Tesla alums have created a futuristic $125,000 electric RV trailer that'll save your EV's range during road trips
Two Tesla alums have founded what they call the US' first fully electric RV company.
Lightship will begin production on its first electric travel trailer, the Lightship L1, in late 2024.
Legacy RV makers have unveiled several concept electric RVs over the last year.
Over the last year, legacy RV makers like Airstream and Winnebago have been unveiling electric RV concepts en masse.
But they've all been just that — Concepts with no production timeline yet.
However, amid this great nebulous race to RV electrification, one newcomer has emerged with the goal of beginning production on its electric travel trailer next year: Lightship.
And unlike the other electric travel trailers we've seen, Lightship says its flagship L1 RV will barely decrease the range of its towing vehicle even if it's electric.
"We're giving electrification a chance to expand by building products for demographics that have been underserved by the electric products that are already out there," Ben Parker, Lightship's cofounder and CEO told Insider.
Parker founded Lightship with fellow Tesla alum, Toby Kraus. Kraus is now the president of Lightship.
The vast majority of RVs delivered in 2022 were travel trailers. Yet, the duo says this market hasn't changed in decades.
"There's a huge mismatch between the popularity of the RV pastime and the amount of innovation that's been poured into the products and experience," Parker said.
So to make a splash, the Lightship L1 will address one of the biggest shortcomings of today's EVs: towing range.
Sure, an all-electric F-150 Lightning can travel more than 300 miles in theory. But try to tow a camper, boat, or other heavy load and its maximum mileage will plummet.
That's due to both the extra weight and the added drag of whatever is being towed.
EVs are precisely designed to cut through the air as efficiently as possible — to optimize all-important range — and towing something throws that all out of whack.
Lightship's trailer takes aim at both of those issues.
The startup is rejecting the appearance of conventional travel trailers in favor of a modern design that's three times more aerodynamic than an Airstream, Kraus said.
This design, as well as its electric drivetrain that takes the load off of the towing vehicle, then drops the range loss down to nearly zero, according to the team.
Its 80-kilowatt-hour battery is roughly the same size as the pack found in a typical Tesla. It can be charged with a DC fast charger.
According to the startup, even with the Lightship in tow, a 300-mile EV remains a nearly 300-mile EV, and a 25-mpg gas-powered truck remains a nearly 25-mpg truck.
Towing impacts the efficiency of gas vehicles, too, but the losses are potentially worse in EVs because you can't just pull over and fill up quickly.
Despite these innovations and emphasis on efficiency, the 27-foot-long Lightship L1 won't sacrifice interior amenities.
The RV can stay off-grid for a week using its battery system and three kilowatts of solar.
When it's parked and in "camp mode," the pop-top roof can expand to accommodate up to six travelers.
Like any trailer of this size, the interior will come packed with a kitchen, bathroom, and lounge and dining area. The latter can be converted into beds.
Production will begin in late 2024 in Colorado.
With a price tag of $125,000 before any tax credit is applied, Lightship's flagship model will have a price tag comparable to RV makers like Airstream.
Read the original article on Business Insider