Personally using a Renault Zoé since 2017, Delphine Lecointre was keen to promote another way of traveling in a van. For this, her husband has fitted out a Peugeot e-Expert van, available for rental since last June at Loutipi in Combourg (35). A good way to practice slow tourism to discover Brittany.
7 fitted vans + 2 roof tents
Created in December 2021, Loutipi made in originality : « More than offering converted vans, the company presents nomadic accommodation solutions. That’s why we also rent roof tents for two or four people separately. “. The material is designated by a name.
So Wally for one of the first vans in the catalog: “ It’s a Volkswagen Transporter T3 from 1989. It was the year the Berlin Wall fell, in Germany, in the country where this vehicle was built. That’s why we gave it this name “. Since then, the fleet has grown, with today 7 converted vans. There are two Renault Trafics (Gavotte with manual gearbox and Salidou with automatic), Mat the Volkswagen T5, Elios on a Citroën Jumper carrier, and Challengeur based on Fiat Ducato.
And then there is Yao: “ It means ‘On the way!’ in Breton. This is our electric van “. How do you recognize a company that absolutely wants to promote EVs? The way he presents his vehicles. On the Loutipi website, the Peugeot e-Expert comes first: “ We systematically present it to all our customers when it is on our site. Not everyone is ready to adopt it. It’s important to change mentalities without forcing ».
A question of legitimacy
To tell the truth, Delphine Lecointre arrived at electric a little by chance: “ Following a health problem, my husband needed an automatic car. We weren’t looking for an electric model but the opportunity presented itself to us. We wanted to take it ».
Since the creation of Loutipi, the idea of a trendy van has been present: “ As a user of a Renault Zoé since 2017, we felt justified in supporting the energy transition towards electric. However, we were wondering with which model. Because there was no converted electric van on the market. We wanted to take up the challenge ».
First difficulty, finding a base with sufficient autonomy: “ We calculated the average daily distance covered by our vehicles during the 2022 season. It was 124 kilometers, which is not huge. It is the fruit of supporting our customers in the discovery of Brittany. We have significant territorial roots. This is why we have formed a partnership with the Saint-Malo tourist office et the Brittany brand ».
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Choice of base van
Without imposing anything, Loutipi invites you to follow “ short circuits that allow you to discover what is interesting near you. The electric vehicle is very well suited to this, to slow tourism: taking your time. Just like the Volkswagen T3, which we chose with the thought of retrofitting it to encourage low-carbon stays. ».
The duration of rentals is not always the same throughout the year: “ In summer, it is one to three weeks. This allows, for example, a very popular tour of Brittany. Requests are shorter in the off-season. We therefore cater more for weekends of two or three days. The most popular routes are Cap Fréhel, and Mont-Saint-Michel in the neighboring region. ».
It therefore remained to find a base to convert into a van: “ The supply of electric vans is not yet that strong, especially with our desire to favor a traditional French manufacturer. With its battery with a capacity of 75 kWh, the Peugeot e-Expert is at the top of the ranking for autonomy. After transformation, it remained around 330 kilometers ».
For 2 adults + 1 child
Receiving the van was just a simple formality: “ The electric version of the Peugeot Expert was available more quickly than the diesel. We ordered our copy in September 2022 and could receive it the following January. We finally got it back at our request in March ».
It was a classic panel van: “ Yao is the first vehicle that we have fitted out ourselves. The fact of going on an electric basis is quite emblematic for us. We have therefore chosen complexity. It is a model intended for a couple, possibly with a child. It’s a popular format ».
Being content with this configuration had another advantage: “ We could have adapted the e-Expert for one or two additional people. Which would have required adding a lifting roof and other equipment. Their weight would certainly have had an impact by reducing the autonomy a little ».
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A first house layout
A panoramic view ; in a crockery drawer, salt and pepper; behind one of the cupboard doors the water reserve. The fridge allows you to keep drinks very cold, so appreciated when taking the interview with Delphine Lecointre at a temperature of around 30° C outside.
She comments: “ We installed a 135W solar panel on Yao’s roof to power this unit, as well as the water pump and USB sockets. It is connected to a 100 Ah lithium battery. The furniture was designed by the Exokit company in Saint-Brieuc. My husband carried out the assembly and adjustment on board ».
One thing in particular made the layout complicated: “ It’s all these curves inside. The Renault Trafic and the new Volkswagen Transporter are both more cubic. With them, the installation would have been simpler ».
The insulation of the vehicle has been taken care of: “ It starts with cork sprayed directly onto the sheet metal. The walls received cotton made from the recycling of old jeans. The visible parts have felt. A layer of cork was added to the ceiling and floor. The latter also supports a poplar floor covered with easy-to-clean laminate. ».
Carrying out a custom van conversion was qualifying, allowing the couple to continue this activity: Also domiciled in Combourg, “ the Yakavan Pays-de-Saint-Malo brand was created for this. The network that we have thus integrated has six agencies in France ».
Support for recharging
The level of support provided by Loutipi to its customers ready to take off with Yao is very high: “ The e-Expert van has been designed to take small roads and arrive as discreetly as possible, as close as possible to nature. We provide le badge de recharge Chargemap and show our customers, at the SDE35 terminal in Combourg, how to use it and download the application. We also explain to them that the latter is collaborative and invite them to leave a comment after a recharge to help the community of electromobilists ».
The training goes so far as to encourage people to acquire new behaviors in front of shippers: “ We teach Yao users not to focus on replenishing the battery, but rather to take advantage of downtime to regain some energy. So they will be able to reach a spot by the sea without too much constraint. If they go to a campsite, it will be a very slow recharge, but it will be enough. We provide the blue P17 adapter, in addition to the cable with the domestic socket and the one with the type 2 connector. Our electric van is also compatible with fast charging ».
The route suggestions proposed by Loutipi specify the nearby terminals: “ As we promote local and short circuits, free stops with farmers, breeders and artisans are indicated where it is sometimes possible to spend the night and recharge. ».
The first users
If it is mainly couples without children who rent the Loutipi electric van, it is not always for the same reasons: “ Some take it out of a desire to test and others when there is only Yao available. Everyone appreciates the driving comfort, finds the vehicle great and pleasant ».
There is, however, a major difference: They do not experience the constraint of recharging in the same way. Those who really want to try traveling with an electric van organize themselves for this. For others, it’s more difficult. This machine is in any case not suitable for crossing France very quickly. It is above all a vehicle that allows you to shine in the region. ».
For Delphine Lecointre and her husband, the move towards electric is already a success: “ We were always thanked for the time taken in explanations, in particular by alerting them to the possible penalties for leaving the vehicle plugged in for a long time. [NDLR : Elles s’appliquent par exemple au bout de 5 heures en Ille-et-Vilaine sur les bornes 22 kW AC, même en cours de recharge]. I have never had a customer call to say they were stuck at a charging station or for another EV-specific problem. ».
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Our interlocutor already has some interesting feedback to share: “ A mother with her son wanted to try Yao because she was considering buying an electric car. They went to Brocéliande with it, then to the Emerald Coast. She ultimately found using an EV easier than she initially thought ».
Among the people who took Yao by default: “ A customer thought for a moment and then made up his mind. He was delighted on the return, after having ventured to the Pointe du Raz [NDLR : En taillant au plus droit, ça ferait un minimum de 520 km]. Contrary to the opinions I had read concerning recharging in Finistère, he did not encounter any problems ».
A suprise : ” Someone absolutely wanted to drive a lot of highway miles with Yao. He completed 2,000 km in five days, relying on superchargers at the rest areas. If we want the stay to be economical, this is of course not the operation that we recommend. Moreover, we knowingly do not offer a formula with unlimited mileage ».
For one of his first rentals, Yao served on the team of Castels Tours, between June 1 and July 10. Around 3,000 kilometers were covered in this way, with 13 stages of 63 to 340 km, in as many campsites scattered throughout France, from Brittany to the Ardèche gorges, via Limousin and Burgundy. The operation aimed to offer vacationers activities based on respect and preservation of the planet. Thus the discovery of fauna and flora, tasting of local products, workshops for making household products or learning to grow vegetables, etc.
Gwenn Foy, the driver of the electric van, appreciated this experience and the driving comfort of the Peugeot e-Expert: “ I had never driven an electric vehicle. This is a first successful experience with Yao “. In order to maximize autonomy, she favored the Eco driving mode and avoided motorways: “ You have to anticipate, these are new habits to adopt ».
The electric motorist, for the duration of an event, was able to overcome the specificities of recharging: “ It’s different from what we know but very intuitive. Our first step was a bit chaotic, but with experience, we improve ».
Automobile Propre and I thank Delphine Lecointre very much for joining us in Cancale to carry out her interview and allowing us to discover Yao.
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