Last week, we told you about THOR Industries — the parent company of Airstream — and its partnership with ZF to create an electric camper van. Then, we didn’t have a photo to share with you, so we used a picture of a Dethleffs electric camper that ZF helped build in Europe. THOR also owns Dethleffs, by the way.
Meet The eStream & Thor Vision Electric Campers
This week, Airstream released photos of its electric camper concept, the eStream (see the very cool video below). Like the Dethleffs caravan (that’s what they call a camper in Europe), it has dual batteries and dual electric motors. It also has a sophisticated control system that matches the speed of the camper to the speed of the tow vehicle, allowing them to travel further together than would otherwise be possible. The eStream really doesn’t care whether it is hitched to an electric vehicle or a conventional vehicle. Either way it will allow the combination of tow vehicle and camper to travel further between refueling or recharging sessions.
Airstream has another concept up its sleeve. It’s called the THOR Vision Vehicle, and it is basically a Ford E-Transit van converted into a self-powered camper van. According to Engadget, its primary claim to fame is a range of 300 miles. Why that is important will become apparent shortly. It is said to come with technology that identifies available charging stations along the intended route. THOR has released no pricing data or expected production information for either the eStream or the TVV.
Winnebago is also getting into the electric camper van game with its own E-Transit-based vehicle. As opposed to the TVV, however, the e-Winny has a rather modest range of 125 miles. The company says that’s enough, as 54% of its customers say they travel less than 200 miles on vacation — less than a third say they drive more than 300 miles.
According to Autoblog, the e-RV — when and if it goes into production — will feature eco-friendly materials where possible, as well as an induction cooktop and an electric refrigerator, water heater, and air conditioner. There will also be a number of customizable sleeping, sitting, and eating arrangements available. The E-Transit has an 86 kWh battery that can be recharged in 45 minutes.
Once again, no pricing or production details have been released. Winnebago says that “evolving battery technology and applications continue to drive capabilities and mileage range increases are anticipated as the concept vehicle further develops.” Maybe the production version will have more than 125 miles of range after all. It does make you wonder how big the battery is in the THOR TVV, though, doesn’t it?
Mercedes EQV Electric Camper
Business Insider has news of an electric camper based on the Mercedes EQV that features a pop-up tent roof similar to the one made famous by Volkswagen. The conversion is handled by Swiss company Sortimo. The EQV 300 has a range of between 203 and 226 miles, while the EQV 250 has a range of 132 to 147 miles. The price for the electric camper is said to be $75,000, and it is only available now in Switzerland. Solar panels on the roof are available at an extra cost.
“The future is electric, also in the motorhome industry,” Klaus Rehkugler, head of sales and marketing at Mercedes‑Benz Vans, said in a recent press release. He has that right. One electric camper is an anomaly. Two electric camper vans is a trend. Three electric camper vans is a paradigm shift. Ready or not, electric campers are coming, and sooner than many ever thought possible.
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