The Ultimate Guide to Electric RVs
Table of Contents
After a sluggish start and years of speculation, fully electric RVs are now a reality. Just imagine piloting a sleek and quiet camper that doesn’t need to stop at the fuel station and has no tailpipe emissions. Is this even possible? Without a doubt, it’s within reach, as electrified campers are already here. In fact, more than a dozen companies are working overtime to make e-RVs a staple of the camping scene.
Although most of the electric RV makers in the US have only revealed concepts, European innovators have already debuted the first fully electric motorhomes. Still, impressive progress is being made worldwide as more startups and seasoned manufacturers venture into this niche.
Of course, when these electric RVs become available for rent, we will be the first to let you know. Meanwhile, use our site Go RV Rentals to find the best RV rentals near you and compare prices.
In this ultimate electric RV guide, we will discuss everything you need to know about electric campers. We will explore the e-RV history, the best electric camper options, top concepts, pros and cons, driving range, and frequently asked questions.
What is an Electric RV?
An electric RV is a motorized recreational vehicle that’s powered by electricity instead of gasoline. It has a battery pack instead of a fuel tank and an electric motor for an engine. So instead of heading to the gas station, you’ll power it at a charging station. Most are powered by lithium-ion batteries, the same type of rechargeable battery used in smartphones, laptops, and electric cars.
In addition, these rigs are built with sustainable and innovative materials to make them more efficient. On top of the advanced technology, they are outfitted with all the basic comforts of home, including sleeping space, a kitchen, and a bathroom.
Do Electric RVs Exist?
Do they make electric-powered RVs? Yes, the German Iridium E-Mobil RV is the world’s first all-electric motorhome available to consumers. Another all-electric RV you can order today is the Mercedes EQV campervan by Tonke.
In the US, electric-powered RVs are still a work in progress. However, those looking to explore the country sustainably have a lot to be excited about. Companies like Winnebago and Thor have made great strides and have electrified RV concepts that are fully drivable and could go on sale to the public in the next 1 to 3 years.
How Do Electric RVs Look Like?
Most electrified RVs are taking the shape of a Class B motorhome or campervan. Actually, a majority of them have a sleek aerodynamic design on the exterior, while the interior components are designed to optimize energy use.
However, not all electric RV makers are focusing on motorized RVs. Some companies are designing electric trailers with batteries that will propel the rig as it is being towed. Impressively, these all-electric trailers won’t need generators or propane tanks for cooking, lighting, or air conditioning when you arrive at the campsite.
A Brief History of Electric RVs
Electric RVs borrow heavily from their electric cars counterparts. The only difference is that they need more powerful batteries to propel the heavy rig plus camping gear to your destination and to power all the RV’s appliances when you arrive at the campsite. Now, who are the pioneers of electric RVs? Here’s a brief trip through the history of electric recreational vehicles.
The first electric-fired RVs started with a hybrid chassis. In December 2008, Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation, which is part of the Daimler Group, prototyped the ecoFred. This is a motorhome chassis that was equipped with a hybrid-electric system and a manual transmission and was powered by the Cummins ISB 6.7-liter engine.
The ecoFred provided improved fuel economy, better acceleration, and increased towing capacity. Moreover, it promised to reduce engine emissions and brake wear. In 2009, the ecoFred chassis became available for motorhome makers to order. Actually, Winnebago and Fleetwood RV were the first customers. Unfortunately, the project stalled.
In the following years, there was little progress in the development and adoption of electric drive motors in RVs. 2017 was a promising year as German firm Dethleffs introduced a solar Class C RV concept called the e-home motorhome, but it also disappeared forever. The next significant breakthrough happened in 2019 when a consortium of German companies teamed up to engineer the first completely electrified motorhome—the Iridium E-Mobil 70EB.
This emission-free rig was unveiled at the 2019 Travel Fair in Stuttgart, Germany, and shortly after became the first electric motorhomes for sale. A more powerful version debuted in 2020, and we will explore its details in the next section.
Big automakers are also not being left behind. In 2020, Mercedes launched its electric minivan—the EQV van. Furthermore, Mercedes, in partnership with Swiss RV outfit Sortimo are looking to carve out a new, electrified van market. They released an electric van prototype in January 2022.
Interestingly, Tonke, an RV specialist from the Netherlands, has taken the first real step and released the world’s most refined electric camper van using the Mercedes-Benz EQV as a base. They launched it in June 2022, and you can order it today.
In the US, 2022 is shaping up to be a very encouraging year for those who want to live on the road sustainably. Winnebago and Thor just debuted their electric camper concepts at the Florida RV SuperShow in Florida on January 18th. Many other companies have revealed their concepts as the year progresses. Keep reading to learn more about the latest developments.
Top Electric RVs for the Futuristic Camper
Let’s look at the best electric RVs you can buy today, as well as the top electric camper prototypes.
Best Electric RVs You can Order Today
Are there electric RVs you can buy today? Currently, there are only three fully electric-powered RVs you can order. Unfortunately, only one is available in the North American market. They are the Iridium e-Mobil 70EB, Mercedes-Benz EQV Camper Van by Tonke, and Bowlus Volterra. Let’s dive deeper:
Iridium e-Mobil 70EB by WOF and EFA-S
The first purely electric recreational vehicle to be available on the market is the Iridium e-Mobil. When first showcased in 2019 at a German trade show, the RV could only achieve 124 miles per charge with an 86.4kWh battery pack. Now, a second-generation model is ready and has better stats. It dons a 106kWh battery and doubles the range to 249 miles on a single charge.
As expected, this electric Class B RV uses lithium batteries and has a system that enables flexible charging. Inside, it has all the features of a self-contained motorhome, including a dry bath, kitchen, double bed, dining lounge, and swivel chairs. Although it’s not yet available in the United States, it’s helping campers in Europe to recreate responsibly, thus saving the planet. Currently, it costs around $219,700.
Mercedes-Benz EQV Camper Van by Tonke
The second market-ready motorhome with an all-electric drive is the Mercedes EQV Camper Van By Tonke. Dutch RV specialist Tonke took the hot-selling Mercedes EQV electric van and converted it into a luxury camper. In fact, this electrified conversion van is available in two configurations to cater to both serious adventurers and casual weekenders.
The touring variant is designed for serious treks and is outfitted with the features of a traditional camper. Step inside, and you’ll find a rear bench seat that transforms into a double bed, a dinette table, and a modern galley with all the basics. There’s an optional pop-up roof tent that doubles the model’s sleeping capacity. It starts at $73000, travels up to 226 miles between charges, and has a 100-amp-hour battery on top of the 90-kW vehicle battery.
Bowlus Volterra All-Electric RV
Imagine an electric travel trailer that can charge your EV throughout your adventure. That’s exactly what the 27-feet long Volterra luxury trailer does. And you can order it today. This shiny retro-style rig is equipped with 480W solar panels to recharge the battery so you can extend your outdoor sojourns indefinitely.
In addition, it’s loaded to the gills with exciting features such as high-speed satellite internet, a full bath, a kitchen with an induction cooking stove, sleeping space for 4, a 50-gallon fresh water tank, and a backup cam. The amenities are powered by a lithium-ion battery setup that holds 17kWh of juice. Pricing will begin at an MSRP of $310,000.
Best Electric Motorhomes that are Still Prototypes
Up next, we take a look at the best electric motorhomes and travel trailers that remain parked in the concept stage. But when production starts, many of them will be available in the US market.
E-RV Camper Van by Winnebago
Winnebago is one of the companies reshaping the future of RVing in the US. At the Florida RV SuperShow in Tampa Bay, Florida, in January 2022, it announced its concept—the e-RV. This all-electric zero-emission motorhome is engineered around a modified Ford Transit platform and is made with eco-friendly materials. Importantly, it has an 86KWh battery pack that provides a range of 125 miles.
The battery powers onboard systems and appliances as well as high-speed Wi-Fi, while taking around 45 minutes to charge. And this e-camper is not just hot air. Winnebago just completed an extended 1,400-mile real-life test drive in it. They are now refining the design and working to extend the range to 200+ miles. The Winnebago electric RV price won’t be cheap, so you can expect it to top $150,000.
Thor Vision Vehicle by Thor Industries
Thor Industries is another major camper manufacturer electrifying your RV experience. At the 2022 Florida RV SuperShow, it debuted the Thor Vision Vehicle, a comfortably outfitted Class B+ electric camper based on Ford’s Transit full-size van. Remarkably, it promises up to 300 miles of driving range. Additionally, it has an aerodynamic exterior and weight-saving features to maximize efficiency.
Besides the high-capacity battery configuration, this hybrid camper is supplemented by a fuel cell range extender power unit. The onboard fuel cell could adapt to a variety of fuels, including LP gas, natural gas, and hydrogen. You can top off the electric battery at existing EV charge stations or 240-volt service outlets at the campground. Furthermore, it has solar panels to constantly replenish battery power.
VW ID Buzz Electric Minivan by Volkswagen
Volkswagen isn’t lagging behind as other companies go electric. In fact, it’s re-imaging the iconic van of the 60s and 70s. Their new VW electric ID Buzz camper van is inspired by the retro design, but it’s bursting with tech. It has a 150-kW electric motor, a 77kWh onboard battery, and a range of 263 miles.
For now, the ID Buzz is only available in Europe, but the US reveal is coming in 2023. Though it’s marketed as a passenger vehicle, German camper kit specialist Ququq has already designed a conversion kit called the BusBox 4. The $2,700 hardware can be easily installed and removed. It comprises a fold-out bed with an expandable outdoor kitchen.
Adventure 1 Off-road Vehicle by Potential Motors
If you prefer campers that can handle rough terrain, then the Adventure 1 camper will impress you. It’s a nimble, 100% electric motorhome designed from the ground up with adventure in mind. At only 64 inches wide and 178 inches long, you can use it to explore the narrowest of trails with ease.
The beefy body protects against debris and rocks, while its all-terrain tires give you solid traction. Further, the rear hatch opens up to reveal a bed for two, a slide-out kitchen, and generous storage. Its dual-motor platform produces 604 hp and 737 lb-ft of torque, while a modest 70kWh battery delivers 100 miles of off-road range.
Nissan e-NV200 Winter Camper by Nissan
When it finally hits the dealerships, the Nissan e-NV200 electric camper will be great for tough excursions in the remote backcountry. Outfitted in-house by Nissan, this pint-sized electric camper van is based on the Evalia vehicle model and runs completely on clean electricity. The onboard 220-volt battery pack can be recharged by roof-mounted solar panels.
It’s equipped with a built-in kitchen, refrigerator, folding beds, hide-away table, and pop-up roof. To enable camping in all environments, it has insulated glass, off-road tires, raised suspensions, twin spotlights, sidebars, and front and rear mudguards. If you want a similar but less rugged version, check out the Nissan e-NV200 conversion by Sussex Campervans. It’s available in the UK starting at $77,000.
Electric All-Wheel-Drive RV by Zeus & SylvanSport
Another exciting e-RV development is the concept from Zeus and SylvanSport. These two companies are teaming up to engineer a 400-mile electric off-road RV. This 25-foot-long camper will ride on military-grade axles and don independent front and rear coil spring suspensions.
Further, this AWD beast will be powered by liquid-cooled permanent magnet electric motors that generate 290 horsepower with a whopping 3,000 lb-ft of torque. Regrettably, the Sylvansport Electric RV price is yet to be announced.
Best Electric RV Trailers
Big RV brands and startups are also electrifying trailers to wean them off the emissions-spewing propane tanks and generators. Some even come with a system that propels the trailer forward while in tow, minimizing the burden placed on your tow vehicle. If you’re a fan of towables, here are a few all-electric travel trailers to consider:
Airstream eStream Trailer by Thor Industries
Thor Industries, the parent company of Airstream, is working on an electric towable that will soon be roaming campgrounds and forest roads. This groundbreaking concept is called the Airstream eStream Travel Trailer. Remarkably, the electrified silver bullet works with your tow EV to maximize range as it has a motor that allows it to move under its own power.
Inside the chassis is an enormous automotive-grade high-voltage battery pack that runs the appliances and is charged by an expansive solar rooftop. In addition, its 22-foot-long floor plan accommodates all the essentials you would want in a wheeled home. You can also maneuver the eStream remotely to aid with positioning while parking or storing it.
Lightship All-Electric Travel Trailer by Lightship RV
A team of former Tesla employees is also determined to be on the map of pioneers of all-electric RVing. Lightship RV promises to launch the first all-electric travel trailer in the US next spring.
Already, a team of 20 world-class engineers and designers are collaborating to build the e-trailer from scratch. In addition, they pledge to equip it with a battery pack that will propel the trailer as it’s being pulled. That means the EV towing it won’t lose its range. Also, it’ll have a residential-scale solar system for passive charging.
Other Notable Electric Recreational Vehicles
There are many other companies striving to bring recreational vehicles into the electric age. Here are a few encouraging innovations that will help paint the camping world green.
Frieda Volt by Flowcamper
German company Flowcamper uses a creative approach to build this e-van. It rips out the engine of a used T5 or T6 van and installs an electric drive plus a 72kWh lithium battery with a 190-mile range.
Peugeot e-Rifter by Vanderer
Converted from a Peugeot e-Rifter, the Vanderer campervan has a zero-emissions power train and a range of 170 miles. For around $69,000, you get this German camper with a pop-up sleeper roof.
Rivian and Mercedes-Benz Joint Venture Electric Van
Mercedes, in collaboration with Rivian, wants to take zero-emission RVing up a notch by producing an electric-only RV van. Although there’s no clear timeline for the project, it’s worth following this development.
OzX Corp Concept Hybrid Camper Trailer
OzX Corp is an Australian electric RV company building a rugged camper trailer that sorts of tows itself and self-parks.
Living Vehicle Solar-Powered Camper Trailer
A California-based company has unveiled a fully sustainable camper trailer that’s purely powered by solar energy. Interestingly, it produces its own drinkable water from thin air.
Knaus E.Power Drive Electric Motorhome
This German e-RV concept sports an all-electric power train supported by a rotary engine generator that doubles as a campground power source. It thunders up to 68 mph on the highway. Even though it has a range of just 56 miles, the generator will kick in and continue to power the motorhome as well as replenish the battery.
In 2021, London Electric Vehicle Company debuted its first impressions of its plug-in hybrid electric camper. It has a pure EV range of 60 miles and a range extender that propels it to 304 miles. This 4 sleeper will set you back by $71,000.
Australia’s largest rental vehicle company is revolutionizing the Kiwi road trip with a purely electric motorhome that you can rent. Its range is 75 miles, and it accommodates two sleepers.
Stella Vita Solar-Electric RV
If you’re wondering if there’s an EV that’s independent of charging stations, check out this car-like Dutch camper. It harvests enough solar energy to drive at 75mph, shower, and watch TV.
Globevan e.Hybrid by Dethleffs
After exhibiting several electrified camper concepts before, Dethleffs presented a hybrid camper van in 2019. Admirably, it’s based on the plug-in hybrid model of Ford Transit Custom. While the battery has a range of just 31 miles, a fuel range extender stretches this distance to 310 miles.
NS-1 EV Camper by Campworks, USA
This trail-ready electric teardrop trailer generates sufficient power for your EV on or off the road. It weighs a mere 1700lbs and is going for $65,000.
Renault Hippie Caviar Electric Mini-van
Renault has teased two 100% battery-powered campers to cater to different adventurers. One is a luxury hotel, while the other is a basic motel with a range of 177 miles.
Opel Zafira Life Crosscamp
This is a 200-mile small EV camper made in Germany. It has a rising roof, a kitchenette, and sleeps up to 4. It’s selling at $45,000 after incentives.
Pros and Cons of Electric RVs
Now, let’s briefly cover the main advantages and disadvantages of electrified RVs.
Pros of Electric RVs
- With no tailpipe emissions and built with sustainable materials, electric RVs will help reduce pollution, making the planet a much better place.
- Recharging an e-RV is much more affordable in the long term as opposed to refueling a fuel-chugging rig.
- The electric drivetrain requires less maintenance compared to fuel powered-engines because electric motors have fewer moving parts.
- Electric motorhomes put a curb on noise pollution as they run much quieter.
- With fewer emissions and noise, the e-RVs will help campers explore nature with minimal impact on the wild, which is in line with the leave-no-trace principles.
- E-travel trailers weigh less than their standard fuel counterparts, and some have self-propelling mechanisms, making towing much more efficient.
- When e-RVs go mainstream, the owners may start to qualify for a federal tax credit.
Cons of e-RVs
- The initial investment is steep compared to their traditional fuel-burning campers.
- The electric RV driving range is an issue as most batteries can only propel the RV for 60 to 200 miles per charge.
- Lack of enough charging stations, especially when you venture outside the city.
- Charging the battery can take hours, while regular RVs refuel in just a few minutes.
- Batteries of electric-powered vehicles require a replacement every 3-10 years.
Electric RVs Frequently Asked Questions
Read on to get answers to the most-asked questions about electric campers.
Is There a Hybrid RV?
There are plenty of companies that make electric hybrid RVs. Actually, you can even order a hybrid motorhome today if you live in Europe. Some good examples include the UK’s LEVC e-Camper and Germany’s Globevan e.Hybrid.
In addition, a decent number of hybrid campers are in the concept stage, the most anticipated being America’s own Thor Vision Vehicle. Other options include Australia’s OzX Corp Concept and Germany’s Knaus E.Power Drive Electric Motorhome.
Basically, hybrid RVs combine a battery-powered electric motor with a fuel range extender/generator. When the battery dies, the range extender automatically kicks in to extend the hybrid’s range or even to recharge the battery in some e-RV designs.
Range extenders are small engines or generators fueled by either diesel, gasoline, LP gas, natural gas, biodiesel, ethanol, or hydrogen. Indeed, hybrid technology is a smart solution for extending electric RV range, especially now that battery technology is still in the infancy stage. However, we expect hybrid campers to be phased out when battery technology fully evolves.
What are the Electric RV Prices?
E-RV prices range between $70,000 for mini-vans to $300,000 for luxurious campers. The cheapest so far is the German Opel Zafira Life Crosscamp going for $45,000 after incentives, and the most expensive is the Bowlus Volterra e-trailer, starting at a whopping $310,000.
How Do I Order an Electric RV?
To order an e-RV, visit the manufacturer’s website and check whether they’re taking orders. If they are, reach out to get the finer details. Note that deliveries may delay as most companies are still refining their creations.
Where can I Find an Electric RV Rental?
As of 2022, you can only rent an electric RV in Australia—the eVolve campervan. It’s being offered by Britz, one of Australia’s top camper rental agencies. In the US, Outdoorsy seems to be leading the race of being the first to rent out e-RVs. It’s already in talks with Rivian and Ford to order $100 million in electric trucks and SUVs to expand its rental fleet.
How Much to Rent an ERV?
Since demand for electric recreational vehicles is expected to be higher than supply in the next few years, we can safely predict that the rental cost of an electrified motorhome will be above $250 per night, while e-trailers will be priced beyond $150 per night. Note that this is just an educated guess based on the chart of the current RV rental prices.
Is There a Tesla RV?
Sadly, Tesla has no plans to release an electric motorhome anytime soon. However, one startup called Vanlifer has already hatched plans to use the Tesla Semi truck to create a fully electric campervan. Another company taking on the task of developing e-campers compatible with Tesla’s already existing products is CyberLandr. They have created a collapsible truck camper concept that will ride on the Tesla’s Cybertruck bed.
What’s the Driving Range of an Electric RV?
The average electric RV driving range mostly falls between 60 miles and 250 miles. Impressively, Zeus and SylvanSport are engineering an off-road RV that will clock 400 miles before running out of juice.
How Do I Charge an Electric RV?
Most electric campers are being designed with charging units that allow them to plug into a standard 120-volt wall socket at home or at the public charging stations used by electric cars. Some have the ability to charge using campground power hookups, while a few purely rely on solar energy. Notably, there are around 48,000 public EV charging stations in the US and about 120,000 charging ports.
Hit the Road, Not the Gas in an All-Electric Camper
Indeed, fully electric RVs have been slow to materialize. But the dawn of the e-RV age is finally here. Many companies are now participating in the electrification of the recreational vehicle industry. You can now find all sorts of electric RV concepts ranging from tiny vans and cozy motorhomes to big trailers.
And as battery technology continues to evolve, we will continue to see more electric RV options on the road, with bigger ranges, fast charging systems, and enticing floorplans.
Interested in more electric RV content? Visit our blog section frequently to get the latest electric trailer and motorhome updates.