It’s a constant frustration for me that concept vehicles nearly always get watered down into something similar to that which already exists. Almost as if at the last minute, fear of being too different grips the company in question.
When I saw the Colim Campervan it initially made me smile, then I felt the impending doom of a sleek, space-age design that will be whittled into a more er, acceptable shape for the masses.
The unique aspect of this design is that it’s two vehicles in one – a veritable Thunderbird 2, you could say.
Designed by German designer Christian Susana, the Colim is a 2-seater car as well as a 4-berth Campervan. With a top speed of 90mph, this streamlined camper can spit out of it’s front the 2-seater car for easier town use.
The camper area itself features a central living area, with built in seating (good for those hairpin bends), with a sink and shower plus bed areas for four persons. Entranceand exit is at the rear of the van. The living area can be customised to individual needs to have a kitchen, bathroom, bedroom and a seating area.
Colim stands for Colours of Life in Motion (no I don’t know what that means either) and despite the modernity that oozes from every angle of this concept vehicle, it kind of reminds me of a standard caravan being towed by a car with a slightly clinical feel to the interior. Indeed, I would expect a brain scan if I lay down in one.
VW on the other hand, have their own Campervan concept on the go at the moment too – the Bulli. With a retro nod to the original VW Camper, this vehicle can carry up to six persons and has an 86kw electric motor capable of up to 186 miles on one lithium-ion battery charge. As the development of lithium-ion battery technology steadily improves, the versatility of electric vehicles also improves. No longer just a short jaunt vehicle, the continuous improvements mean that the idea of an electric campervan is not quite as ridiculous as it might once have been. I mean, imagine setting of on holiday where you can only get a few miles down the road before having to find a spot to recharge!
Unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in 2011, the Bulli is shorter than the Microbus concept from 2001 at around 4 metres long. Let’s hope it fairs better as well, as the Volkswagen Microbus, originally planned to be rolled out during 2003, was officially cancelled in 2005.
There is surely a lot of scope for a Campervan concept to be quite something special. After all, it’s not just a car and it’s not just a caravan – a designer’s dream. Yet, compared to the original VW Camper, many leave a lot to be desired. The original has had some jaw-dropping internal modern custom makeovers which simply enhance or compliment some ingenious original equipment. I remember visiting Strictly Aircooled and being amazed at the passenger seat being so easily turned into a mini cooker – who knew?
To me, the Bulli is a little disappointing. The large VW logo hints at the rebirth of the iconic classic, yet in reality, the Bulli is more a modern-style people carrier for the school run than a place to wake up in overlooking the sea on the Cornish or Californian coast.
For now, I’d recommend visiting Performance Direct for your VW Camper Van insurance, then finding great pleasure in seeking out an original, vintage Camper, for both the Bulli and the Colim remain just concept vehicles at the moment.
Colim images from retrofutur.fr