Dashaway frequently asked questions.
Q I don't have an electric or hybrid car, yet, so can I tow the Dashaway with my current "normal" car for now?
A Absolutely! Virtually any car with a towing capacity of 720kgs or more can tow the Dashaway. This will include most small cars such as Ford Fiesta, VW Polo, Golf, Suzuki Swift, Honda Jazz, plus larger cars like Ford Focus, Mondeo, VW Passat etc. They can be petrol or diesel. However, when the time comes to change your car, the chances are, you will buy an electric or hybrid car - then you will fully benefit from having the Dashaway.
Q Wheelhome say the Dashaway has been specifically designed for an electric or hybrid car to tow, in what way?
A Dashaway makes minimal demands upon the tow-car, in the form of:
Aerodynamic efficiency. Dashaway is narrow and low with a "hunkered down" look, giving better aerodynamic efficiency, as does the absence of towing mirrors. Cycles are transported, "end on" along the sides of Dashaway, helping to retain that aerodynamic advantage.
Lightweight: At just 644kgs Dashaway weighs about 60-70% of a normal caravan, this is due to a number of factors: Gas-free, so no heavy gas bottles, saving significant weight. So stable it doesn't require a stabiliser device, saving weight. Dashaway has bang-up-to-date super-efficient, lightweight Lithium batteries, saving 40kgs (74%) compared to normal batteries. Less weight = increased efficiency (mpg).
De-minimis electrical draw from the tow-car: Dashaway doesn't normally draw any electrical energy from the tow-car to charge its batteries or power its fridge, unlike normal caravans. This is taken care of by a huge roof-mounted solar panel. Only the road lights draw from the car.
Dashaway has a compressor fridge that is 12 volt only, is tilt tolerant to 30 degrees, and uses just 20% of the electrical energy of a normal (3-way) caravan fridge. See "Dashaway to Shetland" tab where the fridge kept running perfectly on an extended 17.5 hour sea voyage. Normal, 3-way fridges would have warmed up and ruined eveything inside. We estimate that these electrical features combined represent a saving similar to switching your air conditioning on, about 2-3 mpg. The last thing an electric or hybrid car wants is to have it's energy sapped away to a caravan on the back! Less electrical demand = increased efficiency (mpg).
Q Are there any Wheelhome dealers near me and what happens about servicing the Dashaway?
A We do not have any dealers so you need to order directly with us, in which case Stephen will personally deliver your Wheelhome to your home, free of charge anywhere in the U.K. mainland and give a thorough, detailed and un-rushed hand-over. Annual servicing, which is less involved than a normal caravan (no gas system, maintenance-free fridge etc) - so should be cheaper, would typically be carried out by a local-to-you caravan dealer/workshop.
Q Can I tow the Dashaway with it's MAM (maximum authorised mass) of 1,000 kgs as I passed my driving test on or after 1st January 1997 and have a category B driving license?
A The DVSA website repeats "Schedule 2 to the Motor Vehicles (Driving Licences) Regulations 1999" which states "a combination of any such vehicle and a trailer where the maximum authorised mass of the combination does not exceed 3.5 tonnes." (3.5 tonnes = 3,500 kgs). So, it is the combined MAMs of the trailer and car that must not exceed 3,500 kgs. As the Dashaway has a MAM of 1,000 kgs, your tow car needs to have a MAM of no more than 2,500 kgs (that equates to a fairly large car). This will include many small and medium sized cars, such as Ford Fiesta, Suzuki Swift, VW Golf, Ford Focus etc. We advise you to seek your own advice if at all unsure.
Q I thought towing a caravan meant you had to have additional "towing mirrors", but not so for the Dashaway, how come?
A DVSA states when towing a trailer "You must have an adequate view of the road behind you. Fit suitable towing mirrors if your trailer or caravan is wider than the rear of your car." The Dashaway is not wider than most small cars, such as Suzuki Swift or Ford Fiesta. Of further significance is that we take the measurement from the extremities of the Dashaway (of course), which are the low-level side fairings. However, the main body is even narrower, affording virtually the same view rearwards from the tow car door mirrors as if you were not towing. Only exception to this maybe when carrying cycles on the Dashaway.
Click here to see a photo demonstrating the rear view from a Suzuki Swift.
Q What is the Dashaway made of and is it insulated?
A Dashaway has a very sturdy fibreglass body laminated with circa 30mm rigid insulation with a galvanised steel chassis and Alko running gear.
Q How is it that you can carry cycles on the Dashaway without effecting the nose weight?
A First, the background. Nose weight is the weight of the trailer bearing down on the tow car's tow ball. This is extremely important and must be observed as too much or too little will have serious consequences for the safe handling of the outfit. Smaller cars tend to have a lower weight allowance (S value) so this becomes even more relevant.
There are a number of ways traditional caravanners carry their bikes: on a rack over the car's back window, on the front of the caravan, on the back of the caravan. These methods ALL have an effect on the nose weight that is likely to be detrimental to the handling. To avoid this, some carry bikes on the car's roof, which severely effects fuel consumption and can be a concern in cross-winds.
Dashaway has been designed to addresses all of the above as Dashaway carries the bikes along its sides, so the weight is carried entirely by the Dashaway's axle, with no effect whatsoever on the nose weight. The handlebars need to be swung round and folding pedals need to be fitted to the bike.
Q Can we deploy the Podrant in a lay-by, or will it "stick out" too much?
A Yes you can. With the Podrant deployed the Dashaway expands to 2.34m (7’8”) which is much the same as most "normal" sized caravans, and they stop in lay-bys! Note, if you have bikes fitted these will need to be removed to deploy the Podrant or open the door.
Q How long does it take to fix a bike onto the Dashaway and won't it rub against the side?
A We use Fiamma components with quick fitting straps so fitting is under a minute. We also have a large suction pad that holds the bike firmly just clear of the bodywork. You'll surely appreciate not having to lift the bikes very high for fitting.
Q What are the advantages of the Dashaway being narrow?
A Efficiency, stability. On the road the Dashaway has its side extension Podrant and elevating roof retracted which presents a "crouched" or "hunkered down" look. This provides minimal air disruption and drag behind the tow car, which in turn, greatly improves stability and fuel efficiency. Mirrors. No additional towing mirrors are required as you will have a virtually unimpeded rear view from your (small car) door mirrors. Garageable. Being just 4.0m long x 1.83m high x 1.72m wide on the road Dashaway has a smaller "footprint" than most compact cars, making it highly garageable (so zero storage charges). For example, the Ford Fiesta is 4.04m long x 1.735m wide (without mirrors).
Q Is the Dashaway good value?
A Dashaway is hand-built in very limited numbers (so exclusivity is ensured), to a forward-thinking, far from straightforward design using modern, durable components with high quality equipment. Some of which are bespoke to Dashaway. For example, we have commissioned the manufacture of the huge solar panel that is designed specifically to maximise the space on our elevating roof. The type we use is lightweight, super slim at just 3mm, and excellent at harvesting light even in poor weather conditions, but it's not cheap.
Complementing the solar are two large Lithium batteries which are very expensive, but save weight and are very efficient. Dashaway's compressor fridge costs more than a typical caravan's 3-way fridge, but thereafter requires no maintenance.
So, value for money? The motor trade have a term "whole-life costs". This takes account of initial purchase cost, fuel, servicing/maintenance for the whole time of ownership and then the residual value.
You are considering a significant purchase, so let's explore this in detail.
Initial purchase cost. There's nothing else like it to compare.
Fuel. With minimal demands on the tow car you can tow with a smaller, more compact car, a hybrid like we use, maybe. That in turn will use less fuel, not just when towing but all year round (our VW Golf Plug-in Hybrid regularly returns 140+mpg as we are able to make full use of the electric only running mode) and likely be less to tax, and it's servicing costs will surely be less. Think about that.
Servicing/maintenance. The Alko brakes and running gear are similar to other caravans but Dashaway does not have any gas equipment so zero maintenance there (and you don't ever need to buy any gas! that adds up), compressor fridge is maintenance free.
Residual value in years to come, ie what's it worth in say 8-10 years time, or, how long will it last? Experience from our previous fibreglass caravan called Sprintaway, from 2006, suggests demand is high which will hold up residuals and be far higher than "normal" caravans.
So we believe that over your period of ownership with the above taken into consideration, plus zero storage fees if you can keep it at home, the minimal demands Dashaway has on the tow vehicle, makes Dashaway excellent value for money plus you should be future-proofed for when we are all driving electric cars, as seems to be inevitable in the not too distant future. Value for money? We think so.