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iMotorhome magazine July 2021

Farewell

CAMPERS THE FINAL IMOTORHOME MAGAZINE...

PREVIEW - AUSTRAL PODS I READER - VW VAN BUILD PT 3 TECH - LITHIUM BATTERIES I PREVIEW - BURSTNER LYSEO GALLERY


ON MY MIND

The Long Goodbye

T

travelling affections: A classic BMW touring motorcycle. For now we plan to share the travelling love and see where our hearts lead us…

here’s no easy way to say it, but this is the final issue of iMotorhome Magazine. It’s time to join Mrs iMotorhome in ‘transitioning to retirement’ – whatever that actually means.

Thank You! Without readers like you, iMotorhome Magazine would never have lasted. Thank you for taking the journey with us, whether you’ve just found the magazine or been with us since May 2012.

The decision to close the magazine hasn’t been easy and isn’t financial. Rather, it’s the realisation I’ve ‘lost the love’ and what once was passion has become a chore. Visiting the Sydney Show brought that into focus, as I touched-on last issue, but walking around the Brisbane Show at the beginning of June confirmed it: Call it fatigue, overload or boredom, the ‘fire’ has gone and it’s time to move on. All-up we produced around 200 issues, taking into account New Zealand and America, so it’s not like we didn’t give it a decent go…

I want to say a special thank you to our most loyal advertisers – Australian Motor Homes & Caravans, Ballina Campervan & Motorhome Centre/Horizon Motorhomes, Northcoach RV Equipment, Suncamper Motorhomes, Trakka, and Wirraway Motorhomes. This handful of companies ‘kept the faith’, even advertising when it wasn’t necessary due to rocketing sales – like now. At times we’ve been the sole advertising expenditure for some of you and that loyalty didn’t go unnoticed, nor unappreciated. Readers, please keep these businesses in mind when you’re shopping around – they’re good people.

All issues will be available on the iMotorhome Magazine website at least until the end of June 2022 and possibly beyond (and will always be available on issuu.com/imotorhome as long as that website exists). Although I’m stopping the magazine, you might see the odd blog post pop into your inbox. One of the reasons for keeping them going is it has always been my plan to return to running small group motorhome tours in New Zealand and possibly further afield. Covid scuppered plans for touring this year and even 2022 is looking dodgy, so we’ll just have to wait and see.

Another thank you goes to our equally loyal contributors – people like Colin Oberin, Warren McCullough, Phil McLeod, Robert ‘Bobby’ Watson, Ian Button, Sharon Hollamby and others: You helped keep the pages full, interesting and relevant. Thanks also to good mate and Tech Guru Allan Whiting for sharing resources, helping out and generally being invaluable.

While I won’t miss the deadlines or reviewing motorhomes (apparently the best job in the world, so I’m told), I will miss the feedback from readers: It has been the best part of the last nine-and-a-bit years and Mrs iM and I have forged good friendships with many of you.

Finally, a very special thank you to Mrs iMotorhome: co-conspirator, travelling companion, motorhome review model, DIYer, tour guide, hostess, magazine proof reader and so much more; you helped make this whole adventure possible – and fun – and I can’t imagine how it would have happened without you…

With that in mind, the Readers’ Weekend in Jugiong from 10-13 September is still on and it will be our chance to say some personal goodbyes. That’s if borders are still open and other travel restrictions permit – but that was always the case. Closer to time I’ll be in touch with everyone on the list and provide detailed location and event details.

Struggling to find a way to wrap-up this final column, I can’t get out of my head the title of Douglas Adam’s fourth book in his epic five-part trilogy: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Entitled ‘So Long and Thanks for All the Fish’ (the message left by the dolphins when they departed Planet Earth just before it was demolished to make way for a hyperspace bypass, but I’m sure you knew that), it’s a fitting segue to lift the mood and get us all out of here. It’s also a reminder nothing lasts forever and that we shouldn’t take things too seriously. Thank you, it’s been a hoot, but now it’s time to go. See you on the road!

Project Polly is being discharged from active service and is transitioning to civilian life as we speak. Soon she’ll be just another anonymous white van on the highway – something Mrs iM and I are looking forward to (ditto travelling without always taking photos and looking for story ideas). How long Polly stays with us remains to be seen as she now has a rival for our 2

Richard


iMotorhome Magazine iMotorhome Magazineis free, independent and published monthly. Download issues HERE or read online HERE Publisher/Editor

Richard Robertson (+61) 0414 604 368 richard@imotorhome.com.au

Published by iMotorhome Pty Ltd PO Box 1738, Bowral. NSW 2776. Australia. ABN: 34 142 547 719 T: +614 14 604 368 E: info@imotorhome.com.au W: www.imotorhome.com.au

Technical

© 2021 iMotorhome Pty Ltd.

Allan Whiting (+61) 0410 677 966 allan@imotorhome.com.au

Contributors

Warren McCullough Ian Button Robert ‘Bobby’ Watson

All content of iMotorhome Magazine and website is copyright and cannot be reproduced in any form without the written permission of the Publisher. While every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of content, no responsibility is accepted for any inconvenience and/ or loss arising from reading and/or acting upon information contained within iMotorhome+Caravan magazine, in the app or on the website.


Time to Fly! Thank you...

Thanks for Supporting iMotorhome Magazine To those who helped keep the lights on

your generosity and support were genuinely appreciated... Now it’s time to fly and I wish you all the best!


CONTENTS

2 6 20 24 31

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ON MY MIND The Long Goodbye

42

NEWS A glimpse at what’s happening in the wide world of RVing

52

TASTED Slide-On Pods – Austral Motorhomes’ truck-based slide-ons

56

PREVIEW Future Facing – the new VW T7 Multivan faces a brave new future

PREVIEW Upstairs Downstairs – a new hybrid B/C-Class from Burstner

5

READER Olive Van Project Pt 3 – A reader’s DIY VW Crafter van conversion

TECH Lithium Upgrade – Taking the leap for worry-free off-grid living

PRODUCT Ultimate DIY Panel Vans – Custom body panels for any RV build

RV FRIENDLY Three more country towns supporting our great way of life!


NEWS

ACOF Back On The Australian Camp Oven Festival (ACOF) is back on – from 1-3 October – with online ticket sales opening on 1 July. What started as a little friendly competition around the campfire has evolved to become one of Queensland’s flagship tourism events. Located in Millmerran, 82km from Toowoomba, the ACOF was the brainchild of outback icons Gary Fogarty and Ned Winter. Following modest beginnings in 1999 the festival is now widely known as Australia’s most iconic camp oven festival. “Our quirky program celebrates authentic Aussie traditions including camp oven cooking, damper throwing, billy boiling, bush poetry, country music and bush heritage displays. Come October 2020, the coals will be stoked, caravans unhitched and the damper rising as we welcome people from all walks of life to our quiet, rural town. So dust off the camping gear, prep the camp oven and start planning your trip as we celebrate the Australian Camp Oven Festival”. To find out more about this iconic festival and to buy tickets from 1 July, visit https://acof.com.au.

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NEWS

Fuel Quality Upgrade Welcomed Volkswagen Group Australia has greeted the Federal Government's resolve to bring forward the introduction of better quality fuel across Australia. As part of the Morrison Government budget package for the two remaining oil refineries, upgrades will enable them to produce petrol to match the current world's best practice of 10 parts per million (ppm) of sulphur. The change had been scheduled for 2027 to coincide with the belated introduction of Euro 6 regulations – which would have been some 13 years behind Europe. Instead, local refineries will be ready to deliver 10ppm unleaded to bowsers in 2024. Volkswagen Group Australia's managing director Michael Bartsch said that today's announcement was a "major development in aligning Australia with first world fuel standards. Volkswagen was the first and remains the foremost voice to call for the cleaning up of Australia's highly sulfurous petrol," Mr Bartsch said.

Scams Still Costing The Australia Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has revealed that Aussies, including wouldbe RVers, were swindled out of a record $851 million last year. The ACCC's latest report on scam activities said there had been a whopping 322 percent increase in reported losses related to buying vehicles including cars, caravans and campervans, with reported losses of $1,035,401. Scammers targeted both people buying and selling vehicles and used legitimate websites such as Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree, Car Sales and Autotrader to make contact with potential victims. The average loss was $6637. To address these scams, the ACCC said it had developed relationships with reputable private sector platforms used by the fraudsters. "This can involve sharing reports where consent is provided so the platform is aware that scams are taking place on their platform and can take steps to disrupt them, for example, by removing or blocking scammers," the ACCC report said.

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NEWS

Suncamper Appoints Victorian Dealer Suncamper has appointed a dealer in Victoria: AlburyWodonga RV World. Situated close to the Hume Freeway at the border of NSW and Victoria, just three hours north of Melbourne, the new dealership is well positioned to service exisiting owners as well as those in the market for a new motorhome. “We are thrilled ti be working with a dealership that carries the same values as Suncamper,” Founder Keith Harrison said. “Aside from being motorhome specialists, they are a well-established family-owned Australian business and have a great team.

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NEWS

Fire to Fork From the pindan red beaches of the Kimberley’s west coast to the karri forests of southern Western Australia, Harry Fisher has cemented his reputation with a pair of tongs around the campfire. Combining his passion for the Aussie bush and great food, he has made it his mission to prove that camp cooking doesn’t have to be dull cooking. Harry’s campfire cooking and distinct approach to recipe creation are encapsulated by his personal brand – Fire to Fork. His meals are simple enough for any enthusiastic bush cook to prepare, but his focus on fewer but higher quality ingredients, plus techniques he’s learned from his chef mother, sets him apart in the camp cooking world. Fire to Fork has amassed millions of views on YouTube and tens of thousands of followers across the globe. As a result, Harry is the most popular authority on bush cooking, not just in Australia, but everywhere good food and campfires are combined.

His first cookbook, Fire To Fork – Adventure Cooking combines everything he knows about cooking over an open flame, with over 60 of his favourite bush recipes, desserts and cocktails. If you like campfires, camping and great food, this book will transform how and what you eat when travelling. Watch Harry’s campfire cooking videos or connect with Harry on Instagram. 10


DIY NEWS

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NEWS

Chocolate Lovers Rejoice! Arthurs Seat Eagle on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria has added three new affordable picnic experiences to its offering, incorporating a return scenic gondola flight and bespoke picnic hamper. General Manager Elle Hilton said the Mornington Peninsula still offered bright skies moving into the cooler months and that the response to the original ‘Pick ‘n’ Mix’ picnic packages had continued to grow.   “We’ve seen a shift in our visitors’ preferences and habits over the past six months, and we’ve observed that they are increasingly looking for outdoor experiences,” Ms Hilton said.     “Our new Posh, Chocoholics and Family Fun picnic packages cater for all our different types of visitors and provide greater incentive for them to make a day of it and explore the beauty of Arthurs Seat State Park, including the adjacent Seawinds Gardens. Plus, we think they provide great value.”     Posh Picnic for Two: Visit the Eagle in style and enjoy a glass of T’Gallant Prosecco on arrival, a locally sourced gourmet platter, a selection of sweet and delicate amuse-bouche, two bottles of water, a chocolate bar from Mornington Peninsula Chocolaterie and a plush ‘Arthur the Teddy’ to take home. Cost is $140 for two people.   Chocoholics Picnic for Two: Warm up with the winter indulgence of the Chocoholics Picnic. A glass of T’gallant Moscato awaits guests on arrival and the picnic also includes a locally supplied chocolate and cheese platter, a selection of sweet and chocolatey amuse-bouche, Mock Orchards Red Hill freeze-dried strawberries, a chocolate bar and the famous ‘Polka Dots’ from Mornington Peninsula Chocolaterie. Cost is $150 for two people.    Family Fun Picnic for Four: Arthurs Seat Eagle makes for a fantastic day with the family and the attraction’s aerial gondolas accommodate prams for those with tiny ones. Bring the kids and grab the Family Fun Picnic for a seasonal selection of food to fill those hungry bellies, including sandwiches, wraps, hot food, colourful treats, cupcakes, juices and coffee/tea. Cost is $150 for a family of four (two adults and two children).   Pick ‘n’ Mix Picnic for Two: The original Pick ‘n’ Mix Picnic allows you to tailor your own gourmet spread from the Eagle Cafe’s selection. Choose from wraps,

hot pastries, snacks, and sweet treats such as scones and vanilla slice. Cost is $100 for two people.   Each package includes a return Eagle gondola flight that can be enjoyed before, after or in the middle of the picnic. The picnic hampers are collected from the cafe area at the Summit Station and include a basket, food, beverages and blanket. Alcohol must be consumed on the premises, and the outdoor deck is an ideal location for this.     Picnic baskets have limited daily availability and online bookings are essential – no later than 2 pm the day before visiting. As part of Arthurs Seat Eagle’s mandate to be accessible to all – from the aerial gondolas to its food offering – picnic baskets can be tailored to special dietary requests.  Taking approximately 15 minutes each way, the aerial gondola flight carries passengers high over Arthurs Seat State Park providing incredible views of the Mornington Peninsula, across Port Phillip Bay and the Melbourne city skyline, and spectacular wildlife such as kangaroos, wallabies, kookaburras, and of course, the local wedge-tailed eagles. The 34 Swiss-made gondolas are comfortable, safe and spacious, wheelchair and pram friendly, catering to the disabled, elderly, toddlers and prams. Each can accommodate up to eight people. Arthurs Seat Eagle is located on the Mornington Peninsula, Victoria, just a little over one hour’s drive south from Melbourne and is currently open seven days per week from 10am to 5pm. For more bookings or details, visit aseagle.com.au/picnics. 12


NEWS

Suburban HWS Warning Aladdin’s Cave Reminder

STOP PRESS! Just as we were going to press, the following update was received regarding the legal battle as outlined in Sorry State in our Letters section:

Police have allegedly uncovered an Aladdin's cave of Coast Coast RV repeated warning that some stolen to property at ahas caravan parkaon the Gold Coast. RVs could still be fitted with potentially lethal gas water heaters, soldafter between April 4, 2018 and September 25, It happened officers from Mudgeeraba identified 2019 a vehicle of interest that was thought to have been involved in recent property offences in Robina and "As inspectionThat rates have slow we would Broadbeach. led to astarted searchto warrant being like to once remind all consumers whowhere own a executed at again the Mudgeeraba caravan park, Suburban heater to check tosite see if their serial numerous water tools and construction equipment were number is affected," the company said. "If affected, found. Police also allegedly located two syringes and a it's imperative you register your water heater and plastic water pipe. vehicle via our online form to obtain a work order for inspection." A 45-year-old man and 23-year-old woman, both from Mudgeeraba, were charged with two counts of "We would likeintent, to remind all consumers with ancount entering with one count of stealing, one affected Suburban water heaterone thatcount you cannot of possessing tainted property, of receiving operate the unit on gas until a passed inspection tainted property, one count of wilful damage and three has been Some water heaters might leak counts of completed. drug possession. carbon monoxide into the RV's interior, which could lead to serious injury or death."

“Good morning to all our friends and supporters. Your donations are being well spent. “Excellent news: Following further hearings, provisional orders have been handed down until such time as a full hearing is held, which could be some time, due to the current circumstances. “The Orders: Everybody gets their land and buildings back and all are to be given quiet enjoyment of their Affected model SW6PA, SW6DEA, sites, no morenumbers threats orare bullying or blocking friends SW6DA, SW4DEA, SW4DA, SW4DECA and from visiting. To keep good faith, we will be paying SW6DECA. between 181315552 appropriateSerial fees, numbers which willrange be determined by an toindependent 193002648; expert. 183114087D to 191302511D I will keep you posted and when we 8183311827 get details. to 8190201139. For more information, click here. Bye for now, Rich”.

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NEWS

Cr Wendy Boglary with Lesley McEwan at the Wellington Point Reserve

Redland Short-Stay RV Opportunity Redland City Council in South East Queensland will call for expressions of interest from community and not-for-profit organisations to provide a short-stay facility for RVs. "It's important to note that such a facility is not expected to unduly impact on current caravan parks and council will continue to support and work with existing commercial campground and caravan park operators," Mayor Karen Williams said. She said the move followed finalisation of an Economic Needs Assessment (ENA) which found there was a definite need for, and clear economic benefits from, a shortstay facility for RVs. The ENA identified a preferred operational model and 20 potential sites on private and public land.

 "The RV traveller market has been identified as one of the fastest growing tourism sectors in the last 15 years and we need to ensure our naturally wonderful Redlands Coast caters for the needs of this market," the Mayor said. "These low-cost basic camping grounds are planned for short stays of three to five days for self-contained RVs.



"While the sites may generally provide base infrastructure it is not required that they include all the services of a caravan park such as toilets, showers, camp kitchen, laundry or kiosk facilities.

 "The recommendation is that it be a permanent allyear-round facility, and that council outsource the operation and management to a not-for-profit or community organisation, preferably one with 'branding to ensure confidence in terms of the standard of visitor experience. The ENA estimated there was demand for a facility accommodating between 20 and 25 RVs and caravans. "The assessment showed that even a small facility could attract an extra 4100 visitors to our region each year, spending an extra $130,000 with our local businesses and tourism operators," explained the Mayor.

 "These flow-on benefits could increase if the facility was managed by a well-known branded not-for-profit or community organisation on a site close to shops, dining and entertainment with good access to the bay, and a curated experience to tourist attractions on North Stradbroke Island (Minjerribah) and the mainland."

The council has developed a fact sheet to assist notfor-profit and community organisations interested in providing suitable short-term stay options. 14


TRAVEL NEWS

JABIRU AWD Off the Beaten Track

20 3


NEWS

Camplify Goes Public Peer-to-peer caravan and RV hire company Camplify today recently listed on the Australian stock market. Shares touching $1.45 on opening day dropped back as trading continued. Camplify says its growth is reflected in its financial performance, with revenue soaring nearly 80 percent during the last financial year. The company, which also operates in New Zealand, Britain and Spain, forecasts it will grow by 132 percent during the current financial year. Camplify founder and chief executive Justin Hales welcomed new shareholders to its register, saying: "We will continue to focus on growing our business and to deliver on our purpose of helping connect RV owners with hirers looking to head on an RV adventure." Camplify also revealed that trading was expected to "perform ahead of expectation". "The board and management team are committed to executing on the growth plan including continued Australian and international expansion, investing in the platform and the launch of new products to complement the company's core business," independent chairman Trent Bagnall wrote in the company's prospectus. 


RVs or retail outlets, but acts as "an intermediary" to link owners and hirers. It attributes some of its success to the COVID epidemic by helping to satisfy the sudden huge demand for the RV lifestyle. 



"Sentiment towards undertaking a caravan or camping trip has improved in Australia post COVID-19, with 62 percent of holidaymakers more likely to take a caravan or camping trip," the prospectus said. "By comparison, Camplify was seeking to raise $11.5 million by issuing 8.1 million new shares. It stresses that it differs from a city breaks, cruising and international holidays have all seen a reduction in sentiment”. traditional RV rental company in that it does not own 16


DIY

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NEWS

Temporary Jindabyne Van Park NSW's Snowy Monaro Regional Council has approved a four-month trial of a 75-site temporary van park/ campground at the Jindabyne Equestrian Resort in the Snowy Monaro. The chronic shortage of seasonal worker accommodation has been an ongoing and growing problem for many years and has worsened due to the pandemic. Councillors believe the trial will allow businesses, workers, residents and the council to assess whether caravan parks such as the one approved are a suitable solution to the winter accommodation shortages. The trial will end on October 4, 2021. Meanwhile, the council has passed a motion to reendorse the enforcement campaign against illegal camping in and around Jindabyne during the winter. Illegal campers in the alpine region have been accused of anti-social behaviour, littering, illegal dumping and having negative effects on public amenity as their numbers increase.

Booming Broome Broome is at the top of Western Australia's holiday "bucket list", according to a new RAC survey of caravanners and campers. More than 900 people who had either camped or stayed in an RV in the state during the last 12 months took part in the study.

 They rated Broome as their number one travel destination in WA, followed by Esperance, Kununurra, Exmouth and the wider Kimberley region.

RAC group executive (tourism) Tony Pickworth said people were lucky to live "In such a beautiful part of Australia", which offered diverse and unique holiday experiences.

 "The caravan and camping options are endless in WA with so many incredible holiday spots to choose from, so we wanted to find out the destinations at the top of everyone's bucket lists," he explained. "Broome was overwhelmingly the top choice for RVers and campers, and it really is like nowhere else in the world. Broome's tropical climate makes it the perfect place for a winter getaway, but it also offers an array of activities from scenic flights, camel rides on the beach and rich historical and cultural experiences."
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TESTED PREVIEW

AKUNA Get away from it all in style

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TASTED

Slide-On

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he Austral slide-on pod range is made in China, but the electrical and plumbing work is done at Austral’s facility in Queensland, ensuring Australian compliance. We caught up with the 4.2-metre truckmount model at the 2021 Camping and Caravan Show in Sydney. Truck-based motorhomes are usually Big Money, but the Austral slide-on alternative costs less – fully-fitted pod $65,000 – and means that the truck tray can be used to carry freight when the camper is at home, resting on its electric legs.

PODS By Allan Whiting of OutbackTravelAustralia.com.au

tare weight of 1720kg and was mounted comfortably on a Fuso Canter 4×4 tray-bodied truck when we checked it out. The display truck was fitted with AAV4x4 wide-single 17×9 wheels and Gladiator tyres.

The real-world payload capacity of a cab/chassis would need to be around three tonnes to cover the weight of the pod, plus a tray body, two people, full fuel tank, The base can be any truck with sufficient tray length, full water tanks, camping gear, recovery gear, spare payload capacity and provision of secure mounting wheels and tyre, and other necessary kit. points. The Austral 4.2-metre pod has a claimed dry 20


TASTED

The Austral 4.2-metre Pod

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he Austral Pod has fibreglass panelling over an aluminium frame and the floor is insulated sandwich with PVC covering. There are six opening windows and three roof hatches, plus a fly-screen door. Up front is a Thetford cassette toilet compartment, vanity sink, 3kg washing machine and separate shower. The kitchen houses a Thetford 152-litre fridge/freezer and 4-burner cooktop, lidded sink, range hood, smoke and CO2 detector, microwave and swivelling TV. An MP3 player connects to two internal speakers and two waterproof external speakers.

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TASTED

At the rear is a U-shaped, six-seater lounge with adjustable-height central table and above that is a queen-sized bed that raises and lowers electrically. Internal lighting is hidden-LED and there’s an LED skylight as well. On the roof is a Dometic 240V air conditioner. The electrical system includes 4 x 240V internal sockets, an external 12V cigarette outlet and USB, plus a 240V outlet. Mains power (15-amp) and water connections are provided.

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TASTED

A pair of 100W solar panels are standard, along with a 150 A/h deep-cycle battery. There are 150-litre and 50-litre water tanks, plus a 14-litre gas/electric Truma water heater. A single 9kg bottle bracket is provided. Outside are external shower, bicycle brackets, a powered awning, reversing and number-plate lights, plus 12V seven-pin-flat and Anderson plugs. Not bad for 65 grand! The Austral pod range is about to expand considerably, with models for utes and for the Iveco Trekker medium 4×4 truck. Other models in the wings have slide-outs for increased interior space.   23


PREVIEW

FUTURE FACING V

olkswagen has finally unveiled the all-new T7 Multivan, revealing a new path for its multifunctional passenger van (MPV). No longer a member of the Transporter family, the Multivan now stands on its own. It celebrates the newfound freedom with a broad range of tech, from semi-autonomy to plug-in hybrid power. The result is the future of Volkswagen multi-passenger vans and camper looks bright.

The future of VW’s long line of vans is facing a revolution, reports Robert ‘Bobby’ Watson…

In separating it from the Transporter, Volkswagen Commercial switches the Multivan over to the MQB platform that underpins a wide variety of passenger vehicles from the Polo to the Atlas.

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PREVIEW

T

he move kicks off a three-headed Volkswagen Bulli strategy that will see the T7 Multivan, Transporter T6.1 and upcoming ID. Buzz all sold alongside each other. The all-electric ID. Buzz range (this page) will include both cargo and MPV models with a totally flexible interior and full self-driving capabilities. Styling-wise, the Multivan finds a natural fit between the boxier T6.1's dimensions and the ID. Buzz concept's retro-future curves. Its bonnet gets shortened and rounded from the previous generation, while its raked windshield further lightens the two-box divide while improving visibility. Volkswagen does away with the oversized grille of the T6.1, replacing it with a smoother body-colour frontend with several levels of grille perforations. The new grille design pays homage to the smooth-faced rearengined Bullis of the past and successfully finds a middle ground between the ID. Buzz and Transporter T6.1. Full-width front lighting and classic two-colour body paint further accentuate the look of the new Multivan.

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PREVIEW

V

W leaves full electrification to next year's ID. Buzz and instead assigns a plug-in hybrid option to the Multivan for the first time. The "eHybrid" powertrain pairs a 109kW 1.4-litre engine with a 84kW electric motor for up to 158kW of combined output to the front axle. The Multivan eHybrid can commute through the city on zero-emissions electric power before going the distance with its gas-supported range. The 13-kWh lithium battery comes integrated below the floor, and the charging hatch is on the front fender. Volkswagen will also offer 99kW 1.5-litre and 148kW 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder front-wheel drives initially, adding a 109kW turbodiesel to the options list in 2022.

The plug-in powertrain runs its dual-source power through a bespoke six-speed DSG gearbox, while the other engines rely on a seven-speed DSG. The Multivan comes loaded with some of the latest tech, offering more than 34 standard and available driver-assistance systems. A highlight of the suite, allnew IQ. Drive Travel Assist combines adaptive cruise control and lane assist into a semi-autonomous ride that lightens the driver's load between 0 and 210 km/h. The standard tech features package includes lane assist, frontal area monitoring with city emergency braking, and dynamic road sign display.

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PREVIEW

T

he tech continues inside the doors, where a 10.3-in digital cockpit sits to the left of a 10-in infotainment touchscreen, the new DSG shift-by-wire controls between them. A head-up display is available optionally, as is wireless inductive smartphone charging and a glass roof. Volkswagen already detailed how it's axed the threeseat rear bench of the outgoing Multivan in favour of three individual seats. The new seats add flexibility in removing and rearranging seats into configurations from two-seat cargo van to seven-seat passenger van. The seats are up to 25 percent lighter for easier handling, and the two second-row seats can swivel 180 degrees into a vis-a-vis setup. With all the second- and third-row seats removed, the Multivan offers 3672 litres of cargo space in its standard 497cm long iteration and up to 4053 litres in 517cm version. The 497cm van has 469 litres of space behind the third row and up to 1,850 litres behind the second row.

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PREVIEW

O

ne downside of the switch from third-row bench to individual seats is that the Multivan loses the lightcamping capability it had with the folding bench that dropped down into a bed. Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles confirmed the loss, saying that engineers are working on a "good night" package to return comfortable overnighting capabilities to the Multivan's bag of tricks. The lack of bed is a shame because a multipurpose van with everyday driving capabilities, plug-in hybrid efficiency and semi-autonomous cruising sounds like the perfect vehicle for the hordes of stir-crazy neo road nomads currently gobbling campers of every style and size faster than manufacturers can build them. But full Multivan camper packages with kitchens and additional equipment should start showing up not long after the van's launch, letting road-trip and camping enthusiasts enjoy everything the new Multivan has to offer, including the longer floor rail system and new multifunctional table.

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PREVIEW

V

olkswagen plans to launch the new Multivan later this year. In the UK it will replace the Caravelle, but at this stage there's no news about arriving Down Under. Still, it’s the shape of things to come and proof VW is serious about hi-tech and hi-efficiency across its commercial range – and that’s a future well worth facing.

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PREVIEW

UPSTAIRS DOWNSTAIRS by Robert ‘Bobby’ Watson

German-giant Bürstner pushes the boundries with this B/C-Class hybrid destined for production in 2022... 31


PREVIEW

I

n 2019, Hymer impressed many with a groundbreaking Sprinter concept it called VisionVenture. Among the concept's many boundarypushing features were an inflatable pop-up roof, accessed by a staircase rather than a ladder. Now, Bürstner is recapturing some of the innovative glory of the VisionVenture, integrating its inflatable roof and staircase into an ultra-modern C-Class motorhome called the Lyseo Gallery, which invites travellers to, “Travel small, live large.”

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PREVIEW

T

he roof on the new 6.89m Lyseo Gallery definitely sets it apart. Bürstner explains that the model's pop-up alcove gives it interior space like the manufacturer's hard-alcove C-Class motorhomes, but with the sleeker drive form of its ‘semiintegrated’ B-Class vehicles. Bürstner's existing Lyseo motorhomes don't offer over-cab sleeping, using the compact space above the cab as storage. But in the Lyseo Gallery, that space transforms into a spacious bedroom courtesy of the pop-up Gallery Roof. In place of gas struts, the Gallery Roof relies on a different type of gas-assisted setup: A built-in air compressor fills the vertical wall chambers, erecting the roof as they inflate into shape. It only takes about 90 seconds to go from lowered drive roof to upstairs bedroom. Once raised, a pressure sensor continuously monitors the inner air pressure, automatically filling the walls if it dips below a preset level. Bürstner promises near-silent operation, but we'd have to hear it doing an 02:00 refill to believe them. 33


PREVIEW

W

hen I first saw the inflatable pop-top in nearproduction form I wondered what happens if you accidentally tear one of the walls? Will you be squashed by the falling roof panel? Bürstner says the walls are reinforced to prevent damage and leaks, and also claims to have arranged the chambers in such a way that it will not suddenly collapse due to loss of pressure. When Hymer first showed the inflatable roof concept on the VisionVenture, it pitched it as a way of increasing thermal insulation to create a more comfortable interior environment. Bürstner cites the same advantage again, stressing that the Gallery Roof boosts insulation by way of the air inside the walls while also holding up to UV light. And, of course, the waterproof material stands up to external moisture. Beyond the various benefits of the walls themselves, the Gallery Roof lifts straight up into rather than tilting like many pop-tops. This creates vertical walls to increase internal volume and support a second-floor sitting height of one-point-one metres. Bürstner adds to the appeal of the upper bedroom with a side table-cum-workstation, seat and device-charging station. And as mentioned, in place of a ladder, the Gallery is accessed via a unique staircase. Cabinets in the carpeted stair-treads ensure no space is wasted in the design. 34


PREVIEW

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ürstner's chic design continues throughout the rest of the interior, where its designers worked hard to create a true contemporary home feel. The design blends modern rounded furniture and fixtures with classic residential-grade equipment like wall lamps and a high-arched kitchen tap. The kitchen also includes a long sink basin with integrated drying rack, gas/ induction cooktop with retractable extractor hood, a pop-up coffee machine, electrically controlled drawers and a full side countertop. The Lyseo Gallery also includes a large rear bathroom and a spacious front dinette. For now, the Lyseo Gallery remains a pre-production show vehicle, but Bürstner plans to put it into production in 2022.

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READER

E H T N A V E V I OL

J O PR

3 t P T C E om.au

und.c rwayro

nothe

@a by Ian

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ow time flies when you are having fun! The original plan was that this project would take around six months from the first ‘action’. The reality is that it will take as long as it takes. If you are considering following the self-build road I’d certainly encourage it, as I am getting a lot of satisfaction as the project proceeds. I am also learning heaps as it goes, as every mistake is just an opportunity to learn.

“They never said everything would go smoothly!”

The key of course is in the planning, and I certainly did a lot of that before I committed – even if a great deal of it was in my head. You sort of have to think in 3D if that makes sense. Quite a few inspirational ‘spirits’ have been imbibed whilst sitting in the back of Olivevan as I work out how it is all going to come together. First you have to set a budget, then choose a vehicle base and work out your general layout. It is amazing how much difference there is between all those big white boxes on wheels. Then you should price your components and add a nice margin to allow for unplanned contingencies, that way you can endeavour to underperform and overdeliver.

It is sage advise to work top-to-bottom (not that I particularly did it myself). The reason for this is that you will hold up other stages if what you want on the roof is not locked in, as you can’t complete the interior lining or finalise wiring until this is done. 37


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Missions Accomplished

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o, what have we accomplished over the last few months? As can be seen in the photos, the windows are now in. I chose to wrap the side panels, al la the ‘Trakka look’ as it breaks up the big slab of white. I matched the wrap to the satin of the Dometic slimline windows as it helps them blend in. Yes I’ve included the obligatory compass rose on each side and a flash of colour on the bonnet – racing stripes – that is the frustrated artist and adventure seeker in me. Some much bigger rims and good quality tyres, going from 205/75/16s to 255/60/18s on genuine VW Amarok wheels that meet to the load spec requirements, has absolutely transformed the ride and handling. The 19mm composite board, with insulation underneath, rubber underlay on top, and commercial grade vinyl over that, all laid in a single piece (that is a funny time lapse video), completes the flooring. Wheel arches are boxed in too; one side has the Natures Head composting toilet vent through it, the other has the heavy-duty battery cable going forward to the vehicle battery for charging purposes. With the flooring down and all the insulation in, it is amazing how quiet the van now is on the road. Compared to the bare tin-box, anything would be an improvement.

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ran non-split conduit through every panel to enable all the wiring and plumbing lines to feed through, this also offers protection for ‘rub through’ that could short things out. The 12/240-volt water heater is set into the side panel, as is the water pump and plumbing on one side, to ensure it doesn’t encroach on garage space. All the electrics are on the opposite side: I am going with a full Redarc Management system and a pair of 200Ah lithium batteries, backed up by around 600W of solar on the roof. The slimline Dometic 155-litre fridge will keep the beer cold; the advantage of these modern 12-volt ones is that they don’t require venting outside, which would allow dust ingress. The Truma Saphir air-conditioning (bottom right) is now in place and it will take care of our hot summers. Water-wise, 143-litres of fresh and 52-litres of grey tanks are next on the install list, along with finalising the electrics, installing the Maxxair fan and working out all the lighting before I can move on to the rest of the interior.

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READER

What Hasn’t Gone Right?

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he first window I installed didn’t fit as neatly as I would have liked and seemed to sit a bit proud at the top. You have to pack the opening to a minimum of 34 mm to ensure a tight seal as the window clamps from both sides. I was a few millimetres short on the top corner. As the rain continued to pour down (and fortunately, before the final fitment of the interior panels), I noticed a pin-hole leak on that corner. So that was a remove-and-refit. I was about to cut the rear skylight in the centre of the roof, before realising that I wouldn’t be able to mount a surfboard on the racks and open it. The skylight will now be set to the side. I should also have run the electrical cabling before mounting some interior panels, as it was a challenge to push them through the conduit in some areas. I have also had to mount the fridge further forward than planned as it fouls a major internal structure, although this has resulted in a slightly larger bathroom as a bonus. Although it is still only a weekend and occasional afternoon project, we are making great progress. I am taking long service leave soon, so will be on it full time in July, hoping to hit the road by the end of August.

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READER

The Future?

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s to iMotorhome Magazine and the future – a big thank you to Richard and his team for all the entertaining articles and inspiration over the last four years. Okay, I know he was at it for nine and all credit to them; we came in late and had the pleasure of going through all the back issues over a four year period. What a great legacy they have left us, and a great reference to look back on. I can thank Richard for inspiring me to take on the build and I look forward to meeting up in person one day to show off my handiwork. I’ll bring the red! I am keen to keep you all up-to-date via the website while this is still active. If you do Instagram, I am still a bit of a virgin there, but please follow me @ olivevanproject. Or is that #olivevanproject? I’m happy to answer emails too at olivevanproject@gmail.com Hugo, Wendy and I wish Richard and the whole iMotorhome Magazine family all the best as their next adventures unfold. See you out on the road :) Cheers…IAN. 41


TECH

LITHIUM UPGRADE Battery power for practical off-grid living is the hot topic and our tech guru Warren McCullough has taken the plunge and moved into the 21st Century....

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TECH

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ith a couple of extended trips on the horizon, we have taken the plunge and invested in 2 x 120 Ah LiFePO4 (Lithium) batteries to replace our 2 x 100 Ah AGM batteries. Our two 100 Ah AGM batteries had a total ‘usable’ capacity of 100 Ah (50% of the total combined capacity), while each 120 Ah lithium battery has a ‘usable’ capacity of 96 Ah (80% of total capacity). So, we could have saved some dollars by replacing the pair of 100 Ah AGM batteries with just one 120 Ah lithium battery. That would have provided us with around the same stored energy capacity as we had

with the two AGM batteries, saved a lot of weight and given us the lithium advantage of steady and consistent voltage. However, it would have been a considerable effort and expense for only a minimal gain. And if making the effort to go to the well, why come back with a half empty bucket? By replacing both 100 Ah AGM batteries with 120 Ah lithium batteries (connected in parallel) we have almost doubled our off-grid 12V energy capacity, while more than halving our battery weight. We now have a total usable battery capacity of 192 Ah, compared to 100 Ah with the AGM batteries.

Taking Charge

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ithium batteries are relatively expensive, but they are not the only expense involved in the battery exchange. AC-DC and DC-DC chargers also need to be considered, along with the battery monitoring system. While some battery suppliers suggest that their lithium batteries can be directly swapped with AGM batteries without any other system upgrades, I feel that this may be more sales pitch than honest engineering advice. The battery management systems (BMS) built into lithium batteries may do a satisfactory job

of modifying the output voltage of an AGM charger to suit the preferred maximum charging voltage of lithium batteries. However, I remain to be convinced that a BMS is able to adjust the overall charging stages of an AGM charger's output to suit the specific charging requirements of lithium batteries. I would also expect that installing charging devices with a tailored lithium profile will contribute to a better long term outcome for battery performance and lifespan. A bit like feeding an athlete a diet of takeaway food – they will survive, but not prosper. My opinion only, of course!

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Our van was already fitted with a lithium-capable Redarc 1240D DC-DC charger. All that was required to activate the charger’s lithium profile was a change in the wiring at the rear of the charger – joining the green and orange wires. We replaced our AC-DC charger – a CTEK MXS 25 – with a CTEK M25 model that has a lithium profile. The new charger is exactly the same size as the old charger, which made for a very easy replacement. Even better, it auto-detected the lithium batteries and adjusted its profile appropriately.

capacity to supply a comparatively high continuous current – 100 to 120 amps. Connecting two batteries in parallel increases the continuous current capacity of the battery bank to around 30%-50% more than the individual continuous current capacity of each battery. Parallel Balance: Batteries in a parallel setup must be the same capacity and age as each other (even down to ideally being from the same production batch according to some gurus!). Before fitting the batteries in the van we fully charged each battery separately, so that they had the same level of charge when first connected. 

Providing a neat conclusion to the exchange process, a neighbour who was fitting out their van with a fridge for weekends-away surfing offered us $200 for the Battery Monitor: Our control panel console used a AGM batteries and the AC-DC charger, which was a preferred outcome to a trip to the local recycling centre. voltmeter to display the voltage of the AGM batteries. As part of the battery exchange process we fitted a more comprehensive ‘Coulomb counter’ battery monitor, which is required to measure the State of Charge (SoC) of lithium batteries. Continuous Current: This is an important consideration if you will be running 240V equipment through an inverter. 120 Ah lithium batteries have the

Other Considerations

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TECH

Which Battery?

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here are plenty of lithium batteries from which to choose, these days. While budget is always going to be a consideration, I tend to keep in mind that quality will be remembered long after the price is forgotten.

After much looking around, comparing pricing and spec sheets, our choice came down to two batteries: iTechWorld 120 Ah and Sphere 120 Ah. Both were around the same price and had appropriate specs – particularly relating to their battery management system, cell construction, cell balancing, and

Other Lithium Battery Options? • Don’t bother with the China Cheapies on eBay. Reports suggest that the published specs don’t always match reality. I expect they will end in tears or at least major disappointment
 • • Redarc (and other reputable brands) have 120 Ah batteries for around $2000, but I couldn’t see enough difference in their specs, when compared to the $1000 batteries (from other equally reputable local suppliers), to justify the cost


continuous current draw. We also considered a single 200 Ah battery, but the retro-fitting space availability was a restrictive factor. iTechWorld had an ‘Show Special’ promotion for AUD $780 (normally $975), which was very tempting. At around the same time we spoke with a friend in the caravan fit-out business who has installed plenty of Sphere lithium batteries and recommends (and supports) them, and could supply them for $800 each (normally $1029). The local support aspect tipped the balance for us to go with the Sphere batteries.

• • At the other end of the spectrum, Aussie Batteries have a 120 Ah ATLAS brand battery for $549, but digging into the specs they come up short in their maximum continuous current rating, at 60A (peak 90A). Ditto for VoltX batteries at 50A. These batteries will struggle with the demands of appliances running through an inverter.


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TECH

Cable Clutter

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s is often the case with otherwise straightforward projects, one thing often leads to another and the battery swap provided an opportunity to tidy up our battery cabling and connections.

The AGM batteries were contained in two plastic battery boxes. We have replaced these boxes with a sturdier and much tidier laminated marine ply housing. The cable distribution posts mounted adjacent to the battery housing provide much easier access to existing cabling connections, and will simplify the connection of any additional cabling in the future, without requiring direct access to the battery terminals.

We replaced the cables between the two parallel batteries with heavier and shorter cables. We also installed a couple of dual distribution posts adjacent to the batteries (Jaycar, $12). All appliance and charger cabling is now connected to the distribution posts, which The new battery housing also provided a solid platform are connected to the batteries with heavy gauge (2 B&S) on which to mount a new power inverter, in an ideal cables. These cables are readily available in various location close to the batteries. lengths in the battery section of your local auto parts store for around $20. Though for reasons unknown to me, red cables are difficult to find in local auto stores. Black and blue seem to be the popular colours.

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TECH

First Impressions Weight: The first and most obvious change in the new installation is the weight of the batteries. Quite amazing. The two AGM batteries weighed in at a total of 62 kg – what a difference when installing the 2 x 12 kg lithium batteries. We have made an instant weight saving of 38 kg. We will no doubt soak up that weight differential with other items – we have already purchased a flat-pack fire pit that checks in at 18 kg. I will be looking forward to a visit to the local weigh-bridge when we are loaded up for our next trip. Battery monitor: The State of Charge (SoC) of an AGM battery can be measured with a voltmeter, thanks to the relationship between the SoC and the linear decline in AGM battery voltage. This measurement isn’t practicable with lithium batteries as their voltage remains reasonably constant across their discharge range. A lithium battery may be 50% discharged, but still maintain a voltage of 12.9V.

To measure the SoC of the lithium batteries we have fitted a new battery monitor – a Coulometer – that displays the remaining charge in the batteries by counting the amps in and out of the batteries. I should have installed one of these monitors years ago (they work just fine with AGM batteries too). The monitor displays not only battery voltage, but also amps in, amps out, remaining Ah and the percentage charge remaining. No more battery anxiety – we now know exactly how much current each appliance is consuming, how much current is being returned to the battery from the solar panels, the alternator or the mains charger, and exactly how much Ah capacity remains in the batteries. These monitors are available online for around $60 from Amazon, etc, or from local suppliers for around $150. More details about the battery monitor installation soon.

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TECH

Discharge Period: The new battery monitor indicates that with the 110L fridge running on its coldest setting, the lithium batteries are discharging around 27 Ah between 6:00 pm and 6:00 am. That's around 2.25 amps per hour. During the following mostly sunny days (in autumn on the NSW South Coast) the batteries regain around a net 13 Ah from the 150W rooftop solar panel (with the fridge still running), creating a net 24 hour deficit of 14 Ah. I expect that this deficit would be reduced considerably during summer, but let's go with the autumn figures as a useful average number. The maths says that at 14 Ah net consumption per sunny autumn day, our 192 Ah usable battery capacity will power our fridge for nearly 2 weeks, with charging from only the 150W rooftop solar panel. Applying the same calculations to the AGM batteries, we would have had around one week of 12V power available.

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TECH

Re-charging: In theory, lithium batteries are able to re-charge much more quickly than AGM batteries. Lithium batteries can charge at a rate up to 100% of their capacity, while AGM batteries are limited to a re-charge current of up to 30% of their capacity. All good in theory! However, lithium batteries achieving faster charging depends on a relatively high rate of charging current. Maybe 50 amps or more: A bit of a moot point if your solar panels are producing only a small amount of current that doesn’t take advantage of the potential higher recharge current capacity. The reality is that with only around 6 amps per hour input from our 150W solar panel, 2 to 3 amps of which is consumed by the fridge, there will only be a small reduction in the recharge time of the lithium batteries compared to AGM batteries. With higher current input from the vehicle alternator or the 230V charger, the lithium batteries are likely to recharge more quickly than AGM batteries when these sources are generating current. This is especially true in the final stages of the charging period, which are quite markedly tapered for AGM batteries. The battery monitor indicates that, when plugged in to power, the CTEK M25 AC-DC charger is feeding 25 amps into the batteries. When the engine is running, the vehicle alternator is pushing 40 amps into our energy storage, even when idling. The alternator charge rate is governed by the capacity of the DC-DC charger.

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TECH

Appliance Options: The lithium batteries have given us the opportunity to install an inverter to power 230V AC appliances from the 12V DC batteries. We can now pull up for lunch and pop a couple of toasties in the sandwich press! Lithium batteries are able to supply a high level of continuous current, compared to AGM batteries – in the order of a continuous 130-150 amps when connected in parallel. The couple of toasties in the sandwich press for lunch pulls current at the rate of around 97 amps per hour, draining 5 Ah from the batteries’ storage to toast us up a treat. It only takes around 10 minutes of driving after lunch to recharge the current used for the toasties!

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TECH

Voltage: After testing the lithium batteries for five consecutive days and nights, with the fridge running and no charging other than from the 150W solar panel, the voltage hasn't dropped below 13.0V. After a similar period our AGM batteries’ voltage would have been hovering around 12.2V.

AGM batteries are able to be discharged/recharged around 500 to 800 times over their lifespan, if not discharged to below 50% capacity. Lithium batteries have at least 2000 recharge cycles if not discharged below 20% capacity; up to 6000 cycles if discharged to only 50% capacity.

Given the constant higher voltage, our fridge is likely to maintain a more reliable temperature over a longer period of time and will use slightly less current when operating at the higher voltage.

Hopefully the new batteries will maintain their performance for 10 or more years, so I will feel more relaxed about the high up-front cost. However, I am not so naive to think that there won’t be something bigger and better available by then!

Life cycle: The label on the new lithium batteries indicates that they have a minimum 2000 charge cycles, which will last us forever! Well, maybe not quite forever, but longer than the AGM batteries.

Links to more detailed information about batteries and upgrade options are available at CompactRV.net.

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PRODUCT

By Allan Whiting of OutbackTravelAustralia.com.au

Ultimate DIY Panel Vans... I

f you’ve priced a motorhome recently, you’re possibly still recovering from the shock. We’re not suggesting for a moment that the pricing isn’t justified in producing a skill-and-labour-intensive end-result, but there are quite a few of us capable of a DIY job. The traditional method for producing a box-shaped motorhome or caravan body is using a wooden or metal frame, to which metal or fibreglass (fibrereinforced plastic or FRP) sheeting is fixed externally and an inner liner of wood or FRP is fitted to the interior. That remains the process for many RV makers

today, but the road transport industry got away from that old-fashioned construction method many years ago. All the refrigerated trucks and semi-trailers you see on Australian roads have employed inner and outer FRP sheets bonded to internal, closed-cell plastic foam since the 1970s. Originally, those composite foamsandwich side and roof panels were bolted or riveted to aluminium-extrusion vertical and longitudinal beams, but in recent years, modern adhesives have made the aluminium beams redundant. 52


PRODUCT

There’s no need for any framing, because the sandwich panels have more than enough strength for automotive purposes. They’re simply edge-glued together. Parallel with the development of modern adhesives that now stick boats, aeroplanes and spacecraft together, has been the implementation of computerised numerical control (CNC) cutting machines. These precision tools have the ability to cut almost any shape, including window, hatch and door cut-outs, in FRP sandwich sheets.

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PRODUCT

  Once the plan has been completed in a computerThere are several companies capable of producing aided design/computer aided manufacturing program such pre-cut panels, but the most active we’ve come (CAD/CAM) the machine cuts it out of blank sheets across in aiding DIY people is Queensland-based with absolute precision. Floor panels are also CNC cut, StyroMAX. but are made of load-bearing composite material. This company has a planning process to help guide All the panels needed to make a camper trailer, your design to real-world practicality, including precaravan or motorhome body can be produced to fitted wiring and plumbing conduits. StyroMAX has plan in a matter of minutes. Mind you, it’ll take more also filmed many videos that show how the assembly than a couple of minutes to put the resulting flat pack process should be carried out, as well as detailed together, plus put in the pre-cut interior furniture and videos covering fit out, window, hatch and door fittings, but that’s where the fun and the savings are! installation.

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PRODUCT

StyroMAX use top-quality Dow Styrofoam (rigid extruded polystyrene) as a core and lightweight European FRP sheeting. This combination offers industry leading strength to weight ratios, the company says. Dow’s Styrofoam is closed-cell, so it resists water and moisture penetration. It’s also a high-performance insulator, as its use in fridge truck bodies proves. The StryoMAX panels are also UV stable, thanks to a top layer gelcoat that improves UV light and weathering resistance and they’re also easy to clean. Car wash and household cleaners can be used.

Curved roof panelling can be done by a special ‘routing’ process that lays successive grooves on the inner face of the panel that need to be curved. It can then be bent to the required radius before assembly, when the grooving is covered by an impermeable plastic sheet. In addition, RV-type entry doors, service doors, hatches and windows are available. Kits come with the required amount of Henkel Terostat MS939 adhesive for the build and there’s full back-up and support. Also, accident repair gel coat is always available.

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TRAVELTOWNS RV FRIENDLY

CMCA

RV Friendly Towns image: Joey Csunyo

he RV Friendly program is a Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia Limited (CMCA) initiative aimed at assisting RV travellers as they journey throughout this wonderful country.

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will be provided for them that may not be available in other centres, and they will have access to a safe place to stay overnight and possibly for a longer period.

An RV Friendly Town (RVFT) is one that provides a certain number of amenities and a certain level of services for these travellers.

On the following pages are this issue’s featured RV Friendly towns. If possible please include them in your travels and support the communities going out of their way to welcome those of us fortunate enough to be travelling. Enjoy!

When RV travellers enter a town displaying the RVFT sign they know they will be welcome. Certain services

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RV FRIENDLY TOWNS

Lake Bolac, Vic

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ocated between Dunkeld and Ballarat and with a rich wheat growing and cattle area, Lake Bolac is an inviting town with a small population of approximately 300. Situated in the Western District of Victoria, the town’s primary attraction is Lake Bolac itself. The town centre is very inviting and features a collection of shops and a few historical buildings. The popular Lake Bolac Hotel offers delicious meals and the building itself was built out of bluestone, back in 1862. If you are looking for a fun outing, it would be a crime not to visit the famous lake where many enjoy boating, fishing and relaxing.

Lake Bolac provides RV travellers with services and facilities, making it a great place to visit or stop by. The Lake Bolac Foreshore Picnic Point Camping Area on Frontage Road offers RV parking at no cost. Lengths of stays can be negotiated, and access to showers and toilets are available for a fee (tokens can be purchased at the visitor information centre). Visitors will be able to locate potable water at the camping area, however the town’s dump point is located along the Glenelg Highway near the police station.

Tourist/Visitor Information Centre

Lake Bolac Tourist & Information Centre 2110 Glenelg Highway LAKE BOLAC. Vic T: (03) 5355-2204 W: www.travelvictoria.com.au/lakebolac/

Casual Parking (near retail centre)

Near Lake Bolac Information Centre on Glenelg Hwy

Short Term Parking

Lake Bolac Foreshaw Picnic Point Camping Area Frontage Rd Negotiable hours, no charge, showers & toilets (fee), bins, barbecue, toilets, water, pets on leads, covered seating

Dump Point

Glenelg Hwy near police station

Potable Water

Lake Bolac Foreshaw Picnic Point Camping Area Frontage Rd

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RV FRIENDLY TOWNS

Julia Creek, Qld

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ulia Creek is a very friendly town on the famous Overlander’s Way, approximately 650 kilometres west of Townsville and 250 kilometres east of Mount Isa. The town is at the centre of the Great Artesian Basin, which is one of the largest artesian groundwater basins in the world. If you are strapped for ideas on things to do, the Julia Creek Information Centre at the corner of Burke and Quarrell Streets has a large range of travel brochures covering Northwest Queensland’s Outback. Whilst there, have a look at the mounted Julia Creek Dunnart

Display: Found only in the Mitchell Grass Downs of Northwest Queensland, the Julia Creek Dunnart is a small, nocturnal, insect-eating marsupial that was thought to be extinct until 1992, but is now considered an endangered species. RV travellers will find short-term parking for up to 96 hours at Julia Creek RV Friendly Camping Area. Permits are requirement to stay and are obtainable from the Julia Creek Visitor Information Centre, which is in Burke Street. A dump point and potable water are accessible at the town’s racecourse.

Tourist/Visitor Information Centre

Julia Creek Visitor Information Centre 34 Burke St JULIA CREEK. Qld T: (07) 4746-7690 E: tourism@mckinlay.qld.gov.au W: www.atthecreek.com.au

Casual Parking (near retail centre)

Burke St, Julia St & side streets

Short Term Parking

Julia Creek RV Friendly Camping Area. Self-contained only, on-board-showers essential. Permit from visitor centre. 96 hr limit.

Dump Point

Hickman St; Racecourse

Potable Water

Racecourse; Picnic Area; Peter Dawes & Lions Parks Julia Creek BP

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RV FRIENDLY TOWNS

Morawa, WA

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he shire of Morawa is in the North Midlands area of Western Australia, approximately 370 kilometres north of Perth. There are public art displays, an extremely well visited coffee shop and numerous attractions to see and do in town. The historic windmill collection is the only large, public windmill display in Australia and the historic buildings scattered throughout the town tell a fascinating tale

of times past. Beyond the town boundary, admire the carpet of wildflowers, the colours of the broad scale agricultural crops and the Koolanooka mine. Short-term parking is available at Old Lions Park for up to 24 hours at no cost. Toilets, bins, and potable water are available at the park. The town’s dump point is located at Morawa Caravan Park.

Tourist/Visitor Information Centre

Morawa Tourist Information Centre 30 Winfield St. MORAWA. WA. T: (08) 9971-1421 E: mscvisitorcentre@westnet.com.au W: morawa.wa.gov.au

Casual Parking (near retail centre)

Prater St, turn off at the IGA/Post Office corner

Short Term Parking

Old Lions Park, Winfield St. 1 km south of town 24 hrs, toilets, bins, water – no charge.

Dump Point

Morawa Caravan Park, 50 White Ave. Big-rig friendly

Potable Water

Old Lions Par, Winfield St, 1 km south of town

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“No distance of place or lapse of time can lessen the friendship of those who are thoroughly persuaded

of each other’s worth.”

– Robert Southey

Image: Dylan Shaw

Profile for iMotorhome Magazine

iMotorhome Magazine Final Issue – July 2021  

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