That new type of vehicle could be something like the Alpine Cross Cabin, the brand new concept from the company that specializes in electronic components and automotive infotainment systems. Officially introduced at the end of last year after exhaustive polling and studies involving digital nomads and weekend warriors, it was most recently on display at CMT 2023 in Stuttgart, Germany, and will be making several appearances at trade events this year.
The Alpine Cross Cabin is surprising in both looks and functionality. It’s based on a 6,70-meter (264-inch) Ford Transit van that has been modified to illustrate Alps Alpine’s idea of a workcation vehicle. As such, it’s both competent and fun, and renders itself ideal for both scenarios of work and leisure activities, or anything in between.
For the interior, Alpine looked to the Japanese aesthetic of minimalism and tidiness, where things are hidden in plain sight when they’re not being used, creating an atmosphere that is relaxing for how uncluttered it is. In reality, this translated into the use of an interior framework of wood slats with bamboo trims, with Japanese Tatami-style mats for the floors.
At first glance, the interior is more like an art piece that is anything but what you’d need to get any kind of work done, let alone a comfortable living space. But those curved slats shaped like benches hide essential pieces of furniture and functionality: there’s a bed that comes out at night, by joining the benches, and a table that pops up from the floor and serves either as a home desk or a dining table.
The table is what Alpine describes as the crown jewel of this concept vehicle: it’s a Smart Table that opens to reveal a 32-inch monitor and integrated keyboard, as well as connectivity to a laptop for professional-grade projects and conferences. Press a button and it can slide farther out the back, to create a so-called “terrace office” that brings your entire work environment into the great outdoors. For non-work needs, it can be used as a dining table as is, or rotated to sit between the benches.
The kitchen and the bathroom are located behind the cab, with the kitchen also able to rotate towards the outside to further expand available space – and, you know, avoid filling up such a Zen workspace with cooking smells. The bathroom is a wet one right behind the driver’s seat, and while small, it should provide basic functionality for a short stay off the grid.
For optimal work conditions, the Cross Cabin comes with a high-speed Alpine x Alphatronics STREAM 4G / LTE mobile router with external antennas, and the entire cabin is soundproof, with two separate sound zones. For leisure and fun (mostly), you get an Alpine sound system, with four Adventure Audio ultra-slim APS speakers, Alpine multi-channel DSP amplifier, and 2 Alpine subwoofers.
All this sounds incredibly promising for a van that’s able to combine work and fun in such a uniquely-styled package. The bad news is that Alpine has no plans to bring the Cross Cabin into production: it’s designed as a showcase of automotive tech, and will only be shown as such. Feedback from visitors and Alpine customers will be integrated into the next generation of products and technologies the company will bring to market, so Cross Cabin will still shape the future of workcation vehicles, even if not directly.