Jan 28 • 14M

Our First Report From the Florida RV Supershow

Exciting eRV Concepts, Thousands of RVs and One for the Bolt

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Follow our journey as we buy a Rivian R1T electric truck to pull a travel trailer equipped to run exclusively on solar power!
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We’re excited to share our observations from the Florida RV Supershow in Tampa last week. In a word, wow! There were thousands of RVs there, including three new concept eRVs. We also found a true, in-the-market all-electric, solar-powered trailer, lots of trailers to consider once we have an electric truck to pull one and one little trailer we can pull with the Bolt.

Let’s start with the concept vehicles.

The most exciting feature of the event, one of our Twitter friends alerted us to, having previously missed it, was the Airstream trailer concept. It is a self-propelled electric vehicle for towing. We could tow it with the Bolt because it operates under its own power. Once you arrive at your destination, you can disconnect from the tow vehicle and position the trailer using an app on your phone. Wild stuff. Be sure to watch the first few minutes of the video to see the demo.

The parent company for Airstream is Thor, which brought another eRV to demo. It is a small motorhome that is all-electric as well. It has a 100-mile range on the batteries but has hydrogen fuel cells as well. One tank of hydrogen adds 200 miles of range. Hydrogen fuel cells emit only a tiny bit of water vapor so are essentially zero-emission like batteries.

The last of the three concept vehicles is the Winnebago eRV. It has a 125-mile range on battery power and no other source of mobility. Frankly, I’m not sure that platform has much of a market but I’m thrilled to see the company working on this.

We expect all these vehicles to have price tags over $200,000 when and if they come to market. We won’t likely spring for one.

We also found one electric, solar-powered trailer that comes much closer to our target.

Courtesy of TLRV

Sadly, we didn’t get a great photo of the electric trailer, but the image above is basically what it looks like with the propane tank removed and solar panels added. There is a big battery system that holds about 7 kwh, enough to power everything you’d want in that little trailer for a day or two. With the 380 watts of solar panels extending that, you could enjoy the A/C or heat for several days. If you turn off the A/C and use other things sparingly, you could go indefinitely in this little rig.

For us, sadly, it is too small to be our dream rig and too big for our Bolt to tow.

There was a smorgasbord of trailers we can tow with the Rivian (or the Tesla or the Silverado).

We climbed in and out of dozens and walked by hundreds of trailers our electric truck will be able to tow. It gave us an opportunity to begin forming stronger, clearer thoughts about floorplans and size. We’d been thinking we wanted a trailer between 20 and 30 feet long, with a bias toward the smaller end of that range. After spending time in them, our bias shifted to the trucks at the larger end of that range.

Measuring from hitch to bumper, a 30-foot trailer isn’t as big as you might imagine. We like the ones with a private bedroom, typically equipped with a queen-size bed. One feature we look for is a living room area where a sofa faces a TV. That is far from universal as obvious as this seems to us. We are also looking for a larger bathroom with an easy-to-access shower (no tub).

Finally, we found a trailer we like and can safely tow with our Chevy Bolt EV.

This Aliner Scout Lite folds down to a lower profile than the Bolt and weighs just 1200 pounds, making it a good trailer for us. It has two sitting areas that convert to beds overnight, with storage beneath. With space for some kitchen features, we’re excited to get one. For the moment, we’re looking for a used one so we can invest a bit in the conversion to solar and all-electric equipment.

Next week, we’ll be reporting on some of the information we gained about solar power and batteries for our RV.

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