Airstream and Studio F.A. Porsche have shown a concept travel trailer co-designed by the two brands.
The collaboration is the result of an idea to create a stylish camping trailer that can be towed by a small SUV or an electric vehicle and be parked inside a garage when not in use.
Styling combines elements that are quintessential Airstream, but with thoughtful elements including a pop-top roof to increase interior headroom.
A transatlantic partnership between Airstream and Porsche has resulted in a modern-looking travel trailer concept that debuted today at SXSW in Austin, Texas. The trailer is designed to be pulled by a small SUV or an electric vehicle, and it's meant to serve as a vision of what an urban-inspired camper could look like.
"Our customer base is about twice as likely to own an EV than the general population," said Bob Wheeler, Airstream's CEO. "Towing a travel trailer cuts down on the range. Weight and aerodynamics play a big part in that."
Airstream has already been toying with the idea of electrification; the company unveiled the eStream concept last year. That trailer featured an electrified powertrain of its own which could be used to slowly adjust the trailer's location when it was unhitched from the tow vehicle or assist an electric-powered tow vehicle while on the move. And Airstream isn't the only brand considering what over-the-road travel looks like in an EV future. Rival RV manufacturers Winnebago and Bowlus are both working on eco-friendly travelers as well with electrified options.
"We understand this future is coming. It's already here and it's continuing to grow," Wheeler said, about the increasing number of EVs on the road. "We know that our owners do not park in campgrounds for summers or seasons; they're on the road."
While the Porsche-designed concept you see here does not feature such a powertrain, the design team took great care to maximize the trailer's aerodynamics. Rather than a rounded rear end like other Airstreams, the concept features a truncated, flat design that's better for aero but also allows for the inclusion of a hatchback setup that can open the interior of the trailer to the outside.
The trailer's completely flush underside is yet another attempt at making it more aerodynamic. The concept uses composite materials such as carbon fiber to help keep the weight down. Aluminum exterior panels are used here—just as they are on contemporary Airstream products—but the brand's rivets have been omitted in the name of reducing drag.
Purists might say that a rivetless trailer means it's not a true Airstream, but from the looks of it, enough of the brand's design cues have been included in the concept to earn its place in the brand's history books.
"Going into this collaboration, we knew that if we tied Porsche's hands we'd end up with what we already have," Wheeler said. "What we ended up with is beautiful, functional, and represents the brand."
The length of the concept is similar to a 16-foot Caravel camper trailer, but the concept is more compact and shorter in height, as it's intended to fit inside a standard garage when not in use. The trailer itself can be lowered on its suspension to fit through a garage door, while an insulated pop-top roof provides headroom inside the trailer when parked at a campsite.
Inside, the concept trailer's cabin is modern, with clean lines and smartly integrated features. The bathroom features a swivel door to save space, and the entire enclosure is covered by pretty bentwood trim. The kitchenette features a two-burner cooktop and an integrated sink; a flip-up countertop extender can be used when cooking or when more counter space is needed.
"The curvature and the softness is the most important thing," said Steffen Ganz, head of design for Porsche Design of America.
The dinette, which also folds into a bed, is situated at the rear of the camper's cabin and overhead storage bins omit traditional cabinet doors in favor of light-weight webbing. Overall, the interior design is what you'd expect from Porsche Design, and features clean lines, rounded edges, and plenty of chrome and carbon-inspired color schemes.
Neither company would say if the concept would eventually head to production, but Airstream's Wheeler acknowledged that the company is considering it for the future.
"We really fell in love with this thing during this process, and we're actively trying to figure out how we can produce it," said Wheeler. "We're challenging ourselves to find out how we can build this effectively, to produce something that's identical to this or very similar for the customer of the future."
If the trailer does make it past the concept stage, we expect it to wear a premium price tag. Airstream's current lineup already trades at the higher end of the RV marketplace. The brand's focus on premium materials and hand-built construction has earned it a reputation for longevity and garnered a fan base that has an expectation for quality—a virtue that those customers are clearly willing to pay for.
You Might Also Like