As the country moves towards more energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly vehicles, the RV industry is also making headway. Innovative technologies, solar panel roofs, and high-capacity batteries are changing the future of travel.
However, even with a bright future of electric RVs, there are reasons to avoid purchasing one right now.
The industry still has a ways to go to make electric RVs applicable to all kinds of travelers. Let’s dive in!
What Is an Electric RV?
An electric RV can operate on batteries without the need for gasoline or diesel fuel. They emit no carbon dioxide, which is much better for the environment. Plus, they can use renewable energy like solar power to recharge when out boondocking somewhere.
Electric RVs are more expensive than their traditional RV counterparts, but they cost less to maintain and operate in the long run.
Pro Tip: There’s lots to know about electric RVs! We took a closer look at everything you need to know.
Which Manufacturers Are Working on Electric RVs?
Several manufacturers are working on electric RVs. Winnebago, Thor, and Airstream recently introduced electric concepts. Winnebago’s e-RV is equipped with an 86-kWh battery, giving the vehicle a 125-mile driving range. This unit is similar to a Class B campervan. In January, Thor unveiled the Thor Vision Vehicle, classified as a Class B+ model, at the Florida RV SuperShow.
Also equipped with a 1,500-watt solar roof, this concept is designed to take RVers off-grid for more extended periods.
Finally, Airstream also showcased its eStream at the SuperShow in January. Two of the biggest highlights were the electric motors that help the trailer follow the tow vehicle and the ability to control the trailer with an app.
The electric motors increase efficiency since the tow vehicle isn’t having to work as hard to pull the eStream. Prospective owners love the option to back up the camper into a campsite remotely.
5 Reasons to Avoid Electric RVs
Electric vehicles are certainly becoming more common. They leave a smaller carbon footprint, cost less to operate, and it’s convenient to be able to recharge at home. However, even with these benefits, there are a few reasons to avoid electric RVs.
1. Finding a Charging Station
Although electric vehicles may be the future, fuel stations, big box stores, campgrounds, and inner cities still have a long way to go before they’re equipped with enough charging stations to keep up with the number of electric vehicles currently on the road. Therefore, finding a charging station while traveling is difficult.
Moreover, finding a charging station to fit an RV is also a challenge. Even though a Tesla may fit into a charging station at a fuel center, that doesn’t mean there will be enough room to squeeze in an RV.
Even smaller electric RVs like the Thor Vision Vehicle and Airstream eStream will have problems fitting into tight spaces.
2. Distance the RV Will Travel
If you’re looking to make longer trips, an electric RV won’t get you to your destination without recharging. Even if it’s only going to take about an hour to fully charge the batteries, it’s still an hour of your already long travel day. Plus, you have the challenge of finding a charging station along your route, which is a whole other dilemma.
Currently, gas and diesel engines can take tow vehicles and drivable RVs longer distances. If you’re only looking to drive 100 miles down the road, then an electric RV will work perfectly.
But many RVers are looking to take longer trips, including cross-country trips that require long travel days.
3. Upfront Cost
Although we don’t know what the Thor Vision Vehicle or the Airstream eStream will cost yet, we can assume they will be expensive. The innovative technology and electric capabilities will substantially increase the price.
New Airstreams are already some of the most expensive travel trailers on the market. So you can expect to spend well over $100,000 upfront for an electric RV.
4. Expensive Batteries
The batteries that operate electric RVs aren’t the run-of-the-mill batteries you get at AutoZone. For example, the high-capacity batteries required to power electric RVs will cost anywhere from $700 to $900 each, depending on the brand and capabilities.
That’s much more expensive than the typical $100 to $300 batteries in a standard travel trailer.
5. Charging Takes Longer Than Fueling Up
Refilling a gas tank takes a mere two or three minutes. Charging an electric vehicle could take over an hour for a full charge. As the electric RV industry grows, we hope there will be more charging stations with less charging times.
But currently, it will take a while to charge, which only adds to an already long drive day.
Pro Tip: Want to know more about Winnebago’s electric RV? We uncovered everything you need to know about This All-Electric RV Isn’t a Pipe Dream, It’s a Winnebago.
When Are Electric RVs Predicted to Be Sold in the US?
Winnebago hopes to have an answer for the release of its e-RV later this calendar year. However, Thor and Airstream didn’t provide any details about when their electric concepts might hit the market.
It’s clear that RV manufacturers are taking on the challenge of producing more environmentally-friendly RVs. But we’ll have to wait and see just how long it takes to bring these concepts to mass production.
When, and if, they do, will you be the first to sign the dotted line? Drop a comment below!
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