The new Thor Vision Vehicle motorhome concept is proof that RVing isn’t dead. The whole recreational vehicle industry, including motorhomes, travel trailers, and camper vans is expanding thanks to tech-savvy, pandemic-weary consumers who take the art and peace of recreating seriously. RV technology isn’t stagnant, either. Part of the growth includes electrification, meaning innovation of the RV industry that mirrors the current transformation in the automotive market.
Many major RV manufacturers have answered the long call for electrification by developing concept vehicles that hint at their strategy—like Winnebago with its e-RV. Thor Industry’s name for this developmental process is eMobility, and has been years in the making. At the 2022 Florida RV SuperShow, Thor revealed the early fruits of this labor: an Airstream eStream concept travel trailer that has an electric powertrain to drive the wheels, and another electric concept called the Thor Vision Vehicle (TVV) motorhome.
Thor Vision Vehicle Concept: An Electrified RV
The Thor Vision Vehicle is classified as a B+ electric recreational vehicle, so it’s slightly bigger than a B class but smaller than a C class RV. Its electric chassis has been co-developed with Roush, and though Thor doesn’t outright say it, the cab is clearly based on the Ford Transit. Its aerodynamic design, clean roof lines, and aerodynamic wheel covers attempt to maximize efficiency. Some measures toward weight savings are taken, and supposedly gone are the days of big ‘ol side mirrors, replaced this time by slimmer video-enabled units.
In addition to electricity, the high voltage, high-capacity battery setup is supplemented by a fuel cell range extender power unit that could adapt to LP gas, natural gas, hydrogen, and possibly other fuels, for a targeted estimated total range of 300 miles. According to one of Thor’s YouTube videos, “The thoughtful fuel cell integration automatically recharges the chassis and house batteries to deliver this targeted range.” The battery can be recharged at existing EV charge stations, and would be able to also utilize 240-volt service outlets often located at campsites.
The Electric RV’s Selling Point: Time Away
A key appeal of the TVV and other electric RV concepts is the potential for going off-grid with as few constraints as possible. To help, there’s a respectable 1,500-watt solar roof to help keep batteries charged. Thor claims campers can unplug for up to seven days, while using all appliances—even the air conditioning.
Sleek and modern, the inside of the Thor Vision Vehicle is totally futuristic and features lightweight materials throughout. Intuitive touch screens in the cabin and dashboard monitor the vehicle’s resources and act as control points for house functions like the lighting, climate control, and entertainment. If one’s firmly relaxed, amenities can be activated or manipulated via voice control. Digitally controlled windows enable a frosted glass effect on the windows for privacy with just the push of a button.
The cockpit is simple, distinguished by a large, rectangular digital instrument cluster and a large central touchscreen display. Trips can be planned on a mobile device and synced to the vehicle, the remaining range estimate is front and center, and charging stations can be planned and added along the route. The gear selector consists of a row of slim buttons under the center screen. We had to chuckle—we noticed this electric RV concept work-in-progress still needs a physical key.
Safety Features To Manage Size
It may be classified between two RV size segments, but the TVV is no small thing and features a suite of advanced safety technology to assist the driver. Video from the digital side mirrors displays on dash-top screens next to both A-pillars, replacing traditional side mirrors. The rearview mirror is also a video feed so drivers can actually see behind the RV with the help of a rear-facing camera. Advanced driver-assistance systems are enabled for lane changing and identifying obstacles when backing into a campsite.
With such a loaded package, what would something like this cost? The Thor Vision Vehicle is still a concept with features that may or may not ever see the light of day, like those side cameras, and is not for sale yet. We’ll know more if a production version hits the RV market, but you can likely expect a premium over your standard RV when that day comes.
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