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Nissan x Opus and the Air Opus Off Road Pop-Up Camper Make the ex-Leaf Car Organ Donation Idea a Worthy Battery Campsite Cause

I start another mini-series of stories, this time “Life After Leaf,” of several things that can happen when you trade in your Nissan Leaf car, if not the tiny battery from a PHEV or from a smaller ranged BEV, to be repurposed or recycled into something else. In my quest to find electric campers for my social media base, I find this great caravan that uses juice from old Leaf batteries.
Posted: February 27, 2019 - 6:36AM
Author: Al Castro

As we continue down this road of the Electric Car Revolution to see more options coming out, many of you are choosing to move on from the Nissan Leaf to other vehicle options that offer things like more room, versatility, and especially range that the Leaf wasn’t famous for. And some of you often wonder what will happen to that car when you turn in the keys, and for those who purchased, what happens after the second or third sale. Over the next few days I’ll give you some insight as far as the batteries.

  • Ecology and market demand are creating a need for electric campers.
  • People are now looking to do things with an electric camper you can’t do with a gas one.
  • Electric camping is creating the need for both the electric vehicle portion to travel to, then along with caravan campers, to camp way off grid for prolonged periods using electricity for accessories.
  • With slow BEV development to market, consumers should expect makers to take care of the passenger vehicle market first before the campers.
  • The problem with the present choices is that the vans are designed for last mile/stop deliveries with very short ranges.
  • Mercedes Benz has both the eVito, then the eSprinter, but both have less than 100 miles of range, and both were designed for delivery, not long distance driving.
  • The next known full production useable all electric BEV van that would be the first to come to global market is the VW BUZZ ID van, but that won’t be until 2022, and probably for the European market first before elsewhere.
  • For Tesla in 2019 and 2020, and in the Twitter words of Elon Musk: “Priority list is Model Y, solar roof tiles, pickup, semi, Roadster.” He’ll entertain using van gliders (those are vans with no guts, the way that Roadster 1 came).
  • I predict that the US is at least three years away from seeing a car maker build any kind of viable long distance all electric vehicle that can be used as a camper with decent range.
  • The only other option is for aftermarket conversation or enhancement..
  • I’m going to show you what look like actually two separate Opus campers, Air Opus Off Road Pop-Up Camper and the Nissan X Opus. If they are not separate they certainly are optioned very differently.
  • The Nissan x Opus is the top video.
  • The Air Opus Off Road Pop-Up Camper is in the bottom video.
  • The Present Market

    I hear you, my social media base, especially my Millennials, and my peeps, your parents, the ones who sit between the Boomers and X’ers, who love these kinds of vehicles but want them to be green or greener. As lightening fast as the market is moving, logic dictates that the industry will first take care of the needs of the many first, before taking care of the needs of the few, to para-quote the late Mr. Spock. So unless Mercedes Benz surprises us with a long range eSprinter designed for this purpose, or a third party comes along to customize the range on one these type of vehicles, I really don’t see anything long range BEV on the horizon until around 2022 when VW gives us a new BEV Micro Bus. Until then the camper van market is woefully lacking a perfect or any kind of BEV vehicle up to the task. What I’m hoping for is a third party to come along and make mods for longe range to make off grid electric camping more viable. Be prepared to pay extra for this luxury.

    Until then, the only viable option for all electric camping is to use either a gas vehicle or an electric one that’s tow rated, to pull an all electric caravan camper. Ironically the Nissan Leaf was for obvious reasons never tow rated, but those tiny batteries that were frustratingly useless for long range many of you Leaf fans crave, are becoming more useful in some of these electric campers. This is where I can help you find options. Now I’ve been criticized for showing vehicles not sold in the US market, and for showing prototypes of all things, but too bad. Torque News isn’t only about the USA, as we have readers in other markets. Also, prototypes show you what is possible, what is coming, or what you may want, if you scream loud enough to want it. The only way that can happen is if a maker shows a prototype to get his head spinning when making it, then yours when you see it. Another thing to consider: this is the camper market. There are only really four large markets where this kind of activity is a money maker: Europe, Australia, and the Americas. China will come along when its per capita increases but until then, if they make it somewhere else about camping, it’s a matter of time usually before they find a way to bring it or make it here, in the USA.

    Nissan X Opus and Air Opus Off Road Pop-Up Camper

    The Opus is a for now a European market camper, the one shown on the top video I chose is really a prototype model, that uses reused Nissan Leaf batteries as a supply to use and accessorize the camper. Without using struts and poles like a traditional pop up American caravan camper uses, the Opus uses an inflatable tent head instead, similar to the inflatable kiddie playground devices our little kids use:

    • Displayed at the Camping and Motorhome Show, Birmingham UK this year.
    • Obviously because of the inflatable head, it uses an electric motor for the inflation/deflation.
    • Optional Max Gross Weight 3,300 lbs. Weight 1,764 lbs (800 kg).
    • Equipped standard with heavy duty off road suspension.
    • Equipped with a rotating flexible articulating trailer hitch for serious off road use.
    • Uses old Nissan Leaf battery packs reconfigured into a portable battery box the size of a concert stereo speaker.
    • The box slides out of the trailer’s tongue inside a compartment.
    • Stores 700 watt hours of energy with 1 kW power for accessories. Good for 1 week of camping.
    • 230 European volt circuitry to run the built in microwave, fridge, heater, 230 volt socket, 2 USB ports, and a 4G wifi spot for 10 devices. An old fashioned projector can play canvassed screened movies. Nothing mentioned about a stove but there’s one in the inside kitchen in the video version.
    • In the below review video that version has a pull out outside kitchen and fridge.
    • The below review video version with the outside kitchen allows a greater amount of room for inside dining and living space for two adults and for six adults to eat/play card games etc.
    • The pop up allows for two double beds.
    • There’s an outside shower system for instant on demon heated water.
    • Around that external faucet for the shower you can put a satellite bathroom with a separate private canvassed toilet and shower system for privacy (see images).
    • Recharging: with a long extension cord to an outlet, or use the optional 400 watt solar panel in two hours.
    • Starts at USD $20,877. Review version is $24,499, prices can go up to $26,000.
    • No word on production, even dates. I do have a review below.
    • You can start your screaming now.

    Photos are YouTube screenshots from Nissan Media and Trailer Life DIY channels. Images are published here and all under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, and news reporting.

    UPDATED NOTICE: I am so grateful that my publisher allows me the generous privilege within reason to express my opinions about matters related to the auto industry. I try to be judicious and respectful about the content. I ask you do the same in the comments section by refraining from inappropriate language and content. Please be nice, there’s no reason to get nasty, this is only about cars. The irony is if you came up on me on the street to recognize me I’d grab a beer with you and we’d talk about cars for me to thank you for being a reader! I may disagree but I truly do love you all, I’d take a bullet for many of you. And please keep in mind that the opinions expressed here are solely mine, and not those of Hareyan Publishing or its employees, including my staff colleagues.

    Al Castro is a security expert and a retired LEO who is a staff and opinion piece writer on electric and autonomous vehicles for Torque News.

    What do you think of the Nissan Opus campers? Please let us know below!