September 2010


Peter's brainchild features on New Inventors


The unique EziVan folding caravan under tow

The unique folding caravan under tow

A caravan like
no other


A UNIQUE folding caravan which can become ready for use at the touch of a button is making its national debut this month.

The brainchild of 63-year-old retired civil engineer Peter Buscombe, the two-berth EziVan – which took three years to develop and build – will be featured on ABC television's New Inventors programme on September 8.

Mr Buscombe, of Canberra, told Caravanning News that at first he was "reluctant" to submit his invention to the programme's producers but had been persuaded by his wife and daughter.

"I was surprised once I submitted the application how excited I became about going on the New Inventors, and how much fun it all was," he explained.

"ABC certainly treat their contestants like royalty! I am also relishing the opportunity of national exposure, and hopeful this will help in commercialising the design."

He said the caravan's ability to automatically expand from its collapsed state to full size in just 60 seconds set it apart from other folding caravans.

"The camper trailer fraternity in particular can't believe the features of the 'van, and the ease of setup," Mr Buscombe said.

"Several I've showed it to would buy one tomorrow if such were possible. A-Van owners fall into the latter category ... they lust after the ease of setup, the permanent wardrobe, the expanding seating and table and the convenience of a wind-out awning."

Mr Buscombe said he had received positive feedback about its features, market potential and uniqueness.

Peter's EziVan on a 'shakeout' trip

Peter's EziVan on a 'shakeout' trip

"I am talking to one company about commercialisation possibilities," he revealed.

A keen camper, Mr Buscombe used a Topagee camper trailer for about 20 years but found it a "total pain" to pack up in wind and rain.

"Then the concept of how to design a small 'van with 'big van' space and features struck me, and started to evolve," he explained.

During its development, he spent six months building a sequence of 1:10 scale cardboard models to sort out the concept.

"Actual construction took around three years. If you converted this to ‘full-time’ activity, it probably added up to at least a couple of years of 8am-6pm seven-day a week work," he estimated.

"I don’t have a large shed, so building was in my driveway out in the open. Even in the drought, it felt like an endless sequence of stringing up tarpaulins to protect the work from the rain, then pulling them down again to get on with the building.

"I had done very little metalwork before all this ... bought myself a welder, went through a few angle grinders along the way (even set myself on fire a couple of times) and learnt a lot of new skills.

"A few friends gave me practical help at strategic times, and heaps of encouragement."

Mr Buscombe said it was difficult to say how much the project had cost him but estimated the steel and aluminium EziVan could be sold for around $35,000.



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