I took an EV camping for the weekend and I’m converted

The Skoda ENYAQ iV 80 FestEVal is a one-off version of Skoda’s electric SUV that’s got everything you need for a camping adventure

Skoda ENYAQ iV FestEVal
(Image credit: Skoda)

Skoda’s ENYAQ iV 80 is a great-looking all-electric SUV but many of the festival goers at this year’s YNot Festival were surprised to see it pulling up to the live-in vehicle camping. Surrounded by VW campers, caravans and the odd converted van, this EV stood out, but it was in the right place. 

This was a special edition, one-off, version of the ENYAQ that had been custom-fitted with a full camping kit. The FestEVal – see what they did there? – includes a rooftop tent, table and chairs, and a full kitchen that pulls out of the boot. So how was it to camp in for the weekend? I spent two nights in a field in Derbyshire, to find out. 

If this inspires you to get back to nature, it's also worth checking out T3's best tents guide for a bit of regular camping.

Skoda ENYAQ iV FestEVal

(Image credit: Future)

Škoda ENYAQ iV 80 all-electric SUV

The Skoda ENYAQ iV (opens in new tab) (pronounced en-yak eye-vee) is the company’s first all-electric SUV and is built on the VW modular electric platform (MEB). This means it shares many features with the Audi Q4 e-tron and VW ID.4. It comes in two battery sizes, the 62kWh in the 60 and the 82kWh in the 80 and 80 Sportline. This delivers a range of up to 333 miles and up to 204ps (201hp), with a 0-62mph of a respectable 8.5 seconds in the iV 80. 

It’s a full-sized SUV with a modern look both inside and out. The nose is rather angular with an imposing grill, which then swoops into the main body of the car before finishing on a small spoiler above the rear window. From the back, the large hatchback door mirrors the angles of the front with the lights and bodywork. It sits on generous 19-inch rims with low-profile tyres filling the arches, there’s even the option to go up to 21 inches. It’s an overall look that seems a million miles from the Skoda’s I remember going up. 

Inside the car, it's just as modern. The dash is kept very clean with a wave-like structure that encompasses the large central display – a 13-inch touchscreen with a touch slider underneath – and a smaller display behind the steering wheel. The central partition includes an armrest and a very minimalist drive selector switch, which is about as far from a gear stick as you can get. There’s bags of space in the back and the boot, making this a perfect family vehicle. 

Skoda ENYAQ iV FestEVal

(Image credit: Skoda)

When it comes to technology, the ENYAQ iV has all the latest smart features that you’d expect from an electric vehicle. For connectivity, there’s wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, an in-built data SIM which can provide a WiFi hotspot and a wireless charging cradle for your phone.

The travel assist package includes adaptive cruise control, adaptive lane assist, traffic jam assist, and emergency assist. There’s a rearview camera and park assist with collision avoidance for pedestrians or objects.

All this, and prices starting from £38,480 for the ENYAQ iV 60, or £42,435 for the ENYAQ iV 80, it’s a great value SUV that puts it slightly cheaper than the likes of the Hyundai Ioniq 5. HeyCar (opens in new tab) rated the ENYAQ iV as “up there with some of the best electric vehicles currently on sale.”

Skoda ENYAQ iV FestEVal

(Image credit: Future)

The one-off FestEVal edition

The Skoda ENYAQ iV 80 Loft model I had for the weekend was no off-the-shelf model. This had been fitted with some special kit to turn this family EV into a completely self-sufficient campervan. This principally involved three parts: a roof tent, a set of camping chairs and table, and perhaps the cleverest of all, the EGOE camping box. 

The table and chairs are from a company called Helinox (opens in new tab) and feature the most ingenious folding structure I’ve ever seen on a chair or table. The mass of short poles, all attached via elastic, slot together for the heavyweight material to attach to. The high-backed chairs feel incredibly sturdy to sit in and though the table is more lightweight, it’s perfect for holding a couple of drinks thanks to the recessed area in the centre. 

On top of this ENYAQ iV 80 is what looks like a regular roof box but this is actually a tent. Made by James Baroud Off Road Tents (opens in new tab), this Evolution model automatically expands upwards once the catches are released to reveal a comfortable sleeping area for two people, complete with an in-built mattress and roof fan. There’s a ladder, which attaches to the side for entry and exit, meshed vents on all sides for ventilation and plenty of storage pockets inside. There’s also a tunnel attachment to go over the ladder, which is useful for wet weather. 

Skoda ENYAQ iV FestEVal

(Image credit: Future)

The headline act though, has to be the EGOE camping box. This is an all-in-one camper conversion kit designed especially for estate cars. The Nestboard fits snuggly in the boot of the ENYAQ iV 80 and still leaves a decent amount of space above it for bags and equipment. If you need more sleeping space, you can also fold the back seats down and a mattress will sit over the top of it and the rear seats, giving you another double bed. 

The camping box is more like a drawer that slides out when the boot is open, revealing a worktop with a treasure trove of goodies hidden under removable wooden panels. First, the water container, that you fill and connect to the main pump. That connects to the sink that is hidden under the removable chopping board – the tap clips on when needed to deliver the water. Then there’s the gas stove in the centre powered by a mini canister, hidden under a compartment to the right. The other sections hide storage compartments where you’ll find cutlery, plates, bowls, cups, cooking pans and even a folding kettle. 

Though this is a one-off car and not for sale, you could easily add all of these parts to the car yourself – or any other car for that matter. All this gear would add about £6000 to the price of the ENYAQ iV 80, if you bought each piece individually. A lot cheaper than buying a separate caravan or campervan.

Skoda ENYAQ iV FestEVal

(Image credit: Future)

The EV camping experience

The ENYAQ iV 80 is an impressive electric SUV. It has all the smart features you could ask for, it looks great inside and out and its a pleasure to drive. It’s not as snappy on acceleration as some others on the market but it costs significantly less, has plenty of torque on the motorway to get you up to speed quickly, and has a great range too.  

As a camper, the ENYAQiV FestEVal fits an impressive amount of equipment into what otherwise looks like a standard (though attractive) SUV. For a couple looking for a weekend away, it’s got everything you need and means all you need to pack are your sleeping bags and food supplies. It might be a push for a family of four though. 

I took the ENYAQ iV FestEVal to the Y Not music festival in Derbyshire and camped among the live-in vehicles. It was one of the smallest vehicles there but it offered all that the many VW campervans could. Would it have been nice to have a bit more space? Sure, but I love the fact that within 30 mins it could all be packed down and ready to go, and not look like a camper at all. 

Sleeping on the roof of an EV was certainly a fun experience and surprisingly comfortable. Roof tents tend to be popular in locations where you might want to avoid the local wildlife on the ground but there are other benefits – it takes up less space and feels more secure. Those afraid of heights may struggle with the ladder though, and you wouldn’t want to attempt the climb down after too many drinks. 

Skoda ENYAQ iV FestEVal

The rooftop tent has space for two

(Image credit: Future)

The camping box was definitely impressive, and I loved the fact that it gives you a full cooking space to prepare, cook and even eat. I can certainly see the benefit of installing one of these in your car if you camp regularly – even if you don’t go for the roof tent. 

Turning an EV, such as the Skoda ENYAQ iV into a camper makes a lot of sense to me. Not only does a vehicle that is kinder to the environment fit the back-to-nature ethos of camping but you can use the EV’s generous battery to power everything from your phone to a fridge without worrying about leaving the car unable to start the next day. 

I’m sure in a few years’ time, 90% of the live-in vehicle field will be taken up by electric campers and vans. This weekend though, the Skoda was blazing the trail. 

Skoda ENYAQ iV FestEVal

(Image credit: Skoda)

As T3's Editor-in-Chief, Mat has his finger on the pulse for the latest advances in technology. He has written about technology since 2003 and after stints in Beijing, Hong Kong and Chicago is now based in the UK. He’s a true lover of gadgets, but especially anything that involves cameras, electric cars, musical instruments or travel.