Alpine is known worldwide for its car audio and infotainment devices, which it offers in 26 different countries. What it’s not known for is designing outrageous, groundbreaking concept vehicles – but from now on it will be. At this week’s CMT motorhome show in Germany, the company unveiled the all-new Cross Cabin Concept, a Ford Transit motorhome with a skeletal, Japanese-inspired interior optimized for both work and play. The bespoke work-from-anywhere RV supports two digital nomads with carefully sculpted acoustics, productivity gear that appears when it’s needed and disappears when it’s not, and an interior/exterior layout that invites passengers to get some fresh air, even if they are still working.
Here we thought so Winnebago eRV2 was poised to be the most groundbreaking Ford Transit motorhome concept we’d see for a while…or at least this week. We certainly didn’t expect Winnebago to be outdone by an auto electronics company, but Alpine’s unconventional design seems to push the boundaries a little further, despite the van’s more conventional ICE powertrain.
A concept motorhome isn’t quite as out of Alpine’s wheelhouse as it might first appear. An extension of the company’s RV navigation and audio business, it explores how the ongoing trend toward remote working could shape the future of RV driving and the products designed around it.
Alpine began interviewing new and experienced remote workers. What the company found was that the freedom to work from anywhere has created a need for a new breed of “work machine,” a more productive breed of recreational vehicle intended to serve as both vacation transportation and a workplace with better visibility.
“We started thinking about a new type of mobility space that would offer the comfort of a traditional RV while still providing users with a streamlined ergonomic space to carry out remote work wherever they feel like it,” explained Steve Crawford, Director of European Brand Business Division Alpine . “So a seamless crossover of functionalities for an ideal work-life balance… hence the cross cabin.”
It’s not easy to create a space that simultaneously encourages restful relaxation, inquisitive adventure and a dutiful work ethic, so Alpine sought Japanese-inspired functional minimalism and aesthetics. Its design keeps both work and life essentials close at hand, but stores away easily and neatly when not in use.
The entire interior of the Cross Cabin looks more like a sculptural work of art than a camper conversion. Instead of furniture with precise edges, Alpine lines the Ford Transit’s 264-inch (670 cm) cabin with a series of bamboo ribs, creating a fluid design that bridges the gap between structural furniture and aesthetic trim. Ribs hide shelves, lighting, and audio equipment within the larger aesthetic, and precise contouring at the rear carves out integrated vis-a-vis benches.
The benches work together with a convertible central table to create the dining area for four. The table top not only serves as a simple dining table or conference table, but also converts into a foldable, laptop-like workstation with a 32-inch display and integrated keyboard.
Reliable connectivity is ensured via external 4G/LTE antennas and a high-speed Alpine x Alphatronics Stream cellular router. Mastervolt’s lithium-powered 12 kWh 920 Ah electrical system promises up to three days of off-grid power for living and working with the help of the 1,200 W solar charging system. Also included is a 3,500W sine wave inverter and 50A DC-DC charger wired to the vehicle’s alternator.
The acoustic material used in the interior trim divides the cabin space into two discrete, soundproof work areas, one at the smart table and one at the rotating driver’s seat. Alpine also structures the sound zones with long, flat speakers that are unobtrusively built into the acoustic paneling.
Around the smart table’s main work area, Alpine reduces distractions without completely shutting off the outside world by extending its interior trim beyond the rear and side windows. Those who prefer to be closer to their surroundings can open the rear doors and even push the workspace outside via the extendable deck and movable smart table.
At night, the multifunctional rear lounge becomes a longitudinal bed. The table folds down and a series of cross braces connect the two benches to create a platform that supports the 140 x 200 cm (55 x 79 in) memory foam mattress.
The placement of the kitchen in the passenger-side sliding door creates an indoor/outdoor design that allows campers to swing it outside for al fresco barbecues. It is equipped with an induction plate, a pull-out counter that reveals the sunken sink and the folding faucet, a compressor fridge and an indoor extractor hood. Across the street, the wet room is located behind the driver’s side workspace/dining area and houses a stowable waterless toilet and shower.
Of course there is also an Alpine sound system in the driver’s cockpit, as well as a 360-degree camera and an e-rearview mirror. An 11-inch touchscreen combines conventional vehicle infotainment with the control and monitoring of the intelligent motorhome.
While we’re reluctant to say “never” so soon after an equally wild 2019 Hymer Vision Venture Concept motorhome gave way to production venture s With only a few changes, we’re inclined to think that Alpine has no plans to band together to launch anything resembling a production Cross cabin. However, the company plans to incorporate feedback into its next generation of RV product offerings. After the end of the CMT fair this weekend, the concept will be transferred to other events in Germany and beyond in the course of 2023.
Source: Alps Alpine Germany