In a clear sign of things to come, US-based Winnebago industries has just unveiled its concept ‘all-electric, zero emission motorhome’.
It’s the first major RV manufacturer to get this far, although others have certainly been looking ahead to a non-fossil fuel future.
Modelled after the Ford Transit campervan, the new Winnebago electric RV will contain an 86-kWh battery, giving it a 200-kilometre driving range at the same time as powering its array of on-board amenities.
The company says those amenities will include a ‘marine-grade refrigerator’ and ‘slide-out induction cooktop’, along with a sink, toilet and detachable shower head.
Winnebago is working to expand the e-RV’s mileage to at least 320 kilometres after a 45-minute charge, as it seeks to ‘appeal to a bigger wave of early adopters’.
Previous RV Industry Association research has shown that 54% of RV owners travel and camp within 320 kilometres of their homes. Grey nomads tend to travel considerably further than that, so the future of electric RVs in this country will very much depend on the speedy rollout of charging infrastructure across regional and rural areas.
The interior of Winnebago’s concept e-RV is eco-friendly, and features cork-rubber flooring and woollen walls to ‘enhance thermal and wall insulation’.
According to Winnebago vice president Ashis Bhattacharya, the company’s upcoming campervan is simply a response to the changing needs of customers.
“Consumer demand is driving electric power applications across many fronts,” Bhattacharya said. “We believe RV consumers are poised to benefit from the enhanced features and usability that electrified and connected RV products will provide.”
Other companies, including Thro Industries, Mercedes-Benz and Nissan, have also signalled their intention to develop an electric campervan that will appeal to a mass market.
While Winnebago has yet to announce when the new concept vehicle will go into full production, it says there will be timeline updates later in 2022.
Prices for the ‘e-RV’ are also unknown at this stage, although conventional Winnebago motorhomes start at roughly US$100,000.