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Motorhome: Halsema by Motorhome-World


Halsema. The name will send shivers down the spine of those who know it. For those who don’t, here a brief description of all you need to know: Halsema is a highway in the Philippines, and is considered to be one of the most dangerous roads in the world.

It’s a fitting choice of name for the latest unit to come out of the Motorhome-World factory − a creation built to conquer the toughest the world could throw at it. But conquer it in comfort and luxury… and with some tech to knock your socks off.

Yeah, this behemoth will also send shivers down your spine!

The project was about a year in the making; although, as Dennis Bauers, managing director at Motorhome- World, tells us, it’s was a bit of a stop-start project. Apart from the wait time for importing top-notch parts, the owner also put the project on hold for a few months to ensure that he got the unit built on the latest Iveco chassis. That’s right: this custom job is the first of its kind in South Africa!

Usually, I would write lengthy, detailed “prose” about the units I am covering for Caravan & Outdoor Life, but time was of the essence. I literally had a couple of hours to get to the streamlined luxury off-roader, before it zoomed off north for the upcoming Beeld Show. Also, deadline was staring us in the eye, and I still had to head to Magoebaskloof for a travel feature.

So, as an introduction to the Halsema, here’s what Dennis had to say, and let’s hope the pictures will also do the talking.

Halsema Images

Caravan & Outdoor Life (COL): How did this whole project come about?

Dennis: The client came to us about a year ago. He wanted a 4×4 motorhome with a very low centre of gravity. He also wanted luxury finishes, the best that were available. So we realised that we’d have to use solid woods with high class definition… first class wooden floors. He also wanted a low aerodynamic profile on the Iveco. This would allow plenty of interior space. But he didn’t want a traditional pop-up roof with canvas.

COL: That’s sounding like quite a technical challenge, Dennis?

Dennis: It was. But our design team here at Motorhome-World loves challenges like this.

COL: So how did you approach it?

Dennis: We first had to create a hardwalled lift roof. We had a design parameter of getting a solid wall to lift some 850mm to create this large interior space inside the Halsema, so we had to figure out how to do this. We had to decide whether to use hydraulics, air or an electric motor system to lift the roof.

COL: Which method did you decide on, and why?

Dennis: For a number of reasons, we decided on the electrical option. It’s a reliable but sophisticated series of motors that lift the roof. We therefore had a wonderful space to work with. The body was 4,6 metres long with an internal height of 2,5 metres. Obviously, as designers, we loved the space that this gave us.

COL: You now had the space, what was next on the menu?

Dennis: Having the space, we decided on a high bed. The higher the bed, the more storage space underneath. Then we designed the curved stairs going up to the sleeping compartment. Each stair also offers storage space with a sliding drawer compartment.

COL: Having photographed the interior, I have to say that beautiful curving wooden staircase is a piece of beauty.

Dennis: Yes, we think so too. But there was still a host of design criteria we had to solve. When we designed a luxurious bathroom, we ran out of space for the seating area. Then we had one of those ‘a-ha’ moments. By allowing the entry door to come through the bathroom area, so to speak, we had space for the kitchen and the seating area behind the driver’s side.

COL: Tell me more about the kitchen on the Halsema.

Dennis: Actually, there are two kitchens – an inside unit, and an outside kitchen. The inside kitchen has a stainless steel sink plus a single Snappy Chef induction plate which can be placed wherever desired. On the outside is a state-of-the-art, glass-topped sealed diesel stove.

COL: Tell me more about the kitchen on the Halsema.

Dennis: Actually, there are two kitchens – an inside unit, and an outside kitchen. The inside kitchen has a stainless steel sink plus a single Snappy Chef induction plate which can be placed wherever desired. On the outside is a state-of-the-art, glass-topped sealed diesel stove.

COL: I thought it was a large Snappy Chef, Dennis.

Dennis: I know that people find it hard to believe that this ultra-neat stove is actually run on diesel. Oh and there is absolutely zero smell with this efficient stove.

COL: What about air-conditioning and heating in the motorhome?

Dennis: The Halsema has two systems. The first is a cooling system that is piped right around the motorhome. This same system can heat, as well. Then we have the diesel hot water geyser system. This second system can also be used to heat the interior of the motorhome.

COL: I think it’s pretty ingenious the way the whole toilet cassette slides away into its own compartment.

Dennis: Another feature of many late nights sweating over the plans, but you need to either see it for yourself or see a photograph to appreciate how simple and neat this part of the design functions.

COL: Okay, let the photos speak for themselves… but we have to talk about that iPad tablet on the dashboard.

Dennis: Yes! We decided to run everything through a tablet; ‘control by tablet’, we call it. This iPad controls all the electrics – the roof, awning, satellite dish, television, lights, water, aircon, even the sound system! It was quite fun watching the faces of the visitors to our stand at Beeld. I was standing outside the motorhome with the tablet, and as I pressed the buttons, they saw things start to happen. Their mouths hung open.

COL: Dennis what other goodies can you tell me about?

Dennis: If you are worried about the tablet control failing, we have installed in the cab an overhead panel of switches and analogue gauges that can carry out all the tablet’s functions in the case of breakdown.

COL: You guys seem to have thought of everything! And more, the Halsema is built on the brand new Iveco Daily 4×4? Is this so?

Dennis: Yes, this is the brand new Iveco 4×4 Daily. It’s the 855S15W, the first new Iveco Daily 4×4 launched in South Africa. I think that Iveco is going to launch this model only in April 2017.

COL: I see the Iveco doesn’t have a ‘normal’ handbrake?

Dennis: We decided to do away with the mechanical handbrake, which interfered with the ability of the driver’s seat to swing around. We fitted an electrical pushbutton system from a very reliable manufacturer. You see, both the front seats can swing around, offering a lounge-like seating arrangement when parked.

COL: I can only assume that the Halsema has solar panels.

Dennis: It does; semi-flexible panels on the hard wall pop roof. Obviously, glass panels wouldn’t be great in the bush. Plus the semiflexible solar panels are extremely light. This is all coupled to a regulator. Added to this, inside the motorhome is a pure sine wave inverter system. This gives you 220V power when needed. There is also a satellite dish at the rear of the motorhome, not on the roof, but on a recessed shelf at the back of the motorhome. This protects it when bush driving.

COL: What about that camera near the front wheel?

Dennis: There are actually three cameras installed: a reverse camera, a camera on the roof so you can see obstacles like low-hanging branches, and a camera on the passenger side showing the wheel. If you are driving alone, this enables you to check your wheel placement on the passenger side.

COL: So, now that we’ve had a good look, where is this motorhome heading off to?

Dennis: We have a two-day hand-over to the new owner, where we will show him everything he needs to know about his new motorhome. We can get into the technical details another time, but for now I believe the Halsema might soon be heading on a trip to Madagascar…

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