Towing a heavy camper comes at the cost of a chunk of range. A German RV manufacturer thinks that it has the solution with the E.Home, a travel trailer with its own batteries and electric motors.
Camping with an EV can be a bit of a challenge if you like to sleep in travel trailers. Range tests have shown that dragging a trailer behind an EV can reduce its range by half. This makes towing pretty much a non-starter for EVs that already have a short range and lengthens the journey for others. Gasoline-powered tow vehicles have this problem, too, but tend to have large gas tanks to maintain a decent range.
German RV manufacturer Dethleffs is testing a potential solution, reports Green Car Reports. Its E.Home travel trailer is self-contained with its own batteries and electric motor to assist the tow vehicle.
The E.Home solves this problem by using electric motors to accelerate itself with the tow vehicle. Under the trailer are two 40 kWh battery packs and two motors that have a max output of 90 kw (121 horsepower) each with a continuous output of 30 kw (40 HP) each.
Last month, Dethleffs tested the E.Home on a 240-mile stretch crossing the Alps being towed by an Audi e-tron Sportback. The Audi has an EPA range of 218 miles, yet it completed the whole journey in just over six hours using 82 kWh of its 95 kWh battery. The E.Home consumed 74 kWh of electrons of its 80 kWh capacity.
Dethleffs says that the trailer can accelerate itself so fast that the e-tron drives as if it doesn’t have a camper hooked up to it. E.Home does it through its Trailer Mobility Control system, which makes the trailer provide just enough power to move itself along. The car is still towing the trailer and a load is being applied to the tow hitch at all times, but the trailer is lending a hand. E.Home can even stabilize itself in crosswinds and limit sway.
Perhaps the coolest part is that since the E.Home is self-contained, you can hitch it up to an ICE vehicle and it’ll help the tow vehicle save fuel by moving itself along.
Don’t break out your checkbook just yet. The E.Home isn’t even legal in Europe yet and road testing has only recently started. Dethleffs is also light on details about the trailer. It says the batteries weigh 1,320 pounds but nothing about total weight or features.
Dethleffs also hasn’t stated a price, a launch date or its intended markets. Stateside, EV camping enthusiasts may have to wait for whatever Airstream is brewing up that is reportedly based on a similar concept.