Boondocking in a Kona?!

  It is often useful to have a way to comfortably sleep in a vehicle, which can save time and costs on a roadtrip.  Truckers do it all the time and sleeper-cabs are built for the purpose, so drivers don't need to engage the lodging industry for most of their overnights.  Quite a while ago I had set up the equivalent for the Prius, which involved a bit of technical hackery but served the purpose extremely well over quite a few long journeys.  It's relatively easy because the Prius is surprisingly long and spacious inside, allowing the whole right-hand side of the car to serve as the "Prius motel" in rest-stops, campgrounds, and big-box parking lots.

The Kona, however, is so much shorter that the whole idea almost seems infeasible at first glance for anyone but midgets.  The interior parts also seem antithetical to the effort: the front passenger seatback cannot be moved over nearly the same range to get it out of the way or make it part of the open flat space.  Trying to drop it all the way back comes up against a hard stop in a totally inconvenient halfway-down position, and even that angle wouldn't be comfortable for a quick snooze in the front seat itself.  On a brief evaluation of the seatback mechanics I decided that trying to modify the pivot and allow more range would probably be unduly involved, so I took the approach of filling in more flat area a different way.

Simply dropping the rear split seatbacks normally opens up more of the "boot" area but the surface is definitely not flat, it tilts up quite a bit at the pivot point.  The rear seat-cushion is too thick underneath, so the answer is to remove it as it's not really needed for a travel/camping scenario anyway.  [It is held in with two bolted tabs at the back and a couple of pop-out plastic clips at the front edge.]  But then the seatbacks flop down too far, angling the other way.  What it needs is just the right amount of support underneath to bring the seatbacks flat with the line of the rear floorboard.

Hack to wedge open the armrest/cupholder After a bit of cut-and-try with wood scraps kicking around the house, this seems to work most conveniently.  The middle armrest/cupholder can be wedged open with a chunk of 2x4 and when all this is swung down, the front of the armrest lands on the metal bodywork at just the right spacing with firm support.  It's even somewhat height-adjustable by sliding the wood piece in or out.

bigger chunk of wood for the smaller seat Next, a bit of 4x4 fits in next to that to support the remaining half when it comes down.  The seatbacks align nicely together and make a *very slight* angle upward relative to the floor, which lessens the bump at the hinge area.

Note careful avoidance of crushing the plastic fitting [arrow] which recives the clip loop from the seat-cushion when it's reinstalled.

  Nice start, but now the problem is to extend the plane and bridge the yawning gulf across the rear footwell up the shotgun seat.  The front seat slides forward reasonably far, but annoyingly doesn't lean forward too much before hitting another hard stop, but that might just be enough room anyway.
Simple panel assembly from scrap parts A little headscratching and a couple of measurements results in this, constructed completely out of scrap parts with minimal cutting: a custom-fit platform with only one extra support needed, which can also stash somewhere else very easily when not in use.

Panel installed For a quick-n-dirty hack, it works out better than I thought it would.  The pegboard supports bear on the rear-seat headrests, the center-console lid, and a vertical brace at the free corner.  The front edge wedges fairly tightly against the seatback.  A feature is that when weight is put on the platform and right-side seatback, the extended support also bears on the left-hand seatback headrest post and pushes it down a little more to keep it aligned.  The headrests stay in place, simply extended to their first lock position.

The vertical brace The vertical just sits in place held mostly by friction, although there's a small alignment pin [the protruding head of a small lag bolt run in most of the way] at the top to keep it under the platform brace. 

All ready for bed! The space winds up *just* long enough if utilized diagonally.  The Thermarest gets slightly crunched at the corners when everything is closed up, but since it's a little longer than I am, it's enough to lie on stretched out.  There aren't any rough surfaces underneath, so the moving-blanket that wraps around the Thermarest in the Prius isn't even really needed.  My gear can go into the other two corners and under the platform.

The rig doesn't need to be super-strong, either, as the platform only needs to support a pillow and the ten ugliest pounds of me.  The old pegboard scrap from a store display is solid enough for that.

  My usual sun-shade and privacy curtains took all of twenty minutes to adapt to the Kona interior, and matter a little less around the rear half of the car due to the tinted windows.  The window bug-screening hack works the same way, slotting open two diagonal windows for passive ventilation in suitable weather.

What's very convenient is that there's no need for deep hackery to bring air through the car when it's closed up, because the Kona EV has a feature called "utility mode" which keeps the 12V system alive from the main battery in a fairly frugal way.  With the car in that mode only running a low fan from the normal controls, total system draw is less than 200 watts on average -- maybe 6 or 7 miles worth of range for a typical overnight stop.  I described some of this in a related forum thread, noting that all of the heating/cooling climate controls also function in that mode for handling more extreme temperatures, at the minor expense of more range lost.  If anything that aspect is better than in the Prius, because we don't get the periodic jolts of an engine starting and stopping.  As I noted in the post, if my bivouac is in, say, the parking lot of a big-box where public chargers tend to get located anyway, it's not a worry.  And now I've got a place to catch a snooze while charging instead of sitting around being bored.

With travel severely curtailed by the pandemic at the time of constructing this I don't expect to be using it a lot for a while, but it's nice to have something workable ready to go.  Being able to remain as independent as possible helps to stay safer on the road, as Shelby describes here.  Charging stations are completely outdoors, food supply can be brought along, and certain external needs [e.g. "coffee rental"] can be handled discreetly through my special water bottle labeled "NOT for consumption".  My COVID kit would certainly come along too.  With a little planning, an all-electric trip could be safer by comparison, by mitigating much of the need to be inside travel-plaza stores and staying aware of exposure risks when needed.

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_H*   200610