Monthly Archives: November 2017

So you’re thinking of buying a camper trailer?

Camper trailers can be a great way to go if you’re looking to head out into the great blue yonder and explore what Australia has to offer. But if you’ve never done it before, you might be finding it hard to work out whether the camper trailer option is for you or if you’d be better off choosing another option.

camper trailer

When it comes to the great outdoors, there’s no lack of choice, and to a great extent it depends on how ‘authentic’ an experience you’re looking for, in other words how many creature comforts you’re willing to go without on your trip. If it’s for a series of relatively short trips, then you might be perfectly happy with a tent chucked in the back of the car. However, if whatever you choose is going to be your de facto home for a period of time, read on…

Here are your options, in ascending order of ‘comfort’…

  • Camper trailer
  • Campervan
  • Caravan
  • Motorhome

The first distinguishing feature between all of these is price – a nice motorhome can easily set you back over $100,000 but is as close as you can get to your own home ‘on the road’. One luxury motorhome – a German one we believe – even had a tray underneath where you could store your open top Mercedes roadster.

So here are the advantages of choosing the camper trailer option…

Advantage 1 – Cost

Caravans and campervans are of course less expensive, with the humble camper trailer coming in at the most affordable end of the scale – in fact you can get hold of a decent secondhand camper trailer for not much more than $2,000-$3,000, even though the top end ones can set you back significantly more than this. So the first advantage of a camper trailer is… price.

Advantage 2 – Easier to tow

It’s much easier driving a car with a camper trailer hooked on the back than a conventional caravan. Caravans, being bulkier and heavier, really need a more powerful car engine and rear vision is not as good as with a camper trailer. Also wind has much less effect on a camper trailer than on a caravan when driving.

Advantage 3 – Just the right amount of creature comforts

Camper trailers, although not as extensively kitted out as caravans and motorhomes, still come with some of those conveniences it’s nice to have on a roadtrip, such as a kitchen, storage room and beds that you don’t have to set up each time (and that are more comfortable than sleeping in a tent).

Advantage 4 – More waterproof than a tent

Particularly hard floor type camper trailers, which have a raised floor, so less in the way of rain problems.

Advantage 5 – Doesn’t take up the entire driveway

A camper trailer has a much smaller footprint than a caravan and is easy to tuck away in a corner when you’re not on the road.

Advantage 6 – You’re still a ‘camper’

Sometimes part of the fun of camping is just that – a connection with the outdoors. A camper trailer gives you the best of both worlds – the good bits of camping with some of those ‘little luxuries’ at hand!

 

There are a variety of different types of camper trailer as well. Perhaps the best option, if you’re still working out whether a camper trailer is for you, is to hire one for a short trip, or even hire different types so that you can compare them. Once you’ve made your choice, give us a call and get a loan arranged for your new purchase if you need one!

Image credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:JaycoPopupCamperClosed-2009-11-19.jpg

Who killed the electric car? And who’s reviving it today

Eleven years ago a movie called ‘Who killed the electric car’ came out chronicling how General Motors developed and introduced an all electric car back in the mid 1990s – the EV1 – and how the project failed and was ultimately cancelled. The movie doesn’t explicitly state why, but suggests that established interests in the oil and automotive industry and the government were not exactly in favour of a move to all electric drive vehicles at the time.

electric car charging

Although the EV1 had a pretty respectable range – 100 miles (161kms, still suitable for most daily drive distances today), it was nonetheless perceived as not being enough, especially as charging – as today – took a lot longer than filling a petrol tank. The other issue at the time and still a factor today, is that there was (and still is) no nationwide network of charging stations in any country to allow longer journeys.

All this looks like it might finally be changing. A combination of factors has made this possible, but perhaps the most significant is big advances in battery technology, so that today not only can batteries allow greater distances to be driven on one charge, the time it takes to recharge these batteries is coming down as well. And in some parts of the world (including to a limited extent Australia) governments are either subsidising or building the infrastructure needed to support all electric vehicles.

Two other factors are helping this along – firstly an increased awareness of the environmental impact of petrol and diesel engined vehicles, and secondly an understanding of the savings that can be achieved in terms of running costs (see our previous article – Running on the small of an oily rag) compared to conventional ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) vehicles. The Tesla S for example has less than 150 moving parts against a normal car, which can have up to 10,000. In a nutshell this means there are much fewer things that can go wrong and this is one reason why Tesla offers a lifetime guarantee on its cars. It can also ‘service’ its customers’ vehicles remotely via a type of software update over the internet – so Teslas in theory never need to go in for a service.

Tesla is certainly leading the way in electric car manufacturing, but it is also encouraging mainstream car manufacturers to take the leap into all electric. Of course there are already a few all electric cars out there, although the industry as a whole has so far tended to opt for halfway house solutions – hybrid vehicles that operate with an internal combustion engine and an electric motor.

2018 however may see this change, with a slew of all electric vehicles due on the market in Australia. Tesla is – unsurprisingly – leading the charge with their new ‘affordable’ model, the Tesla 3 due in Australia next year. Likely to be priced at around $50,000 and around half the price of their current high end Tesla S, the 3 will nonetheless come with pretty good specifications – a 0-100 acceleration time of under 6 seconds, a range of 345km and a rapid charging option that will allow the car to recharge in less than 15 minutes – less even than the Tesla S which takes 30 minutes on a supercharging system to recharge the battery.

Hot on the heels of Tesla will be Hyundai, with their Iconiq model which will offer an all electric variant, price at around $35,000, the next generation Nissan Leaf with a rumoured 550km range on the top model (likely to be priced to compete with the Tesla 3), and Jaguar with their I PACE model, which promises a 500km range, a rapid charging option and a blisteringly quick 0-100 time of under 4 seconds – nearly Lamborghini territory. If you like the sound of the Jag you will have to wait until the end of 2018 and have around $120,000 in your back pocket.

Maybe 2018 is the year to take the plunge, get the car loan and go all electric!

Image credit: http://dahlstroms.com/