2021 is quickly becoming the year of the great American road trip. With borders closed and many international flights canceled, an increasing number of people are turning to staycations and inner-US trips to help them scratch their travel itch. While traveling with your home on your back can be both liberating and convenient, it comes at a cost- fuel cost, that is. The average motorhome or camper gets about ten miles to the gallon, which could be reduced to five to eight miles per gallon once you weigh it down with gear and people . One German company is out to solve that problem and has designed a concept for a solar powered RV that would allow you to potentially travel across the country with no fuel cost whatsoever.
A Solar-Powered RV
German RV company Dethleff’s e.home solar motorhome concept would be much cheaper to drive and have zero tailpipe emissions. Their electrified version of a Class C motorhome goes above and beyond simply being fully electric: it’s completely wrapped in thin-film solar cells that can be used to top-up the van’s batteries.
The motorhome’s cabin is built onto the base frame of an Iveco Daily Electric van, which has an eighty kilowatt motor and a 228 Ah battery-back made of sodium-nickel-chloride cells that the company says can last up to 174 miles on a single charge. Once the van is fully kitted, however, that charge may last only 103 miles.
All the Comforts of Home
Just like a modern motorhome, Dethleff’s e.home is fully fitted with all the amenities you might need, only this time they’re electric. With all-electric appliances, multiple sleeping areas, a kitchen, and a bathroom, it is comfortable enough for long trips and to even act as a tiny home.
Additionally, the e.home boasts some cutting-edge technology including “latent heat accumulator plates” made with a phase change material that is capable of absorbing excess heat (anything over 26 degrees celsius) and storing it so that it can be released after the sun goes down, as well as infrared heating elements in the floor and furniture so the cabin can be comfortable without requiring large amounts of electricity .
The futuristic vehicle also applies foil-based technology in both the lighting and the windows. The foil is set between the window panes of the windows, and can be electrically dimmed to protect against the sun and the intense heat, as well as provide privacy for the vehicle occupants.