Winnebago’s name is synonymous with vanlife, which makes its new all-electric eRV2 notable for an industry built on top of diesel engines. It’s just a prototype, but this one is fully operational and actually on the road with a fleet of customers for six months of field testing. Input from those early experiences will ultimately inform the eRV’s final design and help kick off an era of #eVanlife in the process.
The eRV2 is a follow-up to the eRV concept announced last year. It’s built around the Ford E-Transit chassis with a range of 108 miles (174km) from its 68kWh battery. Yes, that’s paltry for a vehicle that will be used by adventure seekers far away from EV charging networks but fine for field testing a prototype, I guess. Winnebago does say that it’s “actively pursuing range extension opportunities” for the production model.
The electric van can produce 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 on living space. Even assuming those panels are actually producing 900W under ideal conditions (which isn’t even close to 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, which would offer much more flexibility, but let’s see what Winnebago actually ships in the future.
A new version of Winnebago Connect provides real-time control and monitoring over the power system from both a dedicated touchscreen console and app. It turns the eRV2 into a smart home on wheels, giving owners granular control over lights, temperature, and other AC- or DC-powered devices like pumps and exhaust fans.
“Our primary goal in building the eRV2 was to help people comfortably explore the world around them with less environmental impact,” said Huw Bower, president of the Winnebago brand. “The user experience was at the heart of this prototype’s development, through the early days of market research and even now as it goes through field testing.”
You can take the eRV2 for a 15-minute test drive if you’re attending the Florida RV SuperShow in Tampa through Sunday.