By the very definition of its name, the RV is a vehicle that takes campers away from stress, coercing them to relax and enjoy their surroundings.
Wouldn’t it be great if your RV could avoid the stress of fuel fill-ups and empty wallets? Gas station stops may become a thing of the past with a new electric RV.
Although the purchase price might not save you money, you won’t be pouring your hard-earned dollars into a gas tank anymore.
What Is an Electric RV?
An electric RV uses an electrical system with battery power to propel it. In essence, the combustion motor would be exchanged for an electric one. That is just what Winnebago has proposed with its unveiling of an EV-RV concept vehicle. It eliminates the gasoline powertrain, swapping it with a huge battery pack for an electric motor. In theory, this would provide ‘fuel’ to drive the RV for up to 125 miles before it would need a recharge.
Pro Tip: We took a closer look at This All-Electric RV. Trust us, it isn’t a pipe dream, it’s a Winnebago!
Hybrid vs. All Electric
A hybrid vehicle is a complicated beast. It includes aspects of a combustible engine and an electric drivetrain and battery. Hence, no hybrid RVs are on the market. But Winnebago has recently introduced an electric RV concept vehicle that shows promise in the all-electric category.
Their model starts with a Ford Transit chassis but takes out the gas powertrain, substituting an electric motor and 86.0 kW battery pack as the power source. And although it has several hills to climb (literally), this new EV-RV has some valid design ideas. That should bring electric RVs to the forefront of the industry soon.
Why Are Electric RVs So Expensive?
New technology is never cheap, but it is innovative. Let’s see why an electric RV might be out of range for the budget-conscious crowd, at least for a while.
The cost of the battery packs alone could put an EV-RV out of the price range for many. At 86.0 kW, that’s the small end of stored power needed to motorize a recreational vehicle. So, the chances are great that the battery packs will be much larger when these “E Class” rigs make it to market.
When a proven electric RV hits the market, there will be a ready and willing crowd of buyers who have been waiting for it. Having dreamed about battery-driven campers that don’t require fossil fuels, they’ll pay top dollar. This high demand means manufacturers will be willing to charge top dollar, knowing they will get it.
Winnebago’s concept model suggests the new electric recreational vehicle is designed with sustainable materials. That includes cork flooring, wool wall trim, a high-speed wifi network, and other luxury amenities. If so, the manufacturer’s suggested retail price will reflect the high-end products.
Because not every RVer sees the benefit of owning an all-electric RV. The most excited group of buyers will be electric vehicle fans and users. They’ll have interest because of their concern about the use of fossil fuels or the size of their carbon footprint. And some in this niche are science and technology enthusiasts who like being on the cutting edge of innovations and designs. Still, others want to save money on fuel purchases, looking at the cost of an EV-RV as an investment in NOT paying at the pump. Look to this specific niche as the early bird owners of the first electric RVs that come off the line.
Pro Tip: Unsure if an electric RV is right for you? Check out these 5 Reasons to Avoid Electric RVs.
How Much Does an Electric RV Cost?
In 2019, a German company produced an electric RV. The Iridium E-Mobil RV had two sizes of battery packs, creating two models. The model that travels up to 249 miles before recharging was priced at $219,000. The one that went 124 miles is $188,000. By comparison, the 2022 announcement by Winnebago that can travel 125 miles per charge will be well over $100,000. It appears that number will be increasing exponentially as time passes before they build a model RV.
Will There Be Any Budget Electric RVs?
It is hard to say if Winnebago or any other manufacturer will be producing a ‘budget’ EV-RV anytime soon. As with most new technologies, the price may drop when the electric model is mass-produced and becomes more popular with the common RV crowd. Inroads into battery sizes and costs will also have to evolve and improve to bring manufacturing costs down. But, it will be years before we might see a ‘stripped’ model electric RV for budget-minded campers.
When Are Electric RVs Coming on the Market?
Winnebago has not started production on their concept EV-RV, but they stated that they will have a more specific timeframe for its manufacture by the end of 2022. It’s a guess to say that the first model will be seen by 2024, as the company continues to improve its battery usage in the current designs.
Is An Electric RV Worth the Ticket Price?
To some avid fans of electric vehicles, the eventual cost of an EV-RV will always be worth it, no matter the price. But common campers will still be scratching their heads, wondering how they can take a cross-country camping trip in a fully electric vehicle that only gets 125 miles per charge. For those RVers who take their rigs out for weekend trips to local attractions, the lure of an electric RV will be exciting. However, until they get batteries that can support longer distances, these rigs may interest only a few.
Are electric RVs on your radar? Drop a comment below!
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