My wife Sue and I have been on a quest to find the perfect expedition vehicle for weekend trips around California, and for ‘someday world travel’. Last year, we checked out the Sportsmobile and Four Wheel Camper factories. I had heard about XP Camper on ExpeditionPortal (as well as an RV.net thread where the RV crowd was much more critical of the price point than the expedition crowd), and I had taken a video of an XP Camper unit that was on display at OverlandExpo last year.
There’s no doubt about it: The XP Camper is expensive. MSRP is almost $70k, vs. anywhere from $10k from a mass-produced Palomino camper to $30k for a Hallmark camper. So the first question is whether the XP Camper is worth the price. After visiting the facility and talking to the owner Marc for three hours, the answer is an unequivocal ‘yes.’ Marc started making XP Campers because he wasn’t satisfied with anything on the market. And for the right buyers, the thought that’s gone into his work, its design, and the resulting value, will be obvious. However, that will likely be a small niche of the truck camper market, which is already a small niche of the overall RV market. Marc is aware of this, and will be introducing a smaller camper called the “V2? for Tacoma-sized trucks in the future. UPDATE 1/14: The V2 is now on the market at a sub $40k price point. My wife and I have been testing one extensively. Learn more about the V2 on the XP Camper Forum, including videos of a walkaround, an updated floorplan and some other pictures.
We walked away incredibly impressed. Below are some in-depth videos showcasing the XP Camper, as well as a number of pictures with annotations. You can find a full photo gallery of XP Campers here. If you want to research your options a bit more, read this full write-up titled “Our two-year journey choosing a pop-up camper”
First, watch the video from OverlandExpo last year:
Sue and I took a tour of the Tesla Model S factory in Fremont, CA today. This is the old NUMMI plant. If you haven't heard the NUMMI story between GM & Toyota, and you're a car buff, there's a This American Life episode about it that's just mind blowing. The net of it is that GM tried to learn Just In Time assembly practices from Toyota, they built a factory together for Toyota to transfer this know-how to GM, and GM completely blew it. The factory shut down and was sitting idle after that fiasco.
When Elon Musk was looking for a place to build his new Model S sedan, he approached Toyota with a $50MM bid for it, which Toyota accepted. Why would Toyota sell a car production plant arguably worth $1 billion or more for $50MM? For the answer to that, you really have to understand the relationship between Musk and Toyota, which is well portrayed in this 2010 WIRED magazine article.
As a reservation holder for the Model S, I'm proud to support one of the most amazing entrepreneurs of our generation. What makes Elon even more amazing is that he's not only revolutionizing the automobile industry, but the space industry as well, with SpaceX... at the same time. Elon, my hat is off to you.
Below are a number of pictures and vidoes of the factory and the event, which was very well done.