It's hard to live without a toilet, but it is also hard to squeeze one into such a small space without some compromises.
Readers often complain when we show fossil fuel powered camper vans, particularly from a certain German company that sells Westfalia conversions. However, travelling across the country in one remains a fantasy of this TreeHugger, and these vans are remarkable examples of really efficient design for small spaces.
And while Sami has noted that electric vans are coming down the road soon, if you want any significant range, right now we are still pretty much stuck with gas or diesel. I really liked the VW California Camper that we showed recently, but it had one fundamental problem: It lacked a toilet.
Now Westfalia and Ford have introduced the Nugget Plus, built on a Ford Transit platform. It sleeps four, with a double bed in that ugly high roof and another double bed that folds out over the dining area. But most importantly, it has a toilet built in at the back of the bus.
The toilet placement takes a bit of getting used to; you have some privacy when it is in use because of a retractable screen that provides visual but not too much acoustic privacy, but when it is not in use, it is out in the open, essentially in the kitchen area.
Then there is a fold-down sink on the other side of the van. C.C. Weiss of New Atlas explains:
After spending a few minutes or more on a toilet bumping, splishing and sploshing in rhythm with the rolling wheels below, the first thing you're sure to want to do is wash your hands. With no room for a sink inside the toilet room, Westfalia did the next best thing in adding a small drop-down sink directly across from the bathroom on the edge of the kitchen counter. The extra sink serves as a more sanitary solution versus bathroom goers having to beeline for the kitchen sink.
While a toilet is a great convenience, surely one could pull over for a few minutes instead of splishing and sploshing, but whatever. Just having a toilet is a great convenience, even if that screen is not sound and smell proof.
It’s too bad someone couldn’t come up with a modern version of David Fergusson’s 1948 bathroom, where both the toilet and the sink folded up into the wall, leaving the space for a shower stall. Then nobody would have to look at the toilet or the sink when they weren’t needed.
Other parts of the Nugget are pretty standard but nice; dining for five, a good sized kitchen with a 40 litre fridge and alcohol 2 burner stove.
The Nugget is powered by a 129- and 168-hp 2.0-liter EcoBlue Euro 6 diesel engine, with choice of manual or automatic transmission. It comes with two 95-Ah AGM batteries and two 42 litre fresh and waste water tanks. CO2 emissions while driving are 183 - 169 g / km, or at 100 km/hr, 18.3 kg per hour; Interestingly, the average American couple emits 108 kg of CO2 per day between driving and living, so trading in your house and your car for a diesel powered van might actually lower your footprint, as I continue to search for a TreeHugger justification for this.
Compared to the California, it is more reasonably priced at about US$ 72,500, about the price of a condo parking space in New York or Toronto these days. Find a spot with a high ceiling and you could live in it. That’s also less money than many of the tiny houses Kim has been showing lately, and this one actually moves itself.
I look forward to when these are electric and self-driving, where you can go to bed in one place and wake up in another. It might make a lot of our fixed and immobile real estate superfluous.