Ford recently announced something very cool: the latest version of its “Nugget” campervan. Like its predecessor, it’s a collaboration with Westfalia, but now it’s available with at least some electric range. Let’s take a look at what the van offers, and then discuss some ways they could make something even better for the North American market.
Introducing The Latest Nugget
First, let’s look at a short video that shows it off (more information and a longer, more detailed video are further down).
The new Nugget camper, created in collaboration with renowned camper converter Westfalia, showcases a distinctive multi-zone interior layout that sets it apart from competitors. The next-generation Nugget is made possible by Ford’s all-new vehicle platform, launching this year for the market-leading Transit and Tourneo Custom family. This platform introduces advanced design features, connectivity, and driving technologies. In the living space, customers will enjoy new premium finishes, enhanced functionality, and the option of a useful solar roof for easier and more enjoyable getaways.
“Nugget is about helping owners discover new places — and with the extra comfort, connectivity and PHEV option of the new model, they can go further than ever. Customers tell us they use their Nuggets as family cars, to get friends and bikes to the next trail, or as a more exciting kind of retirement plan, so we designed our latest Nugget to do it all,” said Hans Schep, general manager, Ford Pro, Europe.
The next generation Transit Custom Nugget will happen a little at a time. The initial release will be the Nugget Titanium series, featuring a tilt roof and a 170 PS EcoBlue engine with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Customers can place their orders from Ford dealers in August 2023, and delivery is expected in spring 2024. Additional models, including the PHEV option, will be introduced within the next 12 months.
Ford started with the new Tourneo Custom’s luxurious cabin design, enhancing comfort for occupants with superior craftsmanship and high-quality materials.
Easy movement within the cabin is a top reason why many Nugget customers choose it. With a new dashboard design and flat floor, accessing the living area from the front seats is a breeze. The dashboard layout is optimized with a roof-mounted passenger airbag. Loading and entering/exiting the cabin are made easier with a lower floor, integrated side step, and class-leading sliding side door and rear tailgate apertures.
For the first time, Ford introduces a PHEV powertrain in the Nugget, leveraging technology from the Ford Kuga Plug-In Hybrid — Europe’s best-selling PHEV in 2021 and 2022. The all-new Nugget features a 2.5-liter Atkinson cycle petrol engine, an 11.8 kWh (usable) battery, and an electric motor. This combination delivers a total output of 232 PS and enables pure-electric driving capability.
The new chassis features independent rear suspension, enhancing refinement and handling. All-wheel drive options cater to customers who utilize their camper vans for outdoor sports or seek added confidence in navigating festival car parks.
Safety was also a top priority. The new Nugget prioritizes safety and ease of driving, accommodating even those accustomed to smaller cars. It offers a car-like driving position, an optional eight-speed automatic transmission, and advanced driver assistance systems. These include Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control with Lane Centring, which reduces fatigue on long highway drives or in stop-start traffic. Additionally, Reverse Brake Assist and a 360-degree camera system assist drivers in navigating tight spaces.
Ford and Westfalia have greatly improved the quality and ergonomic features of the new model. They have completely redesigned the living space, creating separate zones for cooking, living, and sleeping. This unique interior design allows campers to move around the cabin, cook, and enter/exit the vehicle without disturbing each other, even with two double beds set up.
The seating area in the Transit Custom Nugget provides a secure and cozy travel experience. It conveniently transforms into a dining and sleeping area when parked. In addition to optimized storage and premium materials, Ford has included various features such as:
- Heated driver and front passenger’s rotating captain’s chairs
- Unique three-seat rear bench with optional heating enables five occupants to travel in comfort
- New audio speakers and USB-C ports as standard for passengers on the rear bench
An optimized kitchen with an L-shaped layout enhances the cooking experience. The inclusion of a practical new drawer fridge allows easier access to its contents and accommodates upright bottles. The integrated hob and sink unit now comes with standard hot water, while the decluttered surface design offers 20% more dedicated worktop space. Child safety is prioritized with soft-close latches and noise-dampening pop-out handles.
The new Nugget has design improvements over the previous model. It includes a flip-up mattress section to increase kitchen headroom while keeping the upper bed in place. The rear bench is track-mounted and has new controls for easy one-handed adjustment. A rear-mounted hot/cold shower outlet is now standard, with an optional tailgate privacy tent. The camping experience is enhanced with new features, including:
- Tilt roof with new self-folding fabric to simplify lowering the roof
- New integrated stowage locations for the standard outdoor table and chairs
- Practical roller blackout blinds replace curtains for enhanced privacy and simpler operation
The interior also has a variety of tech features, including touchscreen control panels, mood lighting, and smartphone connectivity.
The US Needs One Based On The Largest E-Transit
While I’d really love to have something like the Nugget, we need more of a “Chicken Breast” for the US market. Bigger families, longer adventures, and just the fact that we like things bigger mean that Ford should build one based on the larger Transit platforms that sell here.
Plus, this is CleanTechnica, and we’re usually a lot bigger on BEVs than hybrids. So, it makes sense to make one for the US market that’s based on the largest E-Transit with the biggest battery available. Not only is this more up our alley and better environmentally, but being able to boondock on all electric power would make for a very luxurious and fossil-free camping experience.
So, if you’re from Ford and are reading this, let’s talk. We’d love to drive something like this around the country.
Featured image by Ford.
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