THOR Industries (THOR), the world’s largest RV manufacturer, has unveiled its eMobility strategy around electrification of the RV industry at the 2022 Florida RV SuperShow where it displayed two electric RV concepts, a motorhome and an Airstream eStream travel trailer. Thor says both are designed to create a radical improvement of the RV user experience in an electrified RV world.
“We’ve been focused on an electrification ‘eMobility’ strategy for a number of years and have made substantial progress on our journey. Early on, we determined that success for us would not be to simply put our name on the side of an electric chassis built by a third-party electric chassis manufacturer. Instead, as the industry leader, we harnessed emerging technology and co-developed flexible, scalable and customizable platforms on which our family of companies will build distinct products, providng a best-in-class RV user experience,” said THOR’s CEO, Bob Martin.
The Airstream travel trailer concept, named eStream, is built on THOR’s exclusive high-voltage electric chassis. Powered by a propriety system, the trailer dramatically reduces loss of range for electric tow vehicles and improves gas mileage for traditional tow vehicles. The high-voltage chassis distinguishes THOR’s design from others in the space and offers a number of differentiating benefits, including the ability to charge much faster than low-voltage alternatives, providing the faster recharging experience electric vehicle consumers demand. In its partnership with ZF, THOR and its European subsidiary, Erwin Hymer Group, developed the technology specifically to extend the range of towing for electric vehicles.
“Our proprietary technology addresses the top concern of electric vehicle users—range limitation. 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, reducing the pulling effect required from 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. The technology is game-changing for our industry and others,” shared Josef Hjelmaker, THOR’s Chief Innovation Officer.
“Our technology also provides important features including the ability to dramatically improve and extend off-grid camping, power electronics – even your home, operate the trailer from your digital device and remote-control park the trailer after unhitching the tow vehicle, all of which have been very well received and applauded by the RV community. And because our system actively stabilizes the trailer, the self-propelled wheels and dynamic controls enable a superior towing experience, improving the safety of our roads,” Josef Hjelmaker added.
The motorhome concept, the THOR VISION VEHICLE (TVV), is built on an electric chassis co-developed with Roush. The TVV motorhome includes a number of unique elements designed to maximize chassis performance. Range extending technologies, including integrated fuel cell components, enable a range of up to 300 miles – well within the average non-stop travel distance of most RV users.
“Our team has conducted a massive amount of research targeted at understanding the impact of design elements on extending range, including aerodynamics of the units. Our strategy to create a unique electric experience specifically tailored for RV users has identified a number of product enhancement opportunities that we can and will implement well before we industrialize the electrified units,” stated Todd Woelfer, THOR’s Chief Operating Officer.
“At the Florida RV SuperShow, we are showcasing two concept units which are only the first outputs from our defined electric RV strategy. Our command of the technologies around the electrified RV experience demonstates THOR’s commitment to innovation is an essential part of our growth model and future success which positions us to maintain our global leadership position in the industry. Our electric RV concepts are the stars of the 2022 Florida RV SuperShow and provide a glimpse of the incredible propriety technology we have developed, but the real story is THOR’s investment and dedication to continue to be the innovation leader in the RV industry on a global basis,” Todd Woelfer continued.
More information about THOR’s electrification journey and its electric RV concepts, is available on the THOR innovation website at www.thorindustries.com/innovation. It claims there are many more great advancements and announcements to come.