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4 Ways Electric RVs Will Change Van Life Forever
December 21, 2022

4 Ways Electric RVs Will Change Van Life Forever

Reading Time: 3 minutes

E-RVs are a game-changer, but can they compete with regular RVs?

Electric RVs might be the next big thing. From established companies like Winnebago to new entrants you may not have heard of, exciting concept vehicles are in the works.

With the Van Life movement gaining traction, electric RVs could revolutionize the nomadic lifestyle.

Here’s what you need to know about the range of current electric RVs, what eco-friendly amenities they offer, and what they mean for the future.

1. More Than Just Range

Electric RVs provide more than just range; their batteries will also power interior appliances. It’s inspiring to think of a world where you could charge a vehicle that powers your fridge, slow cooker, and phone. But, as fantastic as this sounds, it’s not without its technological challenges.

While electric RVs have the potential to be homes on wheels, the range of current concept prototypes—such as Winnebago’s e-RV—is likely to garner criticism. Understanding range anxiety and how to overcome it will be crucial for electric RV adoption.

With a range of 125 miles and a 45-minute charging time at a DC fast charger, the value proposition has a long way to go (no pun intended). According to a study by THOR, expect to recharge in under two hours of driving.

In contrast, the average ICE RV gets about 10 miles/gallon with an average tank size of around 25 gallons. You don’t need a calculator to figure out that the e-RV can only go about half as far as its ICE counterpart without a recharge.

2. Electric RV Charging

Though the electric RV range will improve in the future, the current battery technology and lack of infrastructure are major drawbacks. Electric RVs are unique in that they often need places to park overnight.

The good news is that RV parks are already equipped with chargers. The bad news is these aren’t DC fast chargers. ICE RVs hook up to with 30-Amp or 50-Amp outlets. It will require RV parks to invest in charging station tech to make electric RV charging feasible.

Because some people who embrace the Van Life movement work from home, accessing reliable Wi-Fi from RV parks will also be essential (satellite internet services like Starlink could be the answer). Even with sites like Nomad List, which helps remote workers find the best locations, electric RVs will face challenges on their journey to becoming emission-free houses on wheels.

Fortunately, there are other forms of energy that can help.

3. Solar-Powered RVs

The Stella Vita RV was created by Dutch university students and relies on expandable roof-mounted solar panels to charge its 60-kWh lithium-ion battery pack. It can travel up to 460 miles on a sunny day.

While a fully solar-powered RV would not be feasible in many climates, solar panels on electric RVs are a practical and affordable technology. These panels can harness the sun’s energy and store it in an RV’s battery bank.

4. Eco-Friendly RV Interiors

Though in the concept phase right now, numerous electric RVs are already rolling the roads and feature interiors made of sustainable materials. With new trends such as vegan leather finding their way into vehicles, it’s only natural that RV owners, who often embrace the ‘leave-no-trace’ philosophy, will want environmentally friendly amenities.

Winnebago’s e-RV

No name is more synonymous with taking to the open road than Winnebago. The e-RV features recycled cork-rubber floors and walls with woolen appliques to serve as sustainable insulation.

Thor Vision Vehicle

With a target range of 300 miles and packed with technology, the majestic-sounding Thor electric RV offers solar enhancements and an eco-friendly interior. Floors are made of bamboo and cork, while countertops and sofa cushions are composed of recycled materials.

The Future of Electric RVs

Because one of the most alluring affordances of RVs is being able to trek off the beaten path, several challenges remain.

If electric RVs are to cause us to rethink how we live and travel, battery range will have to increase. Given the current economic conditions, the opportunity to become affordably self-sufficient might appeal not only to people who romanticize the lifestyle but those who can’t afford to purchase a home.

The potential for electric RVs to transform society is exciting. Unfortunately, being able to live and travel ecologically and comfortably isn’t here yet, but it seems to be on the near horizon.


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