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Are greener RVs coming? Winnebago invests big in electric technology

But there’s no all-electric, Winnebago recreational camper just yet

A long Winnebago RV features a light blue sky background, painted leaves, and a woman standing.
The Winnebago Mobile Lung Unit is powered by an all-electric chassis from Motiv Power Systems.

Although years behind the auto industry, the RV industry is finally making making strides in efficiency and green technology. In the latest eco-friendly news, Winnebago Industries has announced that they will help fund the expansion of Motiv Power Systems, a provider of all electric commercial chassis. Love campers and trailers? Come join our community group.

Motiv Power Systems has secured $60 million in equity funding with a series B round of investment led by Winnebago and GMAG Holdings Corp. As the first minority investment that Winnebago has made in over 60 years of operation, the funds will support the growth of Motiv, aid in the opening of a new engineering and manufacturing facility in Detroit, Michigan, and facilitate further growth in the company’s large-fleet customer segment.

The RV industry has been slow to adopt electric technology, and the innovations that have occurred are stemming from Europe. In recent years we’ve seen a few eco-friendly concept RVs, like an RV covered in solar panels or a travel trailer that can be towed by an electric car. Most recently, a German company debuted the world’s first manufactured electric camper with a decent range of 249 miles. In the U.S., however, the closest thing to an electric camper is the yet to be produced Rivian truck that features a kitchen and tent for overland camping.

Winnebago’s latest round of investment in Motiv Power Systems proves that the company wants to grow into the electric market. Winnebago first debuted an all-electric RV with Motiv in 2018, but the commercial vehicle had a limited range of around 100 miles. Over the past year Winnebago partnered with companies to use their electric RV as a mobile blood bank, mobile lung unit, and a roving book library.

“Our customers are hungry for all-electric mobile solutions developed on our commercial shells, especially in California,” said Ashis Bhattacharya, Vice President of Business Development, Specialty Vehicles, and Advanced Technology at Winnebago Industries. “We look forward to continuing our collaboration with Motiv and growing the electric commercial segment worldwide.”

So how long before we see a fully electric Winnebago RV on the recreational side? We’re not sure. But as electric vehicles become more common as everyday drivers and trucks, it’s clear that a fully-electric, American camper will be in our future.

As Bhattacharya said last year, “We have a rich history of product and feature innovation, and we are continuously evaluating new and emerging technologies to further that legacy. We believe that all-electric vehicle applications continue to evolve to serve numerous end-user needs and this is our first step as a participant in this space.”