The Xplore Electric touring caravan reviewed.
The Xplore Electric touring caravan
We were keen to find out exactly how an all-electric caravan would measure up in use.
Would the system that switches off certain appliances to make room for others within the usual 16amp campsite power supply limit be tiresome? Would we miss a gas oven?
The all-electric model is based on the successful six-berth Xplore 546. The Electric is the same price as the conventional gas-applianced 546 and is 25kg lighter.
Inside the Xplore Electric
We tested the fan heater first and as soon as it was switched on it pumped warm air everywhere and warmed the caravan at more than twice the speed that we would expect of a conventional Truma blown air system.
The in-caravan cooking equipment is two electric hotplates and a fan-combination microwave oven. You’ll find that when you switch on the hob the fan will switch itself off automatically.
This is something you’ll need to get used to as switch the microwave on and the water heater automatically switches off. This is not a problem as you’re unlikely to use the microwave for a long period of time.
When preparing our food we valued the working space in front of the small two-pan hob – you can’t have that if you have a square gas hob.
We also appreciated the enormous kitchen cupboard under the sink and drainer. You can’t have that if you have an oven.
The double settee in the Xplore
So, is there anything missing from this all-electric model? Well, we would have appreciated an additional socket in the area of the nearside dinette and also in the kitchen.
The layout is identical to the standard 546: fixed bunks across the rear, offside shower-toilet compartment, nearside two-seater dinette that converts to a single bed and bunks, long singles at the front that convert into a double.
A television table divides the lounge from nearside two-seater table area. But if you want to use a television you’ll have to buy an aerial as there isn’t one on the caravan.
This caravan looks much larger than its 5.4m body length. It’s practical for a family because it gives two children their own space: the nearside two-seater table and those great rear fixed bunks.
The Xplore Electric is refreshingly different. It will appeal to families who dislike gas; there’s a lurking fear in some people’s minds about dangers. You get the advantage that you never need to lift a heavy gas cylinder, or go to the trouble of disconnecting it and replacing it when it runs out.
Insurance cost: £258*
*Caravan insurance cost based on 2009 Xplore 546 Electric valued at £11,395, fitted with hitchlock and wheelclamp. Kept on drive behind locked gates at HX2 7RZ. Caravanners over 30 years old, claim free for 3 years and a member of a caravanning club. Premium includes insurance premium tax at 5% and 10% online discount and is correct as of 20.07.09.
Note: All details correct at time of publication but may be subject to change.