Winnebago prepares to show off America’s first all-electric motorhome
We’re only two weeks away from 2022, and it’s already been a pivotal year for electric campers. Winnebago followed Mercedes-Benz and Thor Industries in announcing plans to show off an all-electric motorhome. Scheduled to debut in just days, the Winnebago electric motorhome concept could become the United States’ first all-electric motorhome from a major manufacturer, assuming it matures from concept to production.
Winnebago explains that the future electric motorhome concept was developed by the company’s Advanced Technology Group (ATG) over a two-year period. ATG was established within Winnebago Industries in 2019, tasked with identifying and developing emerging technologies for use in the company’s products and services. The 2022 electric motorhome concept will be the first public example of its work, Winnebago said.
That’s about all the details of the vehicle Winnebago is giving away so far, inviting a few days of speculation about what kind of motorhome it will be. The most obvious choice would be a motorhome (class B motorhome) as it would be smaller, lighter and easier to drive than a larger class A or C motorhome. The Winnebago front grille, headlight and bumper lines teased above align with the Ford Transit, a van that currently features in the Winnebago Ekko Class B+/C motorhome and has featured in the former Winnebago motorhomes.
Ford announced in November that it had begun shipping pre-production versions of its 126-mile (202 km) E-Transit to U.S. commercial customers. The pilot program was designed for companies to test operations within their fleets. Although it seems outside the stated scope of this program, Winnebago may have received one of these early examples and done some quick work to develop it into a concept motorhome.
It’s also possible that Winnebago’s concept is based on an ICE Transit converted to electric drive by an aftermarket company, such as Colorado’s Lightning eMotors. This would fit better with the two-year development cycle and could help Winnebago sweeten the spec sheet. Lightning boasts of a few advantages its aftermarket versions offer over Ford’s official E-Transit, and not the least among these are range options of 140 and 170 miles (225 and 273 km), an extra distance that would be very useful in a motorhome. The higher gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the Lightning kit would be another major benefit for a motorhome.
Winnebago Industries has already chosen to work with a third-party electric Ford chassis converter. In 2018, it announced its Specialty Vehicles division’s work with Motiv Power Systems in creating Class A electric utility vehicles. These vehicles have since found use for purposes such as urban mobile healthcare and learning. Motiv advertises EPIC (Electric Power Intelligent Chassis) products based on several Ford chassis, but not the Transit.
We’ll save our time and yours on any further speculation because we’ll know all about the Winnebago electric concept motorhome in less than four days. Winnebago will host a Facebook Live Reveal at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, January 18, the Florida RV SuperShow Industry Day. The Tampa-based show opens to the public on Wednesday, January 19 and runs through Sunday, January 23.
We’ll have more details on the all-electric Winnebago concept when it makes its official debut.