Home » This Italian-Designed Camper Van Concept Expands Into A Two Bedroom Apartment And Wants To Replace Your House

This Italian-Designed Camper Van Concept Expands Into A Two Bedroom Apartment And Wants To Replace Your House

Pininfarina Future Camper Ts2
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In recent years there has been a shift in the RVing world. Fewer people are interested in driving a colossal Class A coach and small camper vans are in vogue. However, there’s usually only but so much you can fit into a footprint the size of a 20-foot van. Silicon Valley startup AC Future Inc., with the help of Pininfarina, thinks it has the solution. The AC Future Electric Transformer House (eTH) seeks to be the ultimate in camper vans.

As you can probably tell from the images, the van does not have a physical version just yet. AC Future debuted the van earlier this month at CES and somehow it escaped my radar until now. AC Future says that what we’re looking at here isn’t just a concept, but it plans to put a prototype on the road by the second quarter of this year before beginning production at the end of 2025. Also in the company’s plans is the eTH but as a travel trailer and the eTH as a standalone house structure.

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What Is This Company?

AC Future Inc., which also goes by A&C Future Inc. depending on where you’re viewing the company’s information, was founded in 2021. It’s a subsidiary company to A&C Kings LLC, which also runs A&C Technology Inc. Arthur Qin founded AC Future in Silicon Valley with the ambitious goal of creating a lavish and futuristic home on wheels.

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According to AC Future’s math, the average home in California costs about $600,000. AC Future, using engineering talent and parts sourced from China, wants to introduce an expanding camper van with all of the features of a two-bedroom apartment for $200,000. The company believes that by leveraging China’s technology sector, the company will benefit from cutting-edge ideas.

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AC Future has been operating in stealth mode from its founding. Aside from a couple of local news pieces, the company has been hidden from the public eye until this month. The eTH is being pitched as something more than an RV. AC Future sees this thing being a cheaper alternative to housing and as I said before, one day the company plans on just deleting the wheels entirely and selling this concept as a small house pod thing. Yes, AC Future sees itself as being one of the companies trying to solve California’s housing crisis.

The Electric Transformer House

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Photos from those local news reports suggest that the eTH has been in development for a while. Early design renders made the eTH look like something from a video game. Now, with the help of famed Italian design firm Pininfarina, AC Future not only has something that looks realistic but is still pretty striking, too. The joint press release from the two firms seems to suggest that Pininfarina didn’t just have its hands on the exterior, but the living space inside as well.

The eTH starts with a distinctive body. As of right now, the van is too early in development for AC Future to specify what kind of chassis will be underneath. However, the company says that its goal is to have the van be all-electric, though AC Future’s site also leaves open the possibility for an ICE chassis. Keep your expectations tempered, because AC Future says to expect the camper van to be able to handle “short-distance adventures.”

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The highlight of the van happens when you move inside and expand the vehicle’s slides. AC Future says it’s targeting dimensions of 20 feet long and 11 feet high. So, it’ll be about the length of a Ram ProMaster, but pretty tall. The company also expects a girthy loaded weight of 19,000 pounds.

A lot of this has to do with the slides, which extend out far further than the typical RV. In AC Future’s illustration, the slides contain more than enough room to contain entire rooms.  This render shows the proposed space from the second bedroom in the unit’s large left slide:

036 Pininfarina Ac Future Eth El

The rear slide houses a rear bedroom while the left slide has a second bedroom and dining room. The right slide expands the kitchen and bathroom space. The amount of space contained in these slides looks incredible and you won’t even find million-dollar Class As replicating this. AC Future says that when expanded, you’re getting 400 square feet of living space.

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If you’re wondering how AC Future gets all of this into a space that’s supposed to turn into a van, the interior pieces are collapsible and modular, from the seating to the van’s instrument cluster. That way, you can fold up the slides and still have a usable van for travel. It’s unclear exactly how this modularity is supposed to work, but AC Future sees the eTH being an apartment, the family RV, an accessory dwelling for an existing house, and also a mobile office.

For example, the van’s dashboard also doubles as a work desk so you can work from the road. This feature will apparently involve the steering wheel moving down and out of the way, too. The instrument cluster display would also turn into a second display for your computer.

029 Pininfarina Ac Future Eth El

Supporting the wild expanding slides is some ambitious technology. AC Future says the entire roof, including the roof portions of the large slides, will be covered in solar panels. The company claims that the van will be able to support 25 kW of solar power. Helping you keep water reserves topped up is an atmospheric water generation system, which AC Future says will capture moisture from the air to generate up to 13 gallons of water daily. The van is also expected to have Starlink onboard, driver-assist systems, and integrated entertainment systems. AC Future says these features, plus the still-unknown platform, should allow for a full week of comfortable off-grid camping.

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019 Pininfarina Ac Future Eth El

035 Pininfarina Ac Future Eth El

The renders show the eTH camper van with an arguably bland beige interior. Should you want a little more spice, AC Future says you’ll be able to customize your camper to your exact needs.

Of course, all of what I said above are what AC Future plans to do. I’ll repeat again that this company doesn’t have a platform, nor does it have projected specs on holding tanks or any other common RV equipment. For now, all it has is a bunch of renders with a Pininfarina-penned design.

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On one hand, I think this concept is pretty awesome. I love RVs with huge windows and a design that bucks the trend of a boring box to drive down the road. I also love the huge slides that turn a van with a relatively small footprint into something much larger. However, I’m not sure this is the solution to housing problems. Someone who cannot afford high rent is unlikely to afford a $200,000 RV, and those chances are practically naught for low-income people. I think if AC Future pitched this just as an RV then it would be onto something here.

Again, that also requires AC Future to bring this concept into reality. Hopefully, the company will do just that and put prototypes on the road before giving us a production version. Sadly, we’ll have to wait and see if this becomes something great or disappears into the pages of Silicon Valley history as more vaporware.

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(Images: AC Future)

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Erik McCullough
Erik McCullough
24 days ago

Whether or not things pop up or pop out, the problem usually causes a lack of storage areas for real life.

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
25 days ago

It will be quite interesting to see the actual drivable unit once produced. The first thing that caught my eye was the size of the windows: I can’t imagine that having basically one whole side of a vehicle this size made of glass(?) is going to work well.

I hate to be this way, but this is like, ‘nice render, bro!’

Captain Zoll
Captain Zoll
25 days ago

How on earth are those slideouts meant to work? The rear slideout appears to retract into the same space as the side slideout, unless they’ve got a patent-pending 4th-dimensional slideout in the works.

Vee
Vee
25 days ago
Reply to  Captain Zoll

Renderium. It’s all built out of the mystical element known as renderium that defies materials science and properties of volume.

Greensoul
Greensoul
25 days ago

BTW, the commenters on the car articles are so playful, bitchy, and fun. Commenters on these RV articles are way to dammm fricken serious about things and dreary. Lighten up folks please. Mercedes’ RV articles are rated by the amounts of clicks and comments to her bosses. Take a deeeeeeep breath and breathe. Air in, count to 5, air out. It will be OK, promise it will. Lighten up already

Freelivin1327
Freelivin1327
25 days ago

Wow…yeah of course it’s nice & dreamy but:
-It’s a ripoff for the size of a van no matter how nice or tall it is
(From a distance it looks as big as a Class A which would make more sense)
-RV’s would work for temporary housing to help but will never replace houses because 1)Most places don’t allow RV’s 2)Houses are an appreciating asset- it’s just not the same thing

Greensoul
Greensoul
25 days ago

This concept is nice .The Italians can dream big in RV land and deliver. I beg you to check out Italian coach builder CMC Caravan. Their big coaches seriously have slide outs with their own slide outs. A couple of two story models, too. If I were a rich man, Mercedes, I would send you and Cheryl to Italy just to see your review of one of their rigs. Alas, I am merely a cloth member of limited means. Just know I would if I could. I know some subscribers may cry, bitch, and moan about RV articles on a car site, but, they can bite my lily white ass. You and your articles were the reason I agreed to have money auto drawn from my account every month to help keep The Autopian alive. Nuff said and rant over.

Freelivin1327
Freelivin1327
25 days ago
Reply to  Greensoul

Yeah, I LOVE these articles and her very great writing. I hadn’t heard of CMC- those are so nice!

Greensoul
Greensoul
25 days ago
Reply to  Freelivin1327

If Mercedes were to see a CMC to review in person, every other RV made would be seen to be be the overpriced piece of crap that they are. I take back my Italian tour for Mercedes and Cheryl offer. If she were to see a true luxury RV like that, (CMC caravan) she might not ever write another article for us to read. Unless she’s talking about the crap quality of the other RV’s we mere plebians can buy. With that in mind, Italian tour is back on! Mercedes, dear, just kidding, My mind is strong, but the wallet is weak my friend, oh sooooo very weak these days.

TDI_FTW
TDI_FTW
25 days ago

The company claims that the van will be able to support 25 kW of solar power.

The real invention here is the ~50% efficient solar panels they seem to think they have.

400 ft² is roughly 37 m²
solar irradiance is ~ 1.38 KW/m²
total solar energy hitting the top of the “living area” is ~50 kW
25 KW (solar power produced) / 50 KW (total solar energy) = ~0.5

Defenestrator
Defenestrator
16 days ago
Reply to  TDI_FTW

It’s actually really easy. Just slight the “solar efficiency” slider further to the right when generating the render.

TDI_FTW
TDI_FTW
25 days ago

The amount of space contained in these slides looks incredible and you won’t even find million-dollar Class As replicating this.

I read this initially as the word “as” not plural form of Class A for some reason.

This led me down a rabbit hole that resulted in me learning that this is one of the VERY VERY VERY few times it is acceptable to use an apostrophe to pluralize a word in order to avoid confusion with other full words.

https://writingcenter.uagc.edu/apostrophes

Anyway, just thought I’d share this and try to help boost your audience engagement.

The camper van is a cool concept, I like anything with space utilization.

DaChicken
DaChicken
26 days ago

That looks like a cool drawing but I doubt anything will materialize the looks or functions remotely like it. And, 20ft long and 19k pounds. That’s a heavy mofo. My 24′ class A tips the scales at ~10k so that’s a lot extra weight for the slides and whatnot.

I’m curious about the 25kw of solar. Current panels produce about 15-20w/sqft so at 400sqft that’s only 6-8kw. Say maybe 10kw if there’s some non-living space that can be covered. Are they planning on providing enough controller capacity to stand up a small solar farm next to this rig when it’s parked?

Jj
Jj
26 days ago

Will it replace your apartment by becoming permanently stationary?

Lardo
Lardo
26 days ago

is it April 1st already?

Freelivin1327
Freelivin1327
25 days ago
Reply to  Lardo

You mean March 32nd?

Ben
Ben
26 days ago

Looks nice, but the actual product won’t look anything like that. For example, there are no seams in the interior where the slide mechanisms go. I’m also a little skeptical that they can pull off basically a full-width slide. I’m not aware of any RV slides that are even remotely close to that wide, and if they can actually do that it would be a pretty killer feature.

Also, compared to the tiny houses (which seems to be their target market) I’ve seen this is a) very expensive b) self-propelled, which doesn’t make sense for something you’re planning to park in one spot for a long period of time. There’s a reason park homes are all towables.

Looks nice, but I won’t be holding my breath for this one.

Edit: Did I mention that it looks nice? 😉

Last edited 26 days ago by Ben
Timbales
Timbales
26 days ago

https://images-stag.jazelc.com/uploads/theautopian-m2en/035-Pininfarina-AC-Future-eTH-El-1536×864.jpg

I hope that spot with the three flowers is where the replicator from Star Trek is.

Erik Waiss
Erik Waiss
26 days ago
Reply to  Timbales

I wonder if the toilet has three sea shells?

BOSdriver
BOSdriver
26 days ago

Fail. Trying to be too many things at once.

Dumping $200k plus into something that likely has way less lifetime usage vs an actual home/condo/apartment seems like a bad idea.

A home is almost always worth stretching for, and not just based on the dwelling but the actual land you are on, increasing in value.

It is rare that a home loses value, even in the short term but something like this will have a low value rather quickly.

Where do you park it? How is this insulated with what looks like paper thin walls and lots of glass? Land to park this on won’t be inexpensive to live on and also likely no where near a job that would be required to buy, maintain and park this thing. There is no place that makes sense in an urban environment that this makes sense – in what city would one flat level of these be desirable vs a standard 6 story apartment/condo building?

I admire the idea and taking a different approach to housing/marketing but this is a big no for me.

Last edited 26 days ago by BOSdriver
Ben
Ben
26 days ago
Reply to  BOSdriver

Where do you park it? … Land to park this on won’t be inexpensive to live on

This tends to get glossed over when people talk about tiny houses (which is basically what this is). Very often the people living in these are mooching off someone else’s land

Freelivin1327
Freelivin1327
25 days ago
Reply to  Ben

Yup, and there are places that don’t allow tiny houses even on land. Although there places that allow it and even just RV’s on a plot of land that you buy but it’s usually a ways away from city/jobs

Vee
Vee
25 days ago
Reply to  Ben

Land is often cheaper than whatever materials are used to build the tiny house considering most tiny houses go into rural areas.

The comedy comes in due to RV absolutely being unable work in said rural areas, because you can’t dig a septic tank or water well and have it work with their water systems without extensive modifications that destroy any savings you would’ve had versus building a tiny house in the first place.

Strangek
Strangek
26 days ago

Let’s say the wife and I sell our house and go with something like this instead. Where do you park it? Presumably, if it’s your fulltime living quarters, you still need power, water, sewage, waste management, etc…KOA?

Clark B
Clark B
26 days ago

If I had one of these, I would paint it TARDIS blue and have entirely too much fun telling people it is bigger on the inside.

OverlandingSprinter
OverlandingSprinter
26 days ago

one day the company plans on just deleting the wheels entirely and selling this concept as a small house pod thing. Yes, AC Future sees itself as being one of the companies trying to solve California’s housing crisis.

People in the Bay Area already live in RVs parked on the streets. I’m no urban planner, but I think single-family living pods in areas with astronomical land prices is not the best solution. Maybe I lack imagination.

As an A-class RV, this Pininfarina design is quite eye-catching and innovative. The dashboard/desk is clever, although the windshield will need to be shaded when parked to be useful.

ES
ES
26 days ago

Ah, but it’s a van, so park facing north for the shaded desk. Hmm. I like sunrises and sunsets. i could get up in the middle of the night, every night, and turn it around so i could see both through the bedroom window.

Black Peter
Black Peter
26 days ago

No, I think that’s a legitimate criticism, unless these can be stacked 20 high and theres an optional elevator.

Spartanjohn113
Spartanjohn113
26 days ago
Reply to  Black Peter

So…basically the slums from Ready Player One?

Black Peter
Black Peter
26 days ago
Reply to  Spartanjohn113

yup.. I almost thought shipping containers were going to make that true.. I mean SciFi has always endeavored to extrapolate from the present.

BunkyTheMelon
BunkyTheMelon
26 days ago

Nothing gets me all excited about a product more than the company having three different names, an LLC, and a bunch of renders!

Where do I sign?!?

Chronometric
Chronometric
26 days ago

Translate AC as Faraday.

Soso Tsundere
Soso Tsundere
26 days ago

Those are some bold claims, especially the atmospheric water condenser claim (those things tend to be super pricey, the size of a residential AC unit, and power hogs, unless you want 1-3 gallon passive capture units). I take it for a given that the pop out walls are going to be super thin, too. They look like fabric.

Maybe they’ll eventually deliver an interesting RV, but for housing Boxabl seems more reasonable and deliverable.

Pupmeow
Pupmeow
26 days ago
Reply to  Soso Tsundere

Now looking at Boxabl’s website fantasizing about a future family vacation compound up north …

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