RVs Are Going Electric

Feb 7, 2022

The RV industry is starting to join the race toward zero emissions.

THOR Industries Inc. and Winnebago Industries Inc. each revealed concepts for electric RVs at the Florida RV SuperShow in Tampa last month. The companies identify electrification as a priority for the next generation of motorhomes and towable trailers.

THOR told Shift that it plans to have an all-electric motorhome for sale next year, with an electric towable trailer to follow. THOR did not reveal pricing estimates.

For Winnebago, "it could be up to two years before a vehicle like this [e-RV] rolls down the road in sizeable numbers," company spokesman Chad Reece said. "But some of its technologies could be seen prior to that. [Electrification] is a natural progression in the RV segment. We hear from consumers they have interest."

Range matters

THOR's Vision Vehicle concept was designed to operate using a high-voltage battery and an integrated fuel cell-based range extender. The Elkhart, Ind., company says the concept could travel up to 300 miles on a single charge while powering onboard systems such as HVAC, lights and entertainment. This range matches the company's research that showed the average RV driver stops every five hours, or about every 300 miles.

The 300-mile distance has another significance: An RV Industry Association survey released last year found that 64 percent of the 800 first-time RV buyers surveyed took trips less than 300 miles from home. Those surveyed bought RVs from April 2020 through the first several weeks of 2021.

While the U.S. charging network is still growing, range anxiety is something RV makers must consider for electric motor homes and towable trailers. THOR considers range anxiety to be the biggest barrier to EV adoption.


Charging up

While RV makers tackle this range issue, the association is working with the RV industry "to make sure the [charging] infrastructure is in place and that national parks and outdoor recreation areas aren't being forgotten as we are putting these investments into EV infrastructure," says association spokesperson Monika Geraci.

View the full article from Automotive News here

Subscribe to News and Insights