The Winnebago name is synonymous with vanlife, making its new all-electric eRV2 remarkable for an industry based on diesel engines. It’s only a prototype, but it’s fully functional and actually underway with a fleet of customers for six months of field testing. The input from these early experiences will ultimately inform the final design of the eRV and help usher in an era of #eVanlife.
The eRV2 is a successor to the eRV concept announced last year. It is built around the Ford E-Transit chassis and has a range of 174 km (108 miles) with its 68 kWh battery. Yes, that’s flimsy for a vehicle used far from EV charging grids by adventure seekers, but good for field testing a prototype I think. Winnebago says it is “actively pursuing range expansion opportunities” for the production model.
The electric van can generate up to 900W of solar power from the panels installed on the roof to keep its very large 48V / 15kWh house battery charged. The battery is installed flat under the floor to save living space. Even assuming that these panels actually produce 900W under ideal conditions (which is nowhere near possible in the RV world), it would take around 17 hours to charge the house battery from zero to full, and another 76 hours, to charge the main battery. It’s a shame the eRV2 isn’t a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle that would offer a lot more flexibility, but let’s see what Winnebago actually delivers in the future.
A new version of Winnebago Connect provides real-time control and monitoring of the energy system via both a dedicated touchscreen console and an app. It turns the eRV2 into a smart home on wheels, giving owners detailed control over lighting, temperature, and other AC or DC powered devices like pumps and exhaust fans.
“Our primary goal in building the eRV2 was to help people explore the world around them in comfort and with less environmental impact,” said Huw Bower, president of the Winnebago brand. “User experience has been at the core of the development of this prototype, since the early days of market research and even now during field testing.”
You can take the eRV2 out for a 15-minute test drive if you attend the Florida RV SuperShow in Tampa through Sunday.