The electric or zero-emission vehicles are starting to appear in the RV world with an unveiling of the eRV2 by Winnebago at the Florida RV Trade Association (FRVTA) Tampa SuperShow.
This is not a new concept, but rather an upgrade of the eRV that was displayed last year as a prototype. The original vehicle was on a traditional Ford Transit Van that was shipped to Colorado and Lightning EMotor took out the engine and fuel tank and retrofitted one of their electric motors and drive trains. This vehicle was sent out on a 1400-mile “test drive” last year starting in Washington DC and ending at the Winnebago headquarters in Eden Prairie, MN. This is the first 1000+ mile trip for an all-electric RV in the US.
The estimated driving time for the eRV was 125 miles however that time could be shorter if encountering wind and steep grades, or lower with flat land driving and the regenerative braking feature that actually helps charge the batteries when going down a steep grade. The unit is part of Winnebago’s “Advanced Technology Group” and my conversation with several Winnebago Product Engineers on the project stated that they realize the short driving time is not an ideal situation and that is why it is a prototype. Winnebago decided rather than sit and wait for a longer-drive vehicle they would start now and iron out the deficiencies to be more prepared when a more advanced battery system and longer drive times are available.
Currently, a level 3, 350-watt roadside charger will fully recharge the battery in 45 minutes. The vehicle can also be plugged into a campground source or residential but will take overnight to charge. Winnebago partnered with Lithonic Technologies for the house system batteries placed horizontally in the floor to not take up living space in such a small unit. With the 900w solar panel system, it can boondock for 7 days! This is a prototype and not available for sale so there is no MSRP.
Thor Industries, one of the largest in the market, introduced the Vision last year at the Tampa SuperShow which is a blend of an electric drivetrain combined with a hydrogen fuel cell that has an estimated 300-mile range. Thor worked with Roush Industries and Watt Imperium since they acquired Hymer so this has been in the works for a while. The challenge with this vehicle is finding a hydrogen refueling station. Although there are several hundred in Europe, fewer are in the United States. Most lists available only show locations in California. However, it is also a prototype and not available for sale yet.
Ford F-150 “Lightning”
Hybrids and all-electric cars and trucks have been teasing us for the past few years and Ford came out with the F-150 Lightning model that boasts a range of 230 miles or up to 300 with the battery upgrade. It also boasts a towing capacity of 10,000 lbs however there is no data about how many miles it can tow that weight as I would imagine towing anything behind it would reduce the drive time of the batteries.
According to a Motor Trend tow test, an 8500 lb trailer could only be towed for 30 minutes. Chevrolet tested a prototype 2024 Silverado with a Keystone Cougar and posted a testimonial on YouTube, however, there was no mention of the drive. Check out the review on YouTube.
About the author: Dave Solberg: Managing Editor, RV Repair Club
For the last 25 years, Dave has conducted RV maintenance and safety seminars, developed dealer and owner training programs, written RV safety and handyman articles authored an RV handbook reference guide, and logged over 100,000 miles on the road in an RV.
RV Repair Club is your go-to online resource for enthusiasts who want quality RV maintenance, repair and upgrade information – a community where passionate RVers can come together to gather knowledge and share their experiences.
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