Prototype Caravan: New Generation Alpa Eco

Though it is still in prototype stage, the Alpha Eco by New Generation Fit-Outs is built from recycled materials that simply won’t burn. From an environmental and safety perspective, the benefits of this construction method are very real…


How’s this for a stroke of innovation? In recent times, a small, unassuming manufacturer has popped up in Melbourne with a concept for a small caravan that just might force us to rethink how we build caravans. You see, Jimmy Nguyen of New Generation Fit-Outs has spent the last couple of years developing this prototype.

new generationIt’s called the Alpha Eco. Jimmy set about rethinking how caravans could be built. Rather than using composite aluminium cladding over a timber or aluminium frame, or fibreglass sandwich panels, he created structural panels made of recycled plastic.

Obviously, that lends the Alpa Eco a few points in terms of its environmental impact – how many caravans do you know of that are made almost entirely of recycled materials? The process creates internal and external skins which sandwich a special structural core that’s also made of recycled material.

The best news, however, is that the panels do not burn. In fact, creating a fire-proof caravan was one of Jimmy’s core objectives when designing the Alpha Eco. Jimmy had a cross-section of the special panelling available and was more than happy to take a small blowtorch to the panel to demonstrate how the panels will smoulder and blister a little, but will not burn. The final step, before the Alpha Eco goes into full production, is to have the van’s fire-resistant properties certified by Fire Rescue Victoria and that process is well generation


The Alpha Eco that we saw at our Sirocco II Offroad Challenge was, obviously, a prototype. It was built on a 6in chassis with ToughRide independent coil suspension. Jimmy was keen to really test out how the van would handle the undulations you’d find in offroad conditions, and he tackled the course with enthusiasm. Pleasingly, the Alpha Eco tracked steady and true behind the tow vehicle. This was the first time that Jimmy had towed the van on anything other than bitumen, and he was happy with the results.

new generationNow, because this van was a prototype, it was a little rough around the edges – there were aspects to the van that Jimmy was still fine-tuning. But let’s step inside. What does this little rig offer?

Believe it or not, it offers an actual bathroom – with a twist. At the flick of a switch, the roof section of the bathroom will lift on electronic struts to provide adequate standing space inside. It’s obviously not a huge space but it includes a cassette toilet too. Further, the bathroom space is lined with the same recycled plastic material as the panel skins, but with a ‘marble-look’ finish. The floor is also made of the same material.

new generationBut what about the rest of the van? Now, obviously there will be some limitations imposed by the van’s size but it nonetheless fits in the essentials, and there’s serious potential here once the van goes into production.

Across the front, there’s a single bed with access to the storage space under the mattress for a small portable washing machine as well as a Truma reverse-cycle air-conditioner. Now, considering it’s a small space, it wont take long to either heat or cool the van, and the wall panels reportedly offer excellent thermal efficiency. 

Across the nearside, between the bathroom and bed, is the kitchen. Here, you’ll find a two-burner gas stove (there are two 9kg gas cylinders in the storage box on the A-frame), along with a stainless steel sink with hot and cold water. There’s a small amount of storage and a small under-bench fridge, too. Directly opposite the kitchen, filling out the offside, New Generation has fitted a two-person lounge.


There’s a great deal of potential here. Sure, the van we looked at was a prototype and Jimmy was under the pump to get his vision to the point that he could present it at our Offroad Challenge. But the concept is fantastic, no doubt about that, and the idea of a caravan that simply won’t burn deserves some attention. 

new generationBecause this van is still very much in prototype stage, we don’t yet know the ATM and GTM ratings, but when Jimmy took the van over the weighbridge, it came in at 1280kg Tare.

Who knows where this vision will take Jimmy and New Generation Fit-Outs? If his line of Alpha Eco models gains some traction, I could envision a range of full-size caravans, and we at GoRV wish him all the best. It’s a worthy vision that we hope enjoys the success it deserves.