All-electric RVs are coming - with more range and more charging challenges than electric cars

All-electric RVs are coming – with more range and more charging challenges than electric cars

The impending onslaught of electric trucks and SUVs—already underway with the Rivian R1T, R1S, and Ford F-150 Lightning—has made people think of emissions-free camping and RV life as something viable in the near future.

As we’ve confirmed in the past with Tesla towing reports and other reality checks on the run, it might be possible to get into the Davis Dam Grade with an 11,000 lb., but is that really possible as part of a fun vacation?

It’s no surprise that potential shoppers of this type of vehicle have high expectations – ones that may not be fully compatible with current battery and charging technology, at the desired price point.

Earlier this year, several concept cars showed that the completely conservative traditional RV industry doesn’t sit out that far. Between the Winnebago e-RV concept and the Thor Vision electric RV concept, some big players have presented a potential blueprint for what’s in the works — in very different ways.

Winnebago e-RV electric motorhome concept

Winnebago e-RV electric motorhome concept

Winnebago e-RV electric motorhome concept

Winnebago e-RV electric motorhome concept

Winnebago e-RV electric motorhome concept

While Ford Transit-based Winnebago’s e-RV has an 86-kWh battery pack and will provide a range of 125 miles—enough to satisfy 54% of RV buyers, it claims – Thor Industries has gone in a very different direction. Also starting with Transit, it has included a battery pack, hydrogen fuel cell and solar roof, adding up to 300 miles of range.

Although at the time it seemed too complicated, Thor recently revealed study results that supported his approach. Its North American study of electric vehicles with electric motors took place in December 2021, a month before the sighting. This study was based on 675 respondents who either currently owned an electric vehicle or had some level of RV experience (owning, renting, camping, or borrowing) within the past 10 years.

Study of a North American electric motor bull

Study of a North American electric motor bull

Her study — or a poll, out of her voice — found that 97% expect to drive three hours longer before charging. Nearly half of respondents (45%) said they expect to drive five or six hours from home before needing a charge—a number that Thor finds a great place and roughly corresponds to a 300-mile charge.

Nearly one in five saw that point being eight hours or more on a charge — indicating a range of more than 500 miles. While 300 miles could be a realistic goal in a few years, a higher number is likely to be virtually impossible given the price limitations and weight of the battery pack.

Thor Vision electric RV . concept

Thor Vision electric RV . concept

People who use an electric RV like this will do a lot of it, too. While many RVs in the US are not used for large parts of the year, 47% of respondents to this survey said they would use an electric RV at least once every two to three weeks — some at least once a week .

The most common response was for an expected charging time in the 45 to 59 minute range, indicating a need for DC fast charging not only in products like this but as an infrastructure need, in camps nationwide. It’s a huge leap from the 240-volt, 30-amp outlets typical of American campers to fast-charging compatibility.

Surprisingly, 70% of respondents said that having a hydrogen fuel cell system on board to help supplement or charge the battery would positively affect purchase intent. Although creating more charging at camp sites would be a major infrastructure hurdle, hydrogen or fuel cell distribution appears to be an even bigger puzzle.

Airstream eStream electric camping trailer

Airstream eStream electric camping trailer

In addition to the electric RV project, earlier this year Thor unveiled an eStream concept for the travel trailer – an electric camping trailer that essentially provides its own thrust, carries 80 kWh of battery capacity and increases acceleration and brake regeneration using a system its own engine. .

Alternatively, camper maker Colorado Teardrops plans to release a trailer-trailer version that also brings extra batteries while riding, but without the propulsion system. You charge both overnight, then at roadside breaks it instead charges your electric vehicle.

Colorado Teardrops Boulder EV Camping Trailer

Colorado Teardrops Boulder EV Camping Trailer

These two solutions help solve the driving range problem but underscore the need for serious, high-powered freight infrastructure in campgrounds—and elsewhere, with physical layouts that work with RVs and trailers. Who will come forward to deliver this? It’s another chicken or egg, again.

2022-05-15 12:00:00

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