e.home All-electric motorhome is completely covered in solar panels
e.home Solar-Powered RV Runs Without Fuel Or Charging Stations
Solar home tech has tackled everything from roof tiles to plug-and-play power systems, but campers and RVs generally only have a few solar panels on top. That’s usually plenty to power electrical systems when you’re camping off-the-grid for a few days, but a new concept from German company Dethleffs has stepped up the solar game.
Similar to Volkswagen’s plans for a new electric minibus, the Dethleffs e.home Type C motorhome combines a zero-emissions powertrain with tons of smart technologies inside. And it’s all powered by the head-to-toe solar panels affixed to the camper’s exterior.
Larger than some of the electric adventure vans out there—which are almost always Class B vans—the e.home motorhome uses an Iveco Daily Electric chassis that normally has a 174 mile range without the larger camper trim. All of the extra weight would no doubt limit that range, so Dethleffs has added 334 square feet of thin-film solar panels that can generate up to 3,000 watts of electricity to keep the 228-Ah sodium-nickel-chloride battery array charged.
The e.home utilizes Victron Energy products for the solar kit, including solar charge controllers, an inverter/charger for AC electricity and to charge the lithium batteries, ancillaries, and a DC-DC converter to supply charge stations for phones, laptops and the like.
The motorhome also features a sleek and modern design; circular wireless charging station; infrared heating panels on interior floors, furniture and walls; windows with darkening film between the panes; and a heating system that captures outside air on days warmer then 79 degrees, then sends it into the main cabin when the evening’s cooler air sets in.
Inside, the design is sleek and neutral, with cream-colored dinettes and contrasting wood paneling. All of the interior equipment runs off the motorhome’s batteries, even a ceramic range that lets you cook electrically.
“Dethleffs know this means a lot more than just putting bodywork on an electrically driven chassis,” Dethleffs Managing Director, Alexander Leopold, said in a Victron Energy release. “By implementing a fully electric powertrain there are many challenges and equally opportunities for the entire vehicle. One significant opportunity is to do without any additional type of energy sources for the vehicle. This means that a motorhome with electric drive will also supply all the onboard services with electricity for the living area instead of gas, for example – and that is why solar power production becomes very important.”
New Atlas reports that the concept also includes two foil-based technologies, “one built into the window panes for darkening the windows for sleep and privacy, and a second in the lighting to create a mirrored surface when the light is turned off.” And kids and adults alike will enjoy a lighting system that projects subtle stars on the ceiling above the alcove bed.
The e.home also uses an innovative heating system that aims to cut inefficiencies. Phase change materials absorb heat when it’s hot (above 79 degrees Fahrenheit, for example), and then release the heat during cooler temperatures at night.
Because the e.home design is still in the concept stage, there’s no pricing or timeline on when—or if—production will start. But like another camper that is currently on display at this week’s Düsseldorf Caravan Salon—the expanding French SCarabane—this all-electric motorhome won’t come cheap. All of those solar panels will add up to a hefty price tag. That being said, pushing the boundaries on new electric vans and motorhomes is the right fit for a vehicular industry that’s trending more green.
No word yet on pre-orders or estimated cost, but this is absolutely an exciting step in the right direction.