Brothers from France created the sCarabane, a self-sufficient caravan, exceeds all previous designs for tiny houses and travel trailers in both green technologies and the comforts of home.
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MobileRVing: The Buzz, Your Outdoor Lifestyle Insider, Written by Renee Wright
Innovative Caravan Makers Plan To Enter The US Market
The Rotation of The 'Traveling House' Is Its Most Interesting & Unique Feature, Says Clément, A French Energy Engineer Who Helped Create sCarabane
Brothers Clément and Antoine Chassaing from Gellainville, France, had a dream: To live off the grid in a small house that was innovative, fun and luxurious all at once. What they came up with, the sCarabane self-sufficient caravan, exceeds all previous designs for tiny houses and travel trailers in both green technologies and the comforts of home..
Going down the road, 26-foot-long space-age metallic caravan (what in the U.S. would be called a travel trailer) most resembles a rolling garage with an intriguing fisheye window on the rear. But when it reaches its destination, the caravan opens like a flower, extending a spacious porch and awning on one side, and a slide-out containing two bedrooms on the other.
The real innovations, however, lie above and below the main unit. On the roof, a curved solar mirror deploys to concentrate the power of the sun. A telescopic wind turbine rises vertically to capture up to 500 watts of electricity, along with rooftop solar panels able to generate another 500 watts. And underneath, a circular track folds out to allow the whole sCarabane to rotate.
The rotation of the house is its most interesting and unique feature, according to Clément, who is an energy engineer by profession. “At any time, you can choose to be well exposed to the sun or protected from the sun for the most comfort,” he says. The unit rotates automatically to keep the solar mirror directed toward the sun for maximum energy production, but can also be turned manually to face out of the wind, or paused to take in a great sunset or sunrise.
“The association of the rotation of all the house with the mirror on the roof is certainly the main innovation,” Clément says. “It produces huge quantities of hot water for the kitchen and bath as well as hot water for the washing machine, dishwasher and shower.”
Other green features include the rotating mirror bubble window in the dining area, and rose windows in the bedroom ceiling. All can be adjusted to let in more light, or keep it out. The Chassaings are working to add rainwater collectors, holding tanks with micro and nano filtration, and a recycling system to generate clean water.
The sCarabane sleeps six comfortably, with two bedrooms, each sleeping two, plus an additional sleeping area for two that converts from the dining area next to the bubble window. A complete bathroom, with shower and washing machine, and kitchen with dishwasher, propane stove, refrigerator and sink, are included in the design. A pass-through window opens onto the deck, creating a convenient bar area.
The entire folding and unfolding process takes about 30 minutes and can be done by one person, according to Clément. “We use a remote control to pilot the electric and hydraulic systems,” he says. “The foldable step is hydraulic with an electric assist but some easy operations are still done manually.”
But what about those quick overnight stops when you don’t want to completely set up the unit? Clément says that, even in the folded up state, you still have access to the inside using the small door in the front of the sCarabane and can use the extra bed inside the bubble window. The deck can also be deployed separately.
The unit can be pulled by a vehicle with 150 HP. But, Clément says, 180 HP might be more comfortable on a mountain road.
Under development since 2013 under the umbrella of Fillon Technologies, which financed three different prototypes, in July 2017 the sCarabane project became the sole project of Green Cat Technologies, mainly a family company owned and staffed by the Chassaings. .
“The solar curved mirror and receiver, the rotation system of the caravan, the telescopic solution for the wind turbine, and the bubble window are our own developments in regards to the green aspects,” Clément says. The company has patented these innovative technologies.
The Chassaings and their green-tech caravan made a big splash at 2017’s Dusseldorf Caravan Salon, which declared it the show’s “top eye-catcher.” The annual German show is the world's largest trade fair for mobile leisure, with more than 2,000 recreational vehicles on display, including a special section of futuristic campers.
When will we see sCarabanes joining the American tiny house movement and cruising U.S. highways? Clément says the timing is uncertain.
“We need more time to be ready for the U.S. market,” he says. “We are looking for industrial partners in the U.S. able to adapt the development to the specifications of U.S rules and laws, to produce and to sell the sCarabane in the U.S.”
The Chassaing family plans to travel to the U.S. in 2018 to meet U.S. manufacturers. Look for them at some of the country’s largest RV shows, such as the RVIA National RV Trade Show in Louisville, KY, the Florida RV Supershow in Tampa, or the RV Dealers International Convention and Expo in Las Vegas.
“With the sCarabane project, we aim to prove that off-grid solutions are fun, efficient and provide all we need compared to on-grid solutions,” Clément Chassaing says. “We expect that the sCarabane will be a popular option for places where permanent structures are impossible to build, as well as for recreation.”
A graduate of Franconia College in Social Psychology, Renee has worked as Travel Editor for Charlotte Magazine and has written three travel guidebooks for Countryman Press among other writing assignments. She enjoys food and camping.
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sCarabane, a self sufficient caravan using sun and wind to provide energy. It can rotate to follow the sun, the wind or your desires and is foldable within 30 minutes to go on the road as a standard caravan- Dimensions : 2.5m large, 7.8m long and 2.8m high.