Self-propelled e-caravan stops massive loss of range

Self-propelled e-caravan stops massive loss of range-self-propelled

For camping fans, the selection of electric vehicles that have a corresponding towing capacity for caravans is small. In addition, towing a trailer massively increases consumption. Charging stops every 150 km are then not uncommon. The American group THOR Industries – parent company of the iconic Airstream Trailers – now wants to build an electrical system for caravans together with the German supplier ZF. This should maintain or even extend the range of the towing vehicle. Regardless of whether the towing vehicle is powered by electricity or fossil fuels. ZF supplies technology for autonomous driving and electromobility (powertrain, transmission, power electronics).

Together with Dethleffs, German manufacturer of caravans and mobile homes based in the Allgau and also a subsidiary of THOR, they have already built a caravan with a dual motor and 80 kWh battery, the “E.Home”. The prototype was pulled across the Alps by an Audi e-tron Sportback. The towing vehicle has an EPA range of 350 km. Together with the electrically driven mobile home, the combination covered 386 km before the first refueling stop.

With ZF, a universal high-voltage trailer is now to be developed – “the only one that will be available in the caravan segment”, as Bob Martin, CEO of THOR, emphasizes. A caravan with this eTrailer system practically drives on its own. A sophisticated system of sensors ensures that the speed of the trailer exactly matches that of the towing vehicle. This maintains the range. However, the battery packs in the trailer add up to a tonne of weight.

Through the now founded joint venture with ZF, THOR receives the exclusive rights for the eTrailer technology in the caravan segment for a defined period of time, with an unlimited right to defined aspects of the protected development. Pricing for the system has not yet been announced, but if the eTrailer makes travel a pleasure rather than a stand-up, many camping fans will consider buying it.

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12 thoughts on “Self-propelled e-caravan stops massive loss of range”

  1. A good way to solve the trailer range problem with e-cars … even if the weights still seem (much) too high for EU conditions!

    However, the idea is not really new:
    It’s been around for a long time with bicycle trailers 🙂

    Current information from the manufacturer:

    The project goal should IMO be a trailer platform that is scalable (not least in terms of weight and costs), in which solar technology can already be easily integrated and the many trailer manufacturers (and it doesn’t just have to be caravans!) to be able to use!

  2. How high is the consumption on the route? With the specified battery sizes of both vehicles, I get a total of about 50 kWh. Isn’t that with a e.g. EQS or Model S with “normal” trailer inside?

  3. As a camper, I’m rather skeptical.
    How should a caravan with a say we give 80kWh batteries, for example, each footprint, if the car is only pulled in the life of a non-trustner during the holidays?
    Our caravan has well equipped 26.000 € cost. Would like to pay €8000 more at €100 per kWh of batteries – probably more like 10.000€ with technology – just to get me on the way to vacation 1-? avoid loading stops 🙂 ?
    So how exactly is the store going to work??
    With the caravan I would like to have a “drive-through charging station” so that I don’t have to uncouple. Do I get an extra charging station for the caravan, or do I charge via some splitting at a station twice as long?
    Instead of paying for a second large battery, I would rather have a much larger one in the vehicle, the advantages of which I can then use all year round and not just a certain “time saving” on vacation – because I usually have one thing above all – a lot time!
    What do many campers do when they have arrived, uncoupled and set up?
    They drink a coffee, look at the IPad, read a magazine or a book or maybe even watch a video film or YouTube.
    Can’t I also do this on the trip – during the “loading time”?
    If the deceleration can’t already begin on the way to vacation – the journey can’t be the goal?
    As I said, I don’t see the point of such a trailer for our use case at the moment,
    But maybe I didn’t understand a lot of the advantages.
    Even today, many people still don’t understand the advantages of an electric car – so I’m not alone 🙂

  4. To simply go on vacation once or twice a year, the idea is far too expensive and a waste of resources. The battery would have to do more for its money so that it pays off and does more good than harm to the environment. Caravans are either parked in garages or on permanent campsites. There they would then have to be available to the electricity industry as grid-supporting storage systems and controlled by them once the interests of the owners have been served. Otherwise the whole thing is just nonsense. It could still make sense to operate the entire system with a removable battery, which either forms the house memory outside of the holiday season or can be borrowed.

  5. As a camper, I am longingly waiting for a reasonable, affordable E-solarWomo from the Dethleffs (they were already on the right track anyway) instead of pursuing even greater waste of resources

    Anyone who is in a hurry on vacation is on the wrong track anyway, a charging break after 2-3 hours or. 250-300 km is perfectly acceptable.
    After that…the sun does the rest..
    …and does not send an invoice for it…

    Sunny greetings from Sicily 😉

  6. The cost and GHG driver for e-vehicles is and remains the battery. Installing 80kWh in a caravan that is used sporadically at best, as much as for two compact electric cars, makes neither ecological nor economic sense. When it comes to battery capacity, it is important that it is used with the greatest possible added value and, in the case of Li-ion technology, that it is used as regularly as possible to ensure a long service life. Instead of increasing battery capacity ineffectively, it would be more meaningful to halve the battery capacities in the BEV for daily use and the saved half as a modular range extender for rent when needed.
    The only thing I could think of would be a modular replaceable battery, which would normally work in a grid-serving power storage system and only be rented out in long-distance caravans during the holiday season.

  7. Addendum:
    With such a vehicle, the subject of towing capacity and vertical load would also have to be considered.
    I don’t think that’s entirely trivial.

  8. For a vehicle that is only moved a few times a year, this is probably the wrong approach. It would be interesting in the truck sector. If trailers or semi-trailers had at least their own battery, the range could be significantly increased.

  9. The DING as a platform for changing different structures and the rest of the year as a battery in the home, then it could be worth it

  10. As a caravan driver, I already have the problem of charging with a pure BEV: I have to park and uncouple the WoWa in order to get to the charging station at all.
    For this application I would like a powerful BEV with a range extender.
    A powered WoWa is far too expensive, too heavy and consumes too much of the critical resources in the production. Then I prefer an e-mobile home.


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