As promised, Winnebago took the wraps off an all-new electric RV concept at the Florida RV Super Show in Tampa, this week – and it is significantly more advanced and capable than their first attempt, from back in 2018. And, while Winnebago is calling this a “concept” for now, it looks like it’s ready to hit the open road.
Built by the company’s Advanced Technology Group (ATG), the Winnebago e-RV concept is a fully functional, all-electric motorhome that its makers claim “redefines efficiency, comfort, and functionality.” And they might not be far off.
The e-RV concept is built off the proven Ford Transit platform, making use of that vehicle’s body, chassis, and suspension. It’s interesting to note that the Winnebago team doesn’t seem to have started with Ford’s electric e-Transit model, opting instead to work with the commercial upfitters at Lightning e Motors, who have fitted the e-RV with “an advanced electrical power system from that powers the drivetrain, vehicle controls, and living quarters.”
Winnebago claims its 86 kWh battery is good for 125 miles of range and a stated charge time of 45 minutes at a DC fast charger. Winnebago claims that’s enough to cover 54% of RV owners’ stated preference of keeping daily drives to “about 200 miles,” according to company research.
That’s not spectacular, but since the Ford e-Transit claims up to 126 miles of range for its low-roof cargo van, and Lightning claims 170 miles for its “Lightning Electric Transit” passenger van (and, assuming the e-RV concept falls somewhere in between the two in terms of weights and loads), that 125 seems easily achievable.
For their part, Winnebago execs seem genuinely excited by the e-RV’s prospects. “This is an exciting time for Winnebago Industries and the outdoor lifestyle industry as a whole,” says Michael Happe, Winnebago Ind. president and CEO. “We are proud to continue our innovation legacy with the reveal of the e-RV concept vehicle.”
Winnebago lists a number of high-end galley amenities (read: kitchen appliances), including a modern, marine-grade refrigerator; slide-out induction cooktop that heats up faster than gas stoves, with more convenience and safety; and matte black sink fixtures. The full wet bathroom includes a toilet and contemporary fixtures like a detachable, handheld showerhead.
Finishing materials like cabinets and carpets throughout the e-RV concept vehicle were selected with a preference for eco-friendly and sustainable options, which included a recycled cork-rubber flooring and woolen wall appliques to enhance thermal and sound insulation, keeping the all-electric Winnebago quiet, even when it’s not running.
As one of my colleagues said, “Electric RV’s – so hot right now.” And he is right. As the benefits of electrification and the higher voltage systems that come with it start to flex their muscles over the antiquated 12V systems in ICE vehicles, the people who have the most to gain – campers and work crews – are starting to come around.
All we need to do now is get that range to about 250 miles (200 miles while towing) and we might actually have something.
Source | Images: Winnebago Ind.
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