Are electric motorhomes a thing? The switch to electric-powered everything has slowly been integrating itself into society over the past decade. In recent years more and more electric-powered vehicles have hit the roads. The RV world is no different.
The world knows it can’t function on fossil fuels forever, and truthfully electric vehicles are a superior driving experience. The innovation to transition to electric is impressive, especially with electric motorhomes now hitting the market.
Though only a handful of models are available to the public, we should expect to see them trending in the future. Let’s explore a few questions to help paint a clearer picture of what’s happening with electric motorhomes today.
Is There an Electric Motorhome?
In short, yes. There are quite a few companies in the race to produce the best and most efficient electric motorhome on the road. Winnebago, Airstream, Mercedes, and Thor all have some promising designs, as well as a handful of others too.
The coolest concept on the table is the Airstream electric travel trailer. This super tech-savvy trailer even parks itself. The electric Airstream trailer may be one of the most feasible and useful designs, as you don’t have to worry about designing an electric engine with towing power.
Why Are RV Manufacturers Developing Electric Motorhomes?
Manufacturers are now developing electric motorhomes because of the need. Just like any business, you have to work to provide what consumers want. Electric and solar power are becoming staples in the technology era, and a shift away from fossil fuels is necessary.
Technology has also had time to progress enough that it’s becoming more cost-efficient and feasible to build a large motorhome that functions with ease on electric power. It just makes sense for the industry to make the change.
What Are the Benefits of an Electric Motorhome?
Electric motorhomes have a few benefits over traditional gas or diesel-powered rigs. First of all, they don’t burn liquid fuel, which is becoming more expensive and soon in limited supply. Internal combustion engines have been engineered to the max to burn as clean as possible but probably cannot get much better. Electric is a way forward that allows a vehicle to consume power from many different sources. In fact, we drive an electric car that we have charged off our solar system, diesel generator, and grid, meaning the car has run on solar, diesel, and coal. This is a fantastic way to streamline energy needs and maximize energy independence for the consumers all the way up to nation-states.
Electric RVs also have innovative designs and technology that far exceeds what can be done with an internal combustion engine. One of the biggest benefits is recapturing energy when stopping or going downhill. This can make the vehicle far more efficient than its predecessors and add additional control and safety.
Having a very large battery bank onboard also can double as house power and integrate with solar on the roof. This will significantly improve the livability of the RV.
Electric vehicles also require far less maintenance and repairs, and the recent models can go further than ever before without needing a charge. Charging stations have become more readily available too.
What Are the Disadvantages of an Electric Motorhome?
The clear disadvantage of an electric motorhome is that “fill ups” will take longer You have to know where you can charge the unit, and learning to work with an all-electric rig is quite different.
Additionally, electric motorhomes are also quite expensive currently. You’ll likely pay more for an electric RV, but hopefully, the price swing will level out as they become more commonplace. The rise of electric RVs is just in its infancy, but the starting lineup holds much promise.
Is There a Tesla RV?
Kind Of, Tesla has an RV concept, and it’s exciting to imagine. If you haven’t heard, Tesla has designed the CyberTruck. In short, it’s an all-electric truck promised to travel around 500 miles between charges with the special tech-savvy Tesla flare.
Tesla’s RV breakthrough comes alongside the CyberTruck in the form of an add-on. Tesla calls the addition camping mode. In camping mode, the CyberTruck will open up to support a tented sleeping area and a pull-out cooking area.
Since they have not provided any information on cyber truck availability, however, this all is yet to be seen and is just a concept.
Pro Tip: Are Tesla charging stations just for Tesla Models? We uncovered if you can Charge Your RV at Tesla Charging Stations.
How Much Will Electric Motorhomes Cost?
Electric motorhomes will fetch a hefty price once they reach the mainstream market. Most models today are just concepts, but the release to the public is coming soon.
Most likely, an all-electric RV will cost more than a couple hundred thousand dollars at first, depending on the vehicle. You may find some electric trailers for much less, but a drivable model will not be cheap.
Are There Hybrid Motorhomes?
The Globevan E-hybrid camper van is a gas and electric motorhome. It has a range of around 50 kilometers on electricity, but you can switch to fuel and allow the batteries to charge back up while driving. It’s pretty fancy. However, it doesn’t look like you can purchase them in the United States. It seems Europe is ahead of the power curve.
Pro Tip: Don’t have an electric RV, but want to slowly start changing your motorhome to be more sustainable? Learn more about How To Use Portable Solar Panels On Your RV.
Is an Electric Motorhome Worth It?
If you’re wondering whether or not investing in an electric motorhome is worth it, you have to consider a few things. They’re new to the market. The newness means that there will be plenty of room for improvement and that the price won’t be affordable yet.
Giving the market some time to become more accustomed to electric RVs might be the best choice, but there does have to be an interest to make forward progress in the industry. Someone has to buy them.
Overall, it is and isn’t worth it to purchase an electric motorhome. If you have the money to spare, invest in the advancement of the product by buying one. If you have a tight budget, find a good gas-powered model that suits your needs.
Would you buy an electric motorhome? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!
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Sunday 31st of July 2022
Realize that new technologies have to start somewhere, and that there will be “teething problems” as their acceptance and adaptation take place. But the problem with EVs in general is how they are being forced upon us by ignorant governments long before they are viable, practical and affordable for most people. The electric grid is not fully capable in most places to handle much greater electrical loads, nor is clean generation of electricity (in higher volumes) even close to being a reality as most is still generated by coal, oil and natural gas.
But my issues with EVs and EV RVs include:
Fuel prices – Electricity rates will rise just as much as petroleum fuels have – because of: 1st – Supply & demand. As demand for electricity increases so will it’s cost. It is already approaching $.50 /kWh in CA. Increased demand will necessitate more power plants and a more robust grid to distribute it in higher volumes – hence higher electrical rates. 2nd – Most electricity is still produced from coal and natural gas. As prices for these fuels increase (they already have) then the price of electricity will also rise. Just look how electrical rates soared temporarily in the Texas ice storm of 2021.
Virtually all current state charging stations are designed for passenger car EVs – not motor homes, towables or semis - which take up many lanes. Future designs should improve on this but they are not yet around. And it is also very ironic that there are some EV charging stations powered by a large diesel generator sitting right behind them – how ironic! How clean!!
RV campground charging – Do not think there are many (if any) RV parks with extra electrical capacity to charge even auto EVs. Certainly not for any much higher capacity EV RVs. And doubt if many would be willing (or able) to totally re-wire their park to accommodate realistic demands of EV charging. Since many RV parks are in remote locations can those remote grids even supply the extra amps (A LOT !) required if the park wanted to enhance their electrical supply? Away from RV parks there are also fewer charging stations available in general.
Electric grid less robust:
Range limits. Current state ranges on the newest Rivian, Ford or Tesla pickups are very limited when towing. Recently read about a couple driving halfway cross country using an EV pickup to tow a trailer. Ended up having to stop every 100 miles to re-charge – which could then take hours. Found many broken charging stations and very few high capacity DC chargers. And they often felt very guilty of taking up so much space in parking lots / charging lanes while they did charge.
Largest benefit of EVs – automotive, RV or Semi - is regenerative braking. My favorite current technology is the plug-in Hybrid as it allows the best of both technologies while removing range anxiety.
Bottom line – It is still “early days” for EV technology in trucks and RV’s. Over time technologies will improve batteries, vehicle efficiencies and charging – but the one critical area no one is really addressing is electricity generation and distribution (the grid). While some of California has already experienced rolling blackouts due to summer time demand, they are still planning to shut down their one remaining nuclear plant by 2025. (Their solution after that? - buy power from Wyoming wind & coal power plants!!) And recently Tesla notified many of their Texas owners to not charge their vehicles during peak hours – not enough electricity!
One really necessary solution is to go back to nuclear plants (modern versions) – but no one wants to address that even though the need for much greater clean electrical generation is highly recognized – and even mandated. Like many other technologies nuclear power electrical generation has improved over time, becoming much safer and efficient. And smaller scale plants are also more viable, enabling plants to be located closer to usage, reducing long range transmission losses.
I am not at all against EVs in any form – but the mandated push towards this technology and away from ICE vehicles is insane. Beyond the well-known EV affordability and practical issues for most people electrical generation and distribution is just not sufficient or robust enough to support this mandated increased demand from EVs. For consumer EV acceptance to occur those products have to become affordable, reliable, practical and offer the same, or better, benefits over what current state ICE vehicles offer. The free market can do that – over time – but not in the face of unrealistic, unaffordable government mandates pushing impractical, expensive and unreliable solutions to the exclusion of all else.
And no one has even started to address the agricultural reliance on diesel. Moving that industry to electricity involves a whole different set of issues.
Mortons on the Move
Sunday 7th of August 2022
All valid points, and the switch to EV will probably not happen quickly if ever fully for many reasons you mentioned. However as an option for those who want it another vehicle type on the road is not a bad thing.
Saturday 30th of July 2022
Yes but not right now. The cost versus benefit is not there yet. When I bought my boat had a choice of diesel or gas. I can buy a lot of gas for the price difference, and the same can be said for the cost of an electric RV.