You Can Buy This Zero-Emission RV

With work schedules being more flexible than ever, the outdoor lifestyle brand Winnebago is seizing the moment with their one-of-a-kind fully electric RV.
Written by Clare Behe
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Mar 27, 2022
If you love camping, road trips to beautiful hiking spots, and traversing the great outdoors, you're probably frustrated with the conundrum of needing to dose the land in CO2 emissions to get to your campsite of choice. 
Well, no need to stay under house arrest every summer here on out; Winnebago is
coming to the rescue
! Their entirely electric, zero-emission e-RV camper concept was just revealed at this year’s Florida RV SuperShow — and it’s a show-stopper.

Measly morphin’ power range

For starters, it’s not only the motor that’s battery-powered. All
within the camper are fueled by the RV’s own 86 kWh battery pack. Early reviews have logged the 125-mile range of the e-RV as a negative, but given that it’s also running high-speed WiFi, a full shower and bath, HVAC system, and a modern kitchenette, their complaints seem nitpicky. 
Furthermore, Winnebago has proactively commented on the low-end range capabilities of the e-RV, noting that the version unveiled in Florida is merely a concept. In effect, they’re banking on the likelihood that by the time genuine e-RVs are on the assembly line, battery technology will have advanced. 
According to a
Winnebago made at the show, the ultimate goal for battery capacity is the 200-mile range. A 2021 report from the RV Industry Association surveyed 800 RV enthusiasts, 54% of which reported a preference for traveling
within 200 miles
of home. 
Winnebago also claims that the finished product will be able to reach a full charge at high-speed charging stations within an hour. Given the need for human pitstops, whether one is a diehard road tripper or not, it’s not unreasonable to expect drivers to incorporate brief charging sessions into their itinerary. 

Beautifully sustainable

Oh, and don’t for a second think that Winnebago sacrificed sustainability for aesthetics. The wool trimming of the camper’s walls works as a
powerful insulator
, though one would never be able to suspect its practical function judging by the cool, minimalist appearance. 
Even the camper floors are deceptively chic, presenting as a trendy, warm neutral shade. However, this Farrow and Ball-worthy coloring comes from the floor’s material; recycled rubberized cork. Like the walls, the cork floors will double as thermal insulation.

A new kind of “tiny house” on wheels?

No price has been set for the e-RV, and while tax credits and minimal maintenance costs are powerful balms, they surely will not be cheap. All of Winnebago’s models currently on the market are over $100,000. Then again, the sting of a price tag is all about perspective: with housing costs skyrocketing and the Covid-19 pandemic disrupting ties to physical workplaces, could we see an uptick of Millennials and Gen-Zers opting for an environmentally friendly version of van life?
If the e-RV’s lifespan is anything like the immortal gas-powered campers of the nineties, then combined with low maintenance costs and the option for frequent money-saving upgrades, this could be a rare combination of a wise and fun investment.
There are competitors to the e-RV emerging, but like Winnebago, they’re mostly promises of what’s to come. The
Bowlus Road Chief Terra Firma
is the closest comparison. However, it’s a trailer alone, requiring the purchaser to already own a vehicle with the horsepower to drag it around. And at a starting price of $265,000, it might be hard to find someone with the assets to make it happen.
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