We were just given an exclusive walkthrough tour of the new B Box from Advanced RV and it's like no other Class B RV in the marketplace.
It's also priced like no other Class B RV in the marketplace – plan on spending about $380,000!
It's called the B Box because, well, that's what it is. A Class B sized RV built in the shape of a box that is bolted on the back of a cutaway Mercedes Benz Sprinter chassis.
Mike Neuendorfer, the founder and President of Advanced RV, says he came up with the concept a couple of years ago when the traditional Sprinter van Class B RV chassis became hard to get because Amazon, which placed an order for 40,000 plus, moved to the head of the Sprinter supply-side list.
We've known Mike and his wife, Marcia, since 2012, not long after he started the company and we've stayed in close touch over the years. When we heard that he had a new prototype van ready to be seen, we wrangled an invitation to visit the factory in Willoughby, Ohio, just east of Cleveland.
We drove over late on a Thursday and spent the night in our RV in the parking lot so we could get a start bright and early the next morning..
The B Box is on the Mercedes Benz Sprinter cutaway chassis
Instead of the traditional Sprinter van chassis, the B Box is built on the Sprinter cutaway chassis – just the cab and engine and a flat series of rails extending back past the rear wheels. Those cutaway chassis are used by many other RV makers for Class C RVs.
Our current Leisure Travel Vans Wonder RV, for example, is built on a cutaway Ford Transit chassis. Leisure's Unity models are built on the Sprinter cutaway. But both of those models, and those from other manufacturers that build RVs on cutaway chassis, are Class C RVs.
Although Neuendorfer says the van chassis were (and remain) in short supply, Mercedes Benz told him the cutaway chassis were available.
But he wanted any new model he was building to be a Class B. This meant that whatever his engineers came up with, would need to have an equal footprint to the rest of the Advanced RV lineup.
So because the standard Sprinter vans were so hard to get, Neuendorfer started ordering cutaway chassis. He and his design team spent months coming up with different prototypes, finally settling on the B Box.
Here's our B Box Video walkthrough
Click the arrow to jump to our video walkthrough of the B Box. Then keep reading below for the details.
Neiendorfer goes over the specs in the video but what most impressed us is that has almost the exact dimensions of the standard 170-inch Sprinter van. I have to say, though, that in that respect it doesn't look like a traditional RV. In fact, as I told Neuendorfer, it's kind of ugly. It more resembles a delivery truck than a super expensive RV.
He laughed and said that was exactly the look he wanted. “We're into stealth,” he said. “That's what many of our customers want. In fact you could paint ‘Mom's Apple Pies' on the side of this B Box and you could park it and stealth camp anywhere.”
Because, as with all of the Class B RVs Advanced RV builds, each B Box is custom made to the exact wishes of its customers, the outside can be trimmed out in many different ways.
B Box innovations
The B Box is made of insulated fiberglass composite and foam and super-insulated. The 50-gallon freshwater tank and the 27-gallon black and grey tanks are all heavily insulated. Neuendorfer says that although they have not yet tested in freezing temperatures, he is more than comfortable calling it a true four-season RV.
B Box lithium batteries
The B Box has an enormous bank of lithium batteries that provide a 48 volt, 15.2-kilowatt hour power system. There is no solar on the flat and plain roof. Neiendorfer says despite its trendiness, solar is not that efficient, and having more batteries instead of solar panels provides the best setup for off the grid camping.
The batteries, he said, can be charged in about three hours by a proprietary alternator attached to the engine.
“We'll add solar,” he said, “if that's what the customer wants. But when presented with the choice of solar panels or a couple of extra batteries, virtually all of our customers go for the batteries.”
The B Box is roomy
The B Box has a higher ground clearance than most all of the Class B RVs we've seen, with at least 9.5 inches. It has automatic four point leveling and very high-end computer-controlled air suspension for a smooth ride.
The B Box cleans, filers, and recycles fresh water
Inside, what most impressed us was the very innovative water system. It can filter and sterilize used shower water, allowing the water to be recycled and reused. This repurposed shower water can also be used for the toilet.
The heating system is silent and hydronic, with heated wires in the floor. Neuendorger says the B Box is so well insulated that it can be warmed and cooled with about 20% of the energy required to maintain the temperature of a normal Class B RV. “This is so well insulated that we have to be concerned about carbon dioxide levels,” he said. “That's why we have built-in an air exchanger and a carbon dioxide monitor.”
Build time for the B Box is 12-14 months. The one we saw is the prototype but all over the factory, we saw other B Boxes in various stages of construction.
Mileage looks like it will come in at about 16 miles per gallon. The B Box uses diesel.
The cost is comparable to the rest of their Class B lineup. Figure about $380,000. That, says Neiendorfer, is the median cost for all of the RVs they make, meaning half are below that (lowest cost was $310,000) and half above (highest cost was $490,000).
Because each build is custom, there is no set price. If you want a B Box, figure it's going to cost you $380,000. Or more. Probably not much less because the B Box has so many high-end features and there aren't as many places to shave the price as there are on a standard van.
Neuendorfer isn't sure how popular the B Box will be. Because of the customization and cost of his RVs, his company's output is in the dozens rather than the hundreds and thousands as other Rv manufacturers. I think of him as a boutique Rv manufacturer,
But he has been pleasantly surprised by the reaction from his customers and, with little fanfare, several have been ordered and are in the production schedule.
He says he expects to be able to build it also on the Ford Transit chassis and perhaps some others.
“It's a box,” he says. “We think we can adapt it to many different platforms.”
Our take on the B Box?
With that price tag, it's obviously not for everyone. But it is very innovative. It's the roomiest Class R RV we have ever seen.
And innovation and more room in a small RV is something to be applauded.
Jennifer thinks it's cute. But I still think it's kinda ugly 🙂
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