Electric Winnebago: Motorhome maker launches all-electric RV

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Iconic US motorhome maker takes “first step” towards electrification with all-electric commercial RV platform.

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Promising news this week for green-minded grey nomads, and other #vanlife devotees, with the announcement from iconic recreational vehicle maker Winnebago that it is launching an all-electric RV platform.

The American company whose name is synonymous with motorhomes said on Monday that it had partnered with Motiv Power Systems to develop an all-electric/zero emissions commercial vehicle.

But while these electric RVs are big – available at 10m and 12m in length (pictured above) – Winnebago stresses that they are not quite an electric motor home. And this seems to come down to range.

According to the company, significant road testing has been conducted on the electric commercial vehicle, and has found that the six to eight batteries can deliver a range of between 85 to 125 miles (136-201km) on a full charge.

So while Winnebago’s electric commercial vehicle offers the option for slide rooms, air-conditioning, solar panels, inverters, power back-up systems, toilets, showers, and other plumbing, it is not recommended for epic family road-trips, just yet.

Says Winnebago, “the vehicle is suited for urban and semi-urban short range commercial applications like mobile medical clinics, bloodmobiles, mobile classrooms and mobile outreach vehicles.”

The news is nonetheless exciting, as the shift to electrified transport spreads across more and more vehicle manufacturers, and extends to more and more different vehicle types – like Elon Musk’s game-changing Tesla Semi, which would have a range of 500km, or even 800kms.

And that strongly suggests that a fully-electric, proper Winnebago motorhome that can travel distances could not be far off.

“Winnebago Industries is a company that is focused on creating customer value through innovation and technology,” said Ashis Bhattacharya, head of Winnebago’s specialty vehicles division.

“We have a rich history of product and feature innovation, and we are continuously evaluating new and emerging technologies to further that legacy.

:We believe that all-electric vehicle applications continue to evolve to serve numerous end-user needs and this is our first step as a participant in this space.”

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28 Comments
  1. john 10 months ago

    RV are used by Gray Nomads to travel perhaps up to 2000 kilometers; what use is a vehicle that does (136-201km) on a full charge. How about they give it a distance of about 300 to 400 Kilometers. 200 is frankly useless that is under 3 hours this is not exactly a good solution.
    Typical of a company that has no idea about the market place it is targeting.
    Yes they are away for 2 or 3 months but NO they do not do it in each place over that time.
    Perhaps they looked at that 2000 kilometers and thought or OK they do that over 2 or 3 months so 200 km is enough well no old friend they want to get to their destination in a few days not in 10 days duh.
    So frankly I feel this offering will not find a market unless it is short distance people who only want to go 150 km which I would say is a tiny little bit of the market, only for those visiting kids a town away like 150 km away.
    If you want to target people who buy RV’s give it range because believe it or not they actually do large distances.

    • George Darroch 10 months ago

      If you had read the article, you would realise that the manufacturer sells quite a few of their vehicles as platforms for mobile clinics, police RBT trucks, mobile education etc. Those vehicles are often only going 20-100km in a day.

      https://winnebagoind.com/products/specialty-vehicles/2016/specialty-vehicles/overview

      You would also have read that they’re not targeting the mobile-living demographic just yet.

      • john 10 months ago

        YES George you are correct I only read down to the distance and then though are you kidding. I did not read the rest of the article so YES i am incorrect as you point out i apologize to you as I usually should make a more judgmental and sensible argument.
        In this case i am shown as making a comment that is not in any way in any way salient to the subject of the article.
        So all I can say is I totally stuffed up on my comment; hint to me { read the article before you go make some comment }
        Thank you for the reality check.

    • Timmeh 10 months ago

      Good old rant without actually reading the article. Pretty dumb.

      • stucrmnx120fshwf 10 months ago

        It will encourage induction charging, he might say where are they going to stay, on all these stops after all, how about the Winnebago itself, some people, like to keep it down to an hour at a time driving, stop, revive survive. Sleep, watch TV, read, eat, go to the toilet, stretch your legs, ride a bike, with rapid charging, it can be as fast as the commercial breaks, on TV, buses have been built, that charge, in 80 seconds.

      • john 10 months ago

        True I admit that i read only down to the distance for the RV as it is not a RV my mistake sorry.

    • B&J Lakey 10 months ago

      You miss the point John. All companies have to start somewhere and give them credit for do so. Next generation will guild on the data from this first generation and will as a consequence have greater distance, reliability, flexibility and so on.

      • john 10 months ago

        Yes i did the point is a short distance facility not for RV my mistake I stuffed it up.

    • My_Oath 10 months ago

      They address this. Perhaps…. read the article next time?

      • john 10 months ago

        MY wrong I am sorry.

    • Mike Dill 10 months ago

      As I am soon to be retired, my daily travel requirement will actually be very small, and I am willing to go 200km a day or less, with plenty of rest stops. As you note, 2000km might take a month, which, if I am not in a hurry, will be just fine. Not having to pay for petrol is a big incentive.

      What I really want: Dual ‘Model 3’ drive motors, with a 200 kWh ‘new roadster’ battery pack. That is nearly a Tesla ‘semi’ configuration. Should get about 300km from that setup with the horrible aerodynamics of a big ‘box’.

      Supercharging eliminates your ‘range anxiety’ concerns.

      • john 10 months ago

        Yes I was wrong

    • john 10 months ago

      I only read to the distance for the vehicle and made a mistake my apologies.

    • Brian Tehan 10 months ago

      Yes, as the article says they’re not suitable as a long distance motor home.

  2. Diego Matter 10 months ago

    Winnebago says, “the vehicle is suited for urban and semi-urban short range commercial applications like mobile medical clinics, bloodmobiles, mobile classrooms and mobile outreach vehicles.”

  3. Ian 10 months ago

    A nice big sheet of solar panels across the top would be great on buses like these, with an option of a slide out solar / shade canopy.

    • Ruben 10 months ago

      At most, you’d get 2kW on there, so let’s assume 10kWh/day (more likely to be used in summer than winter).
      Optimistically, a Tesla S will take 200Wh/km, so if this thing takes three times as much energy to move, it will still be able to move 17km/day on solar alone.
      Not much, but if you’re stopping for multiple days and then driving a little bit, it would certainly make a bit of a difference.

      • Ian 10 months ago

        Understood. Some range is better than none. Longer stops are great for holiday’s:)

  4. Peter Foster 10 months ago

    John, you are not totally wrong, I am at the moment doing a 2,800 k trip and have 7/8 days in a bus originally built for short distances (school bus) all be it highly modifided for long distances, some people will look at these things for a conversion as they cant afford to part with 1 to 300,000 bucks for a used Winabago so in my case you are right on the money or should I say kilometers.If they are not suitable for motorhomes why headline them as such ( the only reason I read the story) All Electric RV. If they are not a Recretional Vehicle and they are a Commercial vehicle be say so in the header not half way through the artical.

    • Bee in my Bono Bonnet 10 months ago

      Yes, you are right, but, as the article says: at the very least it is the long overdue start for which we have been waiting, and so is exciting for all that anyway.

      • Peter Foster 10 months ago

        Not practical, cant see the powers that be put in 3 (500k range) let alone 6 (200 k range) charging stations just to cross the nullabour, as for the tesla semi will be a non event in Australia for long distance operators as they are looking for range out of their trucks not spend 3 to 4 hours down time to recharge, a lot of companies (hot seat) they have their drivers do their legal 12/14 hours jump out of the truck and another driver gets in for the next stint the truck does not stop, because a truck does not make money sitting at a fuel/charging station. To make them a viable thing freight charges would have to be raised by at least 20% an the public does not like paying the current rates so I doubt that will happen, the savings in diesel are eaten up in the increased cost of buying an E Truck and down time charging. Speaking from my experience over 1600 klms a day 7 days a week, two drivers, one 15/20 minute fuel stop, total trip time 21/23 hours, never going to do that in a Tesla. Dont get me wrong EVs would be great around cities but that is it, and 90% of transport and nomads travelling is not done in the city.

  5. EdBCN 10 months ago

    combine that with self-driving and you have an motor home that takes you where you want while you sleep, avoids campground cost and lets you spend your days having fun instead of driving around.

  6. nickgen 10 months ago

    Hybrids make the most sense. Have gas or diesel as an option when out of electric. Regenerative braking, solar,-pup up small wind turbine if possible. Hydrogen also is coming-combine them.

    • demonkey 9 months ago

      Pop up wind tubine, while it’s moving? Because that doesn’t work.

      Also I think hybrids are not the most sensible. They are MUCH more complicated than electric alone.

      • nickgen 9 months ago

        NOT while its’ moving-when still in a breeze. That’s why it would pop up and not always be up.

        • demonkey 9 months ago

          It’s a good idea in theory but from my research I’ve found that a wind turbine needs to be rather BIG, very tall (40 feet min, 80+ is ideal) and quite heavy in order to achieve any meaningful power generation. It is a better idea to install solar/wind at the places people typically camp or park RVs and use their power instead so you can build bigger green tech at those places rather than carry all the complexity and weight with you. I do like the idea of solar on the roof of this RV, even if it’s slow to add range. You’re camping and parked anyway, might as well add some range. But a lot of places people camp (IE, the woods) have poor solar performance due to trees

          • nickgen 9 months ago

            You probably have not seen the small vertical axis ones being made now.

          • demonkey 9 months ago

            If you expect to have a peak of 3000 watts even, it’s about 12 feet tall and weighs over 1000 lbs. Are you going to bring a crane to mount it on the 1000 lb structure you’ve dragged along and assembled to hold it safely? It needs to be mounted about 20 feet off the ground and needs serious wind to generate anything. The biggest portable wind turbine you could expect to be able to assemble and pop into the air (~30 lbs) would be about 300 watts and still require excellent wind and a lot of hardware to safely mount. It probably wouldn’t generate enough power over 8 hours to drive the RV across the parking lot.

            Wind turbines are good for permanent structures. They are simply not portable due to weight, size, height and safety requirements. Yes, perhaps they can generate enough power to run a radio or some lights. But not an RV’s drive motors.

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