of balance low, and put the steering tire(s) in front so the average driver knows what to expect.

Give me a big ugly practical box, with a thousand miles between refuelings.

Slowburn
28th June, 2011 @ 12:37 am PDT

Looks like a motorcycle gas tank on wheels. Ground Clearance is not practical. Body work guys are gonna have a field day with this when it gets pranged.

Azar Attura
28th June, 2011 @ 07:42 am PDT

A wonderful electric razor design; not bad as a camper either!

John C. Manor III
28th June, 2011 @ 08:49 pm PDT

Looks a lot like the 1953 Wild Goose teardrop http://myteardropbuild.com/images/Kampmaster%20Wild%20Goose%203.jpg and the 60s Austin Mini WildGoose camper with the canvas top http://www.flickr.com/photos/imagetaker1/3083808037/in/set-72157609173879338/.

Luddite
29th June, 2011 @ 09:52 am PDT

U would image the front wheels comming so close to the windscreen woudl create a very dirty windscreen

Richardf
23rd September, 2011 @ 06:33 am PDT

What a great look. It reminds me of a Teardrop trailer in reverse. A lot of possibilities with this design, I hope that someone takes it to the next level and produces a working model.

Eugene Farley
7th May, 2012 @ 12:38 pm PDT

A pity the layout picture is not readable in higher resolution.

Would have loved to see a 3D rendering from "within".

Where do 4 people sleep and I see a toilet etc..

How does that all fit in there.

Vic Vicarious
26th September, 2013 @ 11:14 am PDT

I was interested to see the size comparison to the classic VW micro Bus camper and do not really understand some of the comments people made. Did they not look at the pictures? Also, if you've never been camping or never camped in a VW bus it's hard to imagine how it works. For many people in many places, it works well. Maybe not all terrain or all weather or for all people, but it does work. My first '67 bus camper was purchased used in 1977 from a family of 5 who spent the summer in Europe and the British Isles driving, cooking, eating, sleeping and yes, going to the toilet (if necessary) all in a 40 hp VW bus. I camped in her all across the US and used her as a daily driver until 1990. I now drive an electric/hybrid car (a Chevy Volt) and own a 30' travel trailer (that I tow with a large Ford van) and wonder about combining it all together to make a hybrid powered camping van. What could it look like? Designs like this may show the way, and that is exactly why they exist, IMHO.

Thomas Boles
23rd April, 2014 @ 03:01 pm PDT
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