Why MyBusHotel became Bemyvan with the Ram ProMaster platform
A year after the start of the pandemic, I spoke with MyBusHotel co-founder Paul Aubert about converting old school buses into European hotel-style digital nomad homes. Throughout 2021, off-roading, overlanding and #vanlife continued to explode in popularity, so when I visited Las Vegas for SEMA I made sure to set aside time to visit the MyBusHotel facilities and hopefully lead one of their creations.
But I arrived in the midst of a massive rebranding effort, as MyBusHotel morphed into Bemyvan with a strong pivot to the Ram ProMaster platform in place of the old Chevrolet school buses. With a new name for the company officially announced, Aubert hopes to continue to develop Bemyvan and bring a unique twist to the digital lifestyle made possible (and popular) by social media and remote work opportunities.
Evolution of demand throughout the pandemic
When we spoke in January 2021, Aubert and his fellow Frenchmen, Benoit Lafond and Antoine Alberteau, were on the cusp of their first van projects. And at the time, he wondered aloud if ProMaster vans could possibly exceed the demand for full-size buses.
âWe have the school bus which is a very bright iconic vehicle,â Aubert said, âThe ProMaster is more for people who want a very, very small vehicle and who want to be hidden away and don’t want to show the outside world that it is. there is something in the van. So now we will have two markets, and I guess we will know in a year which is better!
It turns out that three models of minivans called B-Home, B-Adventure and B-Digital drastically increased MyBusHotel’s customer base, to the point that a rebranding became necessary. From a business standpoint, leaving behind the very buses that helped MyBusHotel build this customer base in the first place meant that there was no need to stock up on old chassis, no longer worry about rust or reliability, and less hassle to adapt to different school bus configurations released over the years. .
Benefits of the Ram ProMaster Platform
The Ram ProMaster, on the other hand, offers a lot more scalability than school buses. Finding the Ram vans still requires a bit of work due to supply chain issues, but Aubert et al will be happy to convert vans customers already own, while helping find new ones.
I recently drove a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter converted by Airstream to the Interstate 24X, which proved surprisingly easy to drive, but although the ProMaster platform is smaller overall – much shorter in length and height – it is also wider, which allows Bemyvan to save space. by installing a bed platform transversely to the rear measuring 6’6 “long and 4’8” wide. And of course, the Ram costs a lot less than a Sprinter and even its other main competitor, the Ford Transit, with a raised roof from the 2021 model year 2500 sticker $ 36,700.
However, the ProMaster leaves Aubert wanting more, especially all-wheel drive and a bit more ground clearance.
Whether Stellantis (nÃ©e Fiat-Chrysler) starts building an all-wheel-drive or four-wheel drive ProMaster remains a mystery. In the meantime, Bemyvan’s small team will continue to develop its constructions. As I walked through the warehouse, I watched the wood, metal, electrical components, and plumbing come in at different stages of the installation. The first steps include stripping the interior behind the two front seats, cutting holes for additional windows, adding wool insulation, and routing the wires and pipes for the shower, sink. , refrigerator, microwave, etc. Handcrafted woodwork, cabinetry, and flooring all fit in later along the way.
Bemyvan customers are still showing no signs of wanting sunroofs, sunroofs, or rooftop tents, but Aubert believes they can figure out those details if a customer decides to take their van further. In the meantime, any exterior accessories such as bike racks or surf racks designed for the ProMaster are still working fine.
Influencers jumping on board
Aubert introduced me to a few vans commissioned by Instagram influencers and rental companies, both of which have a specific set of requirements for their custom builds. Lighter-colored woods and tiling create a more photogenic interior – the sparkle of a Ram, if you will – while keeping the interior space more open allows for additional camera angles. Additionally, Bemyvan can include indoor and outdoor showers when that west coast sunset seems too good to be left out.
Electronics and lifestyle changes
Hidden under the interior surfaces inspired by European hotels, Bemyvan offers all the amenities that allow long-term living off the grid. The small Dometic refrigerator and lighting system can run on 12 volts, but a microwave, water heater, and stove require 110-volt wiring. A DC to DC charger isolates the battery from the engine and alternator from the system so the 280 horsepower V6 will always fire. Bemyvan installs a custom water tank under the floor to maximize interior space, while ensuring that all critical electrical components are easily accessible if any of the accessories blow a fuse, stop working, or come loose. Clever storage solutions in every nook and cranny also stand out as a highlight.
A successful recipe
B-Van designs include as much lightweight wood as possible, such as birch, to reduce weight while adding grain lines and a sense of everyday utility to the interior. This feeling of comfort remains a priority for Aubert and Bemyvan, as it is not so much about offering a motorhome life but rather creating a feeling of home that happens to be on wheels for today’s nomads. hui paving a new path through our increasingly digital age.
The price for a fully-built B-Van is typically around $ 125,000, including the ProMaster, or around $ 75,000 for customers who bring their own van. Compare that to $ 230,000 and up for an Airstream Interstate 24X and the incredible limit demand that MyBusHotel and Bemyvan have already attracted suddenly seems a little more believable.
The small team working out of a warehouse in Las Vegas are likely to face a busy 2022, with expansion plans in terms of square footage and hands-on-deck already underway. This year MyBusHotel has built 30 platforms and in November Aubert claimed to have already received 35 orders for 2022. He hopes that in the next calendar year Bemyvan will complete 100 in total, all based on the ProMaster, as its new name suggests.
Sources: bemyvan.com, ramtrucks.com, ford.com and dometic.com.
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