How we transformed a Nissan e-NV200 Combi van into the perfect tiny home on wheels…
Buying a campervan can be a life changing decision, giving you the possibility to take off and hit the road at the drop of a hat without having to do any packing or meticulous planning. You can make the most of your free time, exploring new places whilst having everything you need to relax and feel at home right there with you.
Many people want to enjoy the freedom of owning a camper but don’t want to invest in a fossil fuel guzzler. The Nissan e-NV200 presents a genuinely viable eco alternative, with its large 40kWh battery, 124 mile range and spacious cargo, it makes a great base vehicle for an electric campervan.
Nissan e-NV200 vehicle spec:
- 40kWh battery
- 124-187 mile range on full charge
- Rapid charge up to 80% in 40 to 60 minutes
- Van or Combi version available with 5 or 7 seats & tailgate or split rear doors
- 1.22 metres between wheel arches
- 1.36 metres standing room
- 700kg payload weight
Our customer Tricia wanted an eco campervan that she could use for short trips away, visiting friends, attending events and occasionally for working remotely out in nature.
She needed enough power to keep her laptop charged and run a compressor fridge, heating so that she could use the van all year around, plenty of built in storage, a comfortable living area for eating, working and playing board games and a safe space for her dog Horrace to travel whilst clipped in to his harness.
We worked with Tricia to come up with a layout and design that would incorporate these aspects and together created a truly one of a kind campervan.
The first thing to arrange was the fitting of a pop-top elevating roof, this is really a must have in the e-NV200 as without it there isn’t room to stand up whilst cooking or washing up.
Tricia went for the Combi version of the e-NV200 which is great having windows all the way around the van, letting in plenty of light, with a tailgate door at the back. She also opted to have a tow bar fitted to give her the option to fit a bike rack at the back of the van at a later date if desired. She was able to re-home the rear seats and brought the van to us empty and ready to be transformed.
Deciding on the layout…
Before making a start on designing the layout we asked Tricia to sit in the back of the van to get a feel for how the space could be used and start to visualise where things could go. We positioned the main components inside the van roughly in position to suit Tricia’s ideal layout and assessed how practical it would be in terms of filling the water and gas, using the toilet and accessing day to day storage.
Once we had a few concrete ideas to work with Simon drew up some 3D plans.
Some layout elements can be flexible and worked out along the build process but it is important to nail down certain details right from the start, to ensure there is suitable space for cables, hoses and pipes to run, without clashing with furniture or restricting access.
After weighing up the options and deciding on a final layout that would incorporate everything Tricia wanted from her campervan, we were ready to make a start on the build.
We first cut out the ply floor, laying this in position with the main components marked out with masking tape. We then made a start on the electrics, running cables throughout the van to power the fridge, charging points, inverter, lights and water pump, alongside running the cable for 240V hook-up socket which we positioned under the vehicle charging flap.
Where the cavities in the body of the e-NV200 are very small we use loft insulation manufactured from recycled plastic bottles in the walls and doors, with a foil bubble wrap vapour barrier over the top.
To further help regulate the temperature in the van and make the space feel more cosy and homely we carpet lined all the exposed metalwork in a light grey hard-wearing carpet, secured with high-temperature spray adhesive. We then lined the floor with hard-wearing, anti-slip Altro flooring.
To get the absolute most out of the small space we built all the furniture to match the contours of the van. This presented its own set of challenges as the e-NV200 has many curves and unusual angles.
To keep the weight down we build the furniture framework from planed pine white wood and finish with a ply or reclaimed timber fascia.
We sourced some beautiful reclaimed pine flooring to build the kitchen cabinets and worktop…
We built a gas locker in to the end of the kitchen which is easily accessible from the slide door for lifting the bottle in and out.
We fitted a gas powered stove and heater in the van which are fueled by a Calor bottle. There are several options for refillable gas tanks, some that can be fitted to the underside of the van, however we recommend the Calor bottle when going for an electric camper as they are easily refillable. From our experience of living on the road, finding a place to fill up with LPG can at times be tricky and when you’re limited by the range available on your battery, the last thing you want is to have to be driving around petrol stations looking for somewhere to fill up.
To keep the electrics protected and easy to access we house them in a wooden panel under the bed. We keep the leisure battery electrics system seperate from the main vehicle electrics and power this via 240v hookup and a flexible solar panel on the roof.
Finishing the wood…
To finish the furniture we apply several layers of acrylic primer then sand back for a smooth, flawless finish, we then paint with a moisture resistant, hard-wearing washable paint.
Cushions and upholstery…
For the bed/seating cushions we use a standard small double foam mattress which we cut to shape.
We supply a range of high quality fabric samples from our favourite suppliers for customers to choose from and add their own style to the campervan interior.
We do all the cushion upholstery in house, shaping the cushion covers to perfectly fit the various shapes of the van.
We created a small dining table using pallet wood in a herringbone pattern for an added quirky feature. We fit this with a pivoting table leg made by Lagun to allow for the table to be moved out of the way for ease of access to the seating area.
Tricia wanted to be able to easily open the tailgate door from inside the van however the van does not come fitted with an interior handle, so we had one made up and finished it with a nice reclaimed timber surround, in keeping with the rest of the interior. To ensure safe travel for Tricia’s dog Horrace, we fitted this extending seatbelt connector to the bottom of the kitchen, making it easy for his travel harness to be safely clipped in beside the slide door entrance.
We are so proud of the finish we achieved with this camper and feel privileged to have been involved with such an innovative forward thinking project.
You can see the full set of pictures and a video tour here.
For more info about our conversions or to discuss a project of your own please get in touch, we’d love to hear from you!
Dee & Simon