You probably see a few plug-in electric vehicles every day on your morning commute. You’ve heard about transport companies exploring ways to turn their tractor-trailers into electric versions. Well, what about the RV industry? There is no doubt that there should be a more eco-friendly way to haul your 4,500 kg fifth-wheel across Canada. What types of options are available right now?
The European Market is Ahead of the Curve
While the Canadian and American RV markets are beginning to think about a plug-in EV alternative to the diesel-guzzling busses, you can buy a small plug-in camper van if you live in the EU or Britain.
Fiat introduced a plug-in version of their Ducato conversion van for 2020 that offers an extended driving range of up to 238 km. Sussex Campervans out of Great Britain have retrofitted a Nissan Van and eliminated both the LP appliances and gas engine. Another conversion company from the UK known as Wellhouse Leisure turned a Ford Transit into a plug-in EV with a range of 300 miles.
You should note that while all of this sounds promising, having one of these rare beasts imported to Canada can be difficult or impossible.
A Winnebago Built for Business is On the Open Road
Now, the iconic American motorhome manufacturer Winnebago thought it should begin to research what it would take to bring green technology to its Class-A products. In 2018, they launched their test all-electric Winnebago for commercial applications. Able to travel up to 200 km on a full charge, it was designed as a mobile conference room or community center, without the usual bath, kitchen and master bedroom found in most Class-A coaches. Built on the Ford F53 platform, it can be ordered with or without a slide. The latest reports still have the camper-friendly version sitting on the design table.
The Tesla H is in Development
While Tesla launched its Cybertruck with an available fifth-wheel hitch, it has yet to deliver any of the half-million pre-orders. Also in the Tesla concept pages is the Tesla H, a fully-electric small mobile home that more closely matches a conversion van with luxury appointments. The concept drawing looks amazing and the goal is to have a functional range of 800 km. Projected prices start at $250,000, give or take. Just take a number and expect to wait.
OzXCorp Adds an e-Drive to the Off-Road Camper Trailer
From Down Under comes the travel trailer able to practically tow itself. OzXCorp introduced a line of customizable trailers that include a battery-powered assist motor on the trailer wheels. This can greatly improve fuel economy for the tow vehicle and enable the camper to reach sites that were previously out of consideration. Other manufacturers of travel trailers around the world are exploring the possibility of adding an e-assist motor and battery pack to extend dry-camping abilities without the need for a generator or electrical connection.
The Canadian Made ProLite eVolt Travel Trailer
We can’t talk about all-electric RVs without mentioning Roulotte ProLite in Quebec. Roulotte actually has two different all-electric travel trailers, one of which has been in production for a while now, and their all new for 2021 ProLite E-Volt. This light-weight RV, weighing 1,900 pounds, can be towed by most SUVs on the market today. The E-Volt trailer uses renewable energy with its four 100-watt solar panels, 3,000-watt inverter and powerful 250-amp lithium battery. It converts your 12-volt energy into electrical power and runs all your household appliances. Its bathroom/shower area and its fresh, grey and black 15-gallon water tanks provide all the independence you need.
Solar Panels Can Electrify Your Current Travel Trailer
So, you are not going to be able to run down to your Toronto RV dealer and take home an all-electric wonder this year, but you can do some eco-friendly retrofits on your existing mobile home. Eliminate the need for a generator when camping away from the resort with a set of solar panels that cost about $1,000. When properly mounted, the panels can recharge your onboard battery system and provide enough juice for lights, the kitchen, fans, and the entertainment center. You will need to upgrade the inverter and battery pack to accommodate your air conditioning system.
While you had a great thought, the reality of a fully electric RV is not quite realized for the Canadian market. It is coming and eventually, the electrical hookup at your favourite resort will be doing more than providing lights and A/C while you sleep. So, load up the kids in last year’s camper and take to the open road. A more eco-friendly RV will catch up to you sooner or later.