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.
- In-vehicle appliances aligned to optimize energy usage and battery performance while maximizing comfort and functionality. Key elements include 350-volt DC power for the water heater and roof mounted air conditioner with heat pump, 110-volt AC for the induction cooktop and the refrigerator, which can also operate on 12-volt DC power for enhanced flexibility and convenience.
- Flexible battery charging source capabilities, that allow for charging at home, campgrounds and dedicated charging stations. Charging time is around 45-minutes at high-current charging stations.
- Evolving battery technology and applications continue to drive capabilities and mileage range increases are anticipated as the concept vehicle further develops. Currently, an industry standard, 86-kWh battery configuration provides a range of 125 miles while powering on-board systems. This range will meet the needs of a majority (54%) of new RV buyers who prefer to make trips under 200 miles (1).
- An integrated control system that enables operation of subsystems, optimizes load and efficiency, and displays system information and controls on a digital display. The control systems can be monitored through a tablet or smartphone app.
- High performance wireless connectivity through a residential grade wi-fi network via dual-modem router that enables high data streaming levels.
- Premium galley amenities including a modern, marine-grade refrigerator, slide out induction cooktop, and matte black sink fixtures. The bathroom includes a toilet and contemporary fixtures including a detachable, handheld shower head.
- Materials throughout the e-RV concept vehicle are selected with a preference for eco-friendly and sustainable options. This includes sustainable, recycled cork-rubber flooring and woolen wall appliques to enhance thermal and wall insulation.
- A chassis based on a readily available 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.