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We Test Drove America’s First EV RV!

It’s not yet available for sale, but we just test drove America’s First EV RV, and … it works!

Granted, it only gets 108 miles per charge. That has to get much better before it goes into production, but already a fleet of 12 are on the road and will be tested by real RVers.

To much fanfare at the 2023 Florida RV Supershow in Tampa, Winnebago revealed its 2nd prototype of an all-electric RV – eRV2 as they call it.

At last year’s show, Winnebago showed an early version. But this prototype – on the Ford Transit chassis – is much more advanced and, except for the dismal range, ready to be used.

To see a video of us testing this EV RV, click the player in the box below.

This EV RV Looks Sharp!

The Winnebago eRV2...a true EV RV
The Winnebago eRV2…a true EV RV

The first thing you’ll notice about the eRV2 is how streamlined it looks. A bank of solar panels wraps from the roof over the curved front of the Transit. And the vehicle itself sports a custom wrap depicting vanlife scenes and camping activities.

Jennifer and Mike test driving the eRV
Jennifer and Mike test driving the eRV

As it now is, it is also ready for serious boondocking. Both the powertrain and the house systems are powered by electricity.  Winnebago partnered with Lithionics Battery, which features a 48V system with more than 15,000 usable watt-hours. The solar panels have a 900-watt capacity.

Winnebago says you can run off grid, totally energy independent, for seven days off the current batteries. One of the test drivers I talked to said it can even do a couple more days added to that, provided you weren’t using the air conditioner.

But 108 Miles? Will the EV RV Range Improve

the eRV2's solar panels on this EV RV
Part of the eRV2’s solar panels on this EV RV

Yes. Winnebago is shooting for a three-hour drive time before the eRV2 will need to be charged. At the reveal event, company execs would only say that before producing it for sale, that has to improve.

When I pressed a product manager after the reveal event at the show, he said it is projected to be ready for commercialization and production in between two to five years.

But there are other things they have to improve, too. Right now, it takes a minimum of two hours to fully recharge the battery, depending on the type of charging system being used.

Seriously. Who can wait that long?

Also, just where can it be charged? To really be useful to Rvers and campers, there has to be EV chargers in campgrounds. Considering that most campgrounds throughout North America can barely provide enough reliable 30 and 50 amp power by conventional hookups to meet demand, massive campground infrastructure improvements will have to be made.

What is it like driving an EV RV?

The eRV2's interior
The eRV2’s interior

For starters, it’s quiet. As in most EVs, there is no real noise when driving. But in an RV – and the eRV2 is a fully functioning campervan – the engine silence is even more noticeable. Disarming at first. Then, refreshingly enjoyable.

Acceleration is very quick. I used to own a gasoline engine RV on the Transit chassis. The acceleration is very impressive.

The RV part of the eRV2 is standard. There’s a wet bathroom and shower. A small galley. A rear sofa that makes into a large bed. And two comfortable facing chairs in front of the sofa. Naturally, there’s AC, a furnace, a TV, and storage space inside and outside the vehicle.

The dash display of the eRV2
The dash display of the eRV2

Admittedly, our test drive was just for a couple of miles. But it was enough to give us a feel of what it would be like and we liked what we experienced.

At the Tampa RV Supershow, Winnebago gave similar test drives to many others all week long. The feeling everyone who drove one seemed to have is it felt pioneering. It was like a taste of what the RV future will be like.

Personally, I think we’re a good 10 years out from widespread use of EV RV travel. But it is coming.

Someday.

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We recommend you go Lectric for your RV Lifestyle

RV Lifestyle Partners 8

You know we love our RAD Power bikes – and have featured them for years, but we recently tested out and LOVE our new Lectric foldable ebikes. Being able to fold them up allowed us to put them in our Wonder rear garage area for a recent RV Lifestyle Gathering. You can check out our experience with them right here on our YouTube Channel.

lectric ebike

4 Responses to “We Test Drove America’s First EV RV!”

January 22, 2023at8:47 am, Ruth Potter said:

How long does it take to recharge? 108 miles isn’t enough. And how much do they charge to recharge? Thanks.

Reply

January 23, 2023at1:54 pm, Team RV Lifestyle said:

Hi Ruth – Since this e-RV is not ready for commercial sale yet, these are questions the engineers are still working on. Especially increasing the length between charges – this is something the company says must improve before they sell it to the pubic – but that day is not too far away. Happy Trails! Team RV Lifestyle

Reply

January 21, 2023at11:14 am, Larry Cozzens said:

As you point out the range and recharge times need to improve. Think 3:30 rule and recharge while eating lunch. I don’t understand why the solar panels on roof and portable panels won’t keep the batteries charged when stationary. Why the 7-9 day limit?

Reply

January 23, 2023at1:51 pm, Team RV Lifestyle said:

Hi Larry – All good questions. The people behind this e-RV are still working on it which is why it is not ready for commercial sale – yet. Watching what they do with the solar panels is something Mike will definitely follow. Thanks for the comment – Team RV Lifestyle

Reply

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