Frequently asked questions

TOYOTA ALPHARD ECO EXPLORER AND PIONEER ECO CAMPERS: FAQS

Why hybrid and not a fully electric campervan?

When it comes to campervans we think it’s important that your vehicle is not restricted by the range of its power supply, which hybrids are not. The batteries in our hybrid Eco Campers never run out as they self charge, so they can go anywhere for any length of time – with up to 1,000 miles on one fuel stop in our tribrid version. There are a few electric vehicles advertised as having a range of around 200 miles. We road-tested these vehicles and spoke to some owners, who said they struggle to deliver more than 120 miles under normal driving conditions (ie, with heating, radio and lights on). While this is fine for city driving, for which they are designed, it is not suitable for long drives and getting away from it all – which is what campervans are all about. There are no charging points in rural areas and all the wild beauty spots where campervans belong.

How efficient is the hybrid Alphard Eco Camper?

The hybrid Alphard achieves about twice the fuel efficiency specified by Japanese 2010 Fuel Efficiency Standards, while also qualifying as an ultra-low emission vehicle, consuming fuel at the rate of one litre every 17.2km (in the Japanese 10-15 test cycle). This equates to around 43mpg. In our own road tests we managed about 41mpg.

Why should I get a tribrid Eco Camper?

The tribrid is the world’s first tri-power campervan and introduces the latest in LPG technology to create safe and natural gas power that works alongside the petrol and electric power options. LPG or Autogas is roughly half the price of petrol – saving you serious money. LPG is also much cleaner than petrol, with a fraction of the exhaust toxins. This makes the tribrid not only much more economical (at around 80mpg pound-for-pound), but the ultimate eco-friendly campervan.

How easy is it to find LPG filling stations and what happens if I run out of LPG?

The LPG systems we fit are self-starting, which means the LPG switches on automatically and, when you run out of it, switches back to petrol. Most motorway service stations and in-town petrol garages sell LPG for fuelling.

How long does the hybrid battery last?

Unlike purely electric cars which need to be plugged in, hybrids self-charge. Thanks to Toyota’s Synergy Drive technology, the hybrid battery is charged in two ways: first by the petrol engine, which acts as a low-emissions generator while stationary or while driving, and second, every time the vehicle slows down, by way of the electro-magnetic brakes. Provided the vehicle is moving or, when stationary, the ignition is on, the petrol engine will kick in and charge the hybrid battery when required – then switch off again. As long as there is fuel in the tank, a healthy battery will never run out. While cooking, the hybrid battery will recharge on average every three minutes and cook for a similar amount of time. Estimated average cooking times are around 10 minutes, requiring only two or three recharges. You can also cook using gadgets such as a slow-cooker while driving, preparing food for your arrival. The charge system is totally self-regulating.

Will the hybrid battery need replacing soon?

No. The great thing about the hybrid battery in the Alphard is that it is easily maintained. At the CampervanCo not only have we developed a quick and easy way to monitor the performance of the battery, we can quickly and cheaply replace any of the battery cells that are underperforming. We are so confident the batteries will last and perform well, we offer a five-year guarantee on all our hybrid batteries.

Are the base vehicles brand new?

While the conversions and all the campervan equipment are brand new, the base vehicles are used. These Toyotas are high-grade, low-mileage vehicles imported from the highly regarded used-car market in Japan, where they drive on the left, just as in the UK. The vehicles are imported via the CampervanCo’s import network through which we have been sourcing high-quality Japanese vehicles for more than a decade. As one of the UK's leading importers, we offer the best available low-mileage vehicles aged 10 years or older, anywhere. While this may seem quite old, the Japanese used vehicle market is at least 10 years ahead of the UK market in terms of equipment and technology. Japanese vehicles of this age are equivalent to two or three-year old vehicles in the UK in terms of condition and technology. There are many reasons why the Japanese market offers such quality: salt is not used on their roads; vehicles cannot be parked on city streets overnight (so most are garaged); MOTs are very strict and expensive; and more vehicles are traded in at the three-year mark than any other country, offering an abundance of nearly new vehicles. This makes the Alphard Eco Campers strong on quality and value – costing less than a regular used diesel VW campervan for example.

What are the dimensions? (sizes in mm)

• Load Length: 2440 • Outer width (folded wing mirrors): 1877 • Outer width (open wing mirrors): 2110 • Outer length: 4850 • Outer height no fitted roof: 1905 • Outer height with pop-roof (down position): 1990 • Outer height with hi-top roof: 2490 • Roof bed space (width x length): 920 x 2230

Is the Alphard Eco Camper four-wheel drive (4WD)?

Yes. The E-Four electric 4WD system provides better driving performance by using power from the rear-wheel drive motor to optimise electric power distribution to all four wheels, according to driving conditions. It provides additional drive power when needed, such as when accelerating from a standing start or on wet, slippery surfaces. This is not an off-road vehicle as such, but offers great traction in difficult conditions.

How clean is the petrol engine?

The hybrid Alphard qualifies as an ultra-low emission vehicle, achieving emission levels 75% lower than 2000 standards under the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport's approval system for low-emission vehicles.

Is it ULEZ (Ultra Low Emissions Zone) compliant?

The Alphard has a 4-star rating for emissions which are 75% lower than required by Japan’s 2005 Emission Standards, and 10% better than Japan’s 2010 Fuel Economy Standards. All base vehicles manufactured during or after 2006 conform to Ultra Low Emissions standards required, for example, by London's Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ).

How powerful is the petrol engine?

Developed for hybrid vehicles, the 2.4-litre 2AZ-FXE engine has a high-expansion ratio cycle that enhances fuel economy by improving efficiency and reducing friction loss. Additionally, optimum control of the Super CVT (constant velocity transmission) and front motor create low emissions levels. The petrol engine provides 129 brake horsepower (bhp).

How many people can the Alphard Eco Campers seat and sleep?

The Alphard Eco Explorer can seat and sleep five people. With its extra-wide Vari-Track bed, it can fit two adults and a child below and two people above in the elevated roof space. The Alphard Pioneer seats and sleeps four, two below and two above.

Does it have electric hook-up and other power options?

Yes. Both the Alphard Eco Explorer and the Pioneer have a high-powered leisure battery, a car battery and a 240v electric hook-up. The leisure and car battery are charged like any other car or campervan via the alternator and a split-charge relay system. A round blue plug to connect to campsite 240v electric hook-up is included in the package. This also powers an on-board 240v to 12v (AC to DC) charger that keeps the car and leisure batteries charged every time you are connected to campsite power. Another option is a solar power roof panel that keeps the car and leisure battery charged off-grid.

How do the induction hobs work?

Instead of direct heat, these safe, superfast electric hobs create an electro-magnetic field that heats the pan, not the hob. So they are not only cold to touch, but speedy and highly efficient, transferring most of the energy directly into the pan and the food. Our tests found that a pint of water can boil in around three minutes.

What other techy stuff is good to know?

There’s lots of design innovation to improve your driving and camping experience. Check these out: • Reduced drive resistance The highly aerodynamic body design along with reductions of the operating resistance in each part of the powertrain have reduced drive resistance and loss of drive energy, resulting in lower fuel consumption. • Insulated body The specially developed windshield glass reduces the amount of solar radiation penetration and the roof and roof panels contain an insulating material to reduce cabin temperature, which helps conserve energy when the air conditioner is operating. • Intuitive air conditioning system The hybrid Alphard uses the world's first two-way compressor with a built-in motor. The engine powers the air conditioner when it is running, and the compressor's internal motor powers it when the engine is not running, helping to conserve energy and provide enhanced comfort.

What’s the warranty deal?

As standard we offer a full year’s mechanical warranty on the base vehicle plus two years’ warranty on all our conversion work and fitted appliances. There’s an unbeatable five-year warranty on the hybrid battery (conditions apply, such as ensuring the battery is not overheated or left standing without charge for periods of inactivity). Our skilled servicing team also offers continued servicing support on all aspects of the hybrid components after this period.

Is finance available?

Yes. Our finance partners offer a range of finance options on all campervan orders. For more details, visit our finance page.

What is the road tax and insurance on this vehicle?

Because the base vehicles are imported from Japan, there is a blanket import road-tax levy – currently £270. Insurance varies according to age, driving history and postcode. Premiums are typically between £250 and £400, although these can be much higher if you live in the centre of a busy city, have just obtained your driving licence or have recent claims or convictions. Call us for details of good insurers, we are happy to help.

Can I buy this on the European continent?

Yes. We can export to all EU countries (transportation costs apply). Please note the Toyota Alphard Eco Explorer and Pioneer models come in right-hand drive only and that the country you live in will have certain importation requirements and rules that you must explore before purchasing the vehicle.

Can I buy this in the US or Canada?

Not yet. There are considerable import restrictions to vehicles into both countries that prevent sales there for the time being. But watch this space, we are looking at solutions.

Contact us

To enquire about availability please call 01324 489211 or email info@campervanco.com