Promoting selfbuilding vans & final cost

03 December 2022 at 11:44 pm

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​I’ve been part of the Maker Movement in Norway for many years, so for this years event I wanted to show off the biggest thing I ever built - the van. AM was in on it even though she’s not too fond of attention. Once I explained that the idea was to show that anyone can do this without being a carpenter or expert, she liked the idea. It was a long weekend, but great fun to meet all the people coming by!

​Since our project was so big, we had to be outside together with the blacksmiths and my friend Mike’s wonderful bike collection (with astronaut Frida Tørring riding the dragon above). Beeing outside was ok, but there wasn’t much telling people that our van was something more than just a parked van. After making some huge posters at the Deichman Library, people eventually understood why we were there and there was a constant stream of ppl wanting to have a look.

We had a huge version of our budget on the car as well, so people could see how much different parts of the build had cost. AM didn’t see the point of this initially, but as soon as we started explaining things, it was one of the questions we got from every visitor. We haven’t translated this to English, but you can see the costs here. The car itself was cheap, but getting it legal and registered cost a bit. The battery and solar are a significant part of the cost. We could have done this cheaper, but it’s a really good solution and we’ve never run out of power on a trip. The main takeaway is that about 3/5 of the cost is now embedded in the car itself. 2/5th of the equipment can be put into a new van if we wanted.

Several of the visitors had (like us) seen van life videos online and had thought about doing it but never started. I think we managed to convince a few that they could actually do it. Others had already made a van and were just curious to see how we had solved the layout puzzle. I think that our layout is somewhat unique. I’ve not seen anyone solve the seating/bed in a similar way and we’re really happy with it!

After two full days chatting to strangers, we were completely exhausted. Weather was “typical for Norwegian October”, so not very warm and somewhat rainy, but we had a blast and it was great fun to hang around with all the other Makers! Bitraf also had a stand at the upper floors, but I barely had time to see it. The Bitraf-sign that I made was pretty visible though?

The weekend after we got home, we winterized the van. Not much to do apart from emptying the toilet, the water tanks and detaching the battery to bring it in. It's too cold to leave it in the car over winter.

(added this retroactively since I’ve been working waaay to much lately. more on that on the main blog)