With environmental sustainability being in the forefront of developing industry, many are now asking about the future of electric RVs. It is easy to determine that RVs can consume a lot of gas due to their size and amenities. The weight of the vehicles alone creates a strain on engines which calls for a lot of gas power. There are currently some RV electric features that allow people to increase their sustainability and lower their environmental footprint. Yet, there has not yet been a manufacturer to release a fully electric or hybrid RV in North America that has stayed on the market. While we do know that these will be coming soon, many are left questioning if they will be better or worse than the current models available. We will examine a few of the pros and cons to the future of electric RVs below.
Lowering your environmental footprint
Of course the main draw to an electric RV is the ability to substantially lower your environmental footprint. In the near future electric RVs may eliminate the need for gas powered features completely. By eliminating the need for the use of fossil fuels you are automatically lowering the amount of carbon being released into the atmosphere. Currently the market for lowering your RV footprint is relying on the use of solar panels to power small appliances in your motorhome, thus taking some strain off the battery. It is expected that more solar features will come into the forefront of the industry as well, allowing people to take even more advantage of the free clean energy coming from the sun.
Decrease operating expenses
While electric RV’s are surely to cost a pretty penny when they become available, in the long run one of the key benefits will be the decreased cost overall. Gas is increasingly expensive as we all know, and eliminating this key expense will take a load off our wallets. Electric energy is said to be not only cleaner but cheaper as well. RV camping will slowly move to more electric friendly sites which would allow for battery charging in off hours. Electric powered vehicles also have lower maintenance fees as there are less moving parts within the engine.
Less maintenance to electric drivetrains
As previously mentioned, the expense related to maintenance would be sufficiently lowered in an electric RV due to the electric drivetrains. With less moving parts there is much less of a chance of something breaking, rusting or generally not working. With less parts to service the maintenance costs go way down. Not to mention, it significantly lowers your chance of having something go wrong during the drive and ending up under the hood on the side of the highway. As many RV owners can attest to, they often end up learning to be their own mechanic to fix small issues as they arrive on cross country trips. With an electric RV there is less of a need for personal mechanic skills.
Short driving range
As many would expect one of the main cons of an electric RV is the range. Battery powered vehicles are still relatively new to the mass consumer market. Of course there have been great selling electric vehicles available for some time. Yet they are considerably smaller than an RV. Currently there are a few companies currently developing the technology for fully electric RVs in North America. The most promising being the up and coming e-RV by Winnebago. Their future models are no bigger than a Ford Sprinter and promise a driving range of up to 125 miles. While this is nothing to scoff at, it certainly is not living up to the larger current RVs with 100 gallon fuel tanks that can go up to 800 miles between refuelling. There are other companies in the mix that have future concepts in the works with ranges between 125 to 400 miles, however these are just concepts for the time being. Surely many RV owners would have a hard time planning for a recharge stop every 100 – 125 miles. Another thing to note would be the time it takes for a full charge at each stop. Winnebago promises their 125 mile range model would only take 45 minutes. So we can imagine how long stronger batteries may take.
Charging station issues.
How many electric vehicle charging stations do you pass each day? Are they in convenient locations? Many people have trouble spotting charging stations. The reason for this is because there is a mass shortage of them currently. Especially on cross country highways. If your RV trip is taking you across the country, or into neighbouring countries and you need to stop every 125 miles to charge, you might be out of luck in some areas. Therefore, you might not be getting very far. We know that charging stations will be more of a priority in the coming years, but as of right now they can be few and far between in certain areas. This alone may be a huge factor in consumers choosing to keep their gas powered RVs.
The RV community knows just how pricey it can be to find your dream RV. Depending on size and amenities you could be looking at somewhere around $800 thousand dollars Canadian for a top of the line rig. Granted there are much cheaper models and deals to be found if you’ve got a great dealer. We know that electric RVs are going to be seen as premium merchandise and have top of the line mechanics within them. This means that we can expect them to be a little bit pricier than their gas counterparts. As there are no commercially available RVs in North America, everyone has been left speculating on what their prices will be. In Europe there is currently 1 electric RV available made in Germany with a cost of 200 thousand euros for the most basic model package. This works out to almost $300 thousand Canadian dollars depending on the exchange rate on any given day. This model is no bigger than a Ford Sprinter and has an approximate range of only 240 miles. It is currently only available in Europe, so we can use our own speculation about how North American creators will develop our own and price them.
Overall it seems as though the cons may outweigh the pros right now, however we are all anxiously awaiting the day where electric RVs will rule the market.