Winnebago has entered the electric vehicle race with the first all-electric zero-emission campervan concept from a major RV manufacturer, unveiled today at the Florida RV SuperShow in Tampa.
The e-RV was developed over a two-year period by the company’s Advanced Technology Group and is a fully functional, all-electric vehicle that has been tested for over 10,000 road miles. It has a range of 125 miles per charge, which doesn’t sound like much, but Winnebago says that should satisfy about half of RV buyers who prefer trips under 200 miles.
“This is an exciting time for Winnebago Industries and the outdoor lifestyle industry as a whole. We are proud to continue our innovation legacy with the reveal of the e-RV concept vehicle,” said Michael Happe, Winnebago Industries president and chief executive officer.
The e-RV is not just thrown together on a major brand van chassis, Winnebago designed it from the ground up to help discover what an electric motorhome truly could be. It starts with the Ford Transit platform that has been modified with an advanced electrical power system from Lightning e Motors that powers the drivetrain, vehicle controls and living quarters.
In-vehicle appliances are said to optimize energy usage and battery performance with 350 volts DC being fed to the water heater and roof-mounted air conditioner with heat pump. There’s an induction cooktop, and a bi-powered marine-grade compressor fridge that can run on DC or 110-volt AC.
The 125-mile range is admittedly short, but Winnebago expects evolving battery technology to improve over the coming years. Currently, the 86-kWh battery configuration can be charged in about 45 minutes at a high-capacity charging station.
But it’s not just about the battery power. The e-RV is loaded with other technical goodies, like systems that can be monitored from a phone or tablet, a residential grade dual-modem wifi router.
Materials throughout the e-RV concept vehicle are selected with a preference for sustainability, with recycled cork-rubber flooring and woolen wall coverings.
“Consumer demand is driving electric power applications across many fronts, and we believe RV consumers are poised to benefit from the enhanced features and usability that electrified and connected RV products will provide,” said Ashis Bhattacharya, Winnebago Industries senior vice president, Business Development, Advanced Technology and Enterprise Marketing. “Winnebago Industries has an ongoing mission to listen to and learn from our customers as we continue refining, exploring, and innovating, and the e-RV concept vehicle is a perfect example of this.