Airstream’s electric RV concepts for eco-friendly road trips

Airstream owner Thor Industries has hinted at future plans with two new concept electric RVs, both shown in the video below.

The most notable of the two designs is the eStream trailer, which includes an electric powertrain with high-capacity lithium batteries that eases the strain on the vehicle towing it.

Electric motors attached to each of the eStream’s wheels power up when it starts moving, enabling the towing vehicle to save battery power and maintain range (or save fuel if they’ve yet to get an EV).

Another trick is the remote mode that lets the owner use a smartphone app to steer the eStream slowly (and very carefully) to a precise spot after unhitching it from the vehicle.

But it doesn’t end there. Airstream’s modern travel trailer also features solar panels that enable off-grid camping for extended periods, while the modern interior comes with voice- and touchscreen-activated climate and lighting controls.

Designed and built in partnership with its European subsidiary Erwin Hymer Group and tech company ZF, Thor said the eStream “addresses the top concern of electric vehicle users — range limitation.”

The Indiana-based company elaborated: “Studies have established that electric vehicles experience a significant loss of range even when towing a small trailer. The technology we co-developed creates a synchronized relationship between the trailer and the tow vehicle, enabling the trailer to move in harmony with the tow vehicle … This, in turn, dramatically improves the possible range of the combination. In essence, we’ve turned the trailer into an electric vehicle.”

Josef Hjelmaker, Thor’s chief innovation officer, described the eStream’s technology as “game-changing for our industry and others.”

Airstream’s other concept is the Vision Vehicle, a sleek, lightweight, electric motorhome powered by high-capacity lithium-ion batteries that give it an impressive range of 300 miles. The Vision Vehicle’s digital elements are highlighted in the videos below.

Whether Thor decides to mass produce these exact models remains to be seen, but at the very least, variations on the designs seem like a distinct possibility. They won’t come cheap, of course, but for monied folks keen for an eco-friendly road trip, one of these stylish RVs would certainly be an exciting option.

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