Winnebago Is Prepping Itself For The Electric Future

Winnebago Is Prepping Itself For The Electric Future

Winnebago, yes that Winnebago, is jumping onboard the electric vehicle bandwagon in a big way. This week at the RV Super Show in Tampa, Fla. the company unveiled the e-RV, what it is calling the first all-electric zero emission motorhome concept. You can look at it and instantly tell that it’s Ford Transit-based, which makes sense as Ford recently unveiled an electric Transit.

Clearly this is based on the high-roof long-wheelbase Transit chassis, but with a dually rear axle, which as far as I can tell is not offered on the E-Transit builder. Winnebago may have started with a Transit body-in-white from Ford, as it says it sourced the electric motor system from a company called Lightning eMotors.

“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 vehicle’s high-voltage DC battery provides power for the onboard amenities, including a hot water heater and heat-pump/air conditioner. That power can also be converted to standard 110-volt AC to power the fridge and induction cook top. Obviously if you’re camping off-grid, you’ll need to take into account your energy usage, so you have enough range to make it back to civilisation. If you’re parked at a campground, you’ll have shore power, and can use your accessories to your heart’s content, and still wake up with a full charge the next morning.

Image: Winnebago

Interestingly, the 86 kWh battery is larger than the one Ford quotes for the E-Transit, which checks out, as Ford says the high-roof long-wheelbase E-Transit can only do 174 km on a charge, while Winnebago says the e-RV is good for 201 km. That may seem short to you, and honestly to me a bit as well, for an RV, but Winnebago says it has done the research and it should be plenty. “This range will meet the needs of a majority (54%) of new RV buyers who prefer to make trips under 322 km.” Fair play. Winnebago probably knows more about its customers needs than you or I do.

It should make for a pretty leisurely travel day. Maybe run 161 km in the morning, stop for lunch and a charge up, then press on another 161 km to your next camp ground for the night. Honestly, that sounds like a pretty great way to see the Continental United States. What’s the rush? You’re in an RV.

Image: Winnebago

Winnebago says it went all out trying to make this RV as eco-friendly and sustainable as it could. The floors are recycled cork, and the wall appliques are crafted from wool, providing extra insulation as well.

“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.”

Alright, so where are you heading first in your electric RV road trip?