Today we’re going to take a look at a new motorized RV from a new company, Grounded RVs. The Grounded G2 is a motorhome based on the BrightDrop Zevo 600 platform, which is a product of none other than General Motors.
BrightDrop was designed to be a delivery van like what you’d see your local package delivery person driving. It is a large, electrically-driven box in its simplest form. From there, the folks at Grounded get their hands on it and transform it into a motorhome. But there’s much more than that, of course.
“The G2 is radically different from any other offering on the market,” said Grounded CEO Sam Shapiro in a press release. “It’s a profound step toward a future of fully electrified motorhomes, and makes sustainable travel truly achievable. We’ve designed the G2 to be as flexible as possible, and our truly modular interior delivers on the promise of a continually upgradable RV interior. Over time, as your life changes and your use cases change, the vehicle can change with you. Customers can replace the modules themselves by removing some fasteners, taking out one module, and inserting a new one.”
The BrightDrop Zevo 600 features a 165kWh chassis battery to which Grounded adds a 10kWh house battery. These can be recharged with a standard vehicle battery charger, and there is 640 watts of rooftop solar, as well. The BrightDrop can be charged at thousands of nationwide destination EV chargers, including Ford charging network, Electrify America network, and other public EV chargers with CCS connectors. Claimed range for the vehicle is about 250 miles.
Something I really liked about this design was the interior. The G2 interior is not fixed, but is rather a modular series of components. When buying a Grounded RV, you select from a series of interior pieces and then work with the Grounded people to design the interior you want.
The various elements attach to mounting rails within the vehicle so you could add, remove or reconfigure the vehicle based on your needs at the time.
While I didn’t get confirmation of this, it seems that the rails are standard pieces, so you could use existing things you might have or could purchase from other companies. For example, Ember RV uses their Ember Track rail system, but it’s a relatively standardized system such that you can get components from other places and use them in the Ember. I believe this is the same thing.
The components from Grounded themselves are built of KoskiDecor Eco Transparent, a line of decorative plywood by Koskisen. KoskiDecor is composed of Finnish Baltic birch with a layer of colored, translucent melamine coating on each side. All told, there are 11 interior color choices to be made.
“To design the interior, we drew inspiration from contemporary Nordic outdoor gear,” said Shapiro. “Optional components include a spacious queen bed, seating for up to 7, a large pull-out table for work or dining, and a well-equipped kitchen for the adventurous chef.”
Grounded’s online storefront offering additional modules for purchase will be available within 6 months of launch.
Does it work?
I know a lot of readers of RVtravel.com and consumers in general are opposed to EVs for one reason or another. But let’s look at the use case of something like this in the real world.
According to KOA (Kampgrounds of America), most people in an RV camp within 75-90 miles from home. So that means that the round-trip journey on this is certainly possible with a 250-mile range.
If you’re going to a campground with 50-amp shore power, you will be able to top off the batteries over a weekend’s stay. But this rig seems to be targeted at boondockers. That’s a different story, obviously.
There is a lot of solar on the roof at 640 watts. Under the right conditions, you should be able to zero-out any house battery usage and, potentially, even add a bit to the chassis batteries with that solar. So, this could actually work for a lot of consumers. We like to think of ourselves as adventurous travelers to distant places but, let’s face it, a lot of us are just camping a couple of counties away.
I see a lot of people who buy Class B vans using them more as support vehicles for their children’s sports events. Having a bathroom and kitchen at a sports event makes a lot of sense as you can, in theory, prepare healthier meals and have an actual clean bathroom available for your own children.
Since the interior of this rig is reconfigurable, you could set it up to do some weekend couple’s camping and leave the kids with the grandparents. Or you could set it up to be a support vehicle for weekend sports events.
In theory, you could also use the same vehicle during the week as a mobile office or sales suite. And that’s where I see this making a lot of sense. Imagine if your job is mobile sales of some sort and you show up with this EV. It absolutely would make a statement. Driving between appointments might also make sense. So, now you have a motorhome that you could potentially write off as a business expense.
First, the downside
Let’s be honest. This is expensive. At an estimated $195,000, these are not cheap at all. But, to put it into perspective, that price is not horribly different than many Class B RVs, so it’s not out of the ball park. Plus, there may be tax credits that bring the price down, depending on your life situation.
Also, since this is a delivery van of sorts, there are some limitations inherent in that design. For example, the chassis has a lot of space consumed by the vehicle battery, so there’s not really space for things like holding tanks. So, you get a dry flush toilet like the Laveo that I reviewed.
BrightDrop is beginning to deliver their vans to people and made a big deal out of the fact that the Ryder rental fleet got quite a few of them, but an unspecified number. So you could go rent one in the few locations where they are and see what the driving experience is like. Perhaps you could help a friend move. The Grounded G2 deliveries begin this month, Oct. 2023.
The Grounded G2 comes with Starlink
Interestingly, this rig will come with a Starlink system, and I’m not sure that’s the greatest idea ever. I have, use and love Starlink, but as an option and part of a whole connectivity package I’ve built. But I know that, in a couple of years, I’ll probably do something different. To me, having this built in isn’t my first choice.
What I told every RV company that would listen to me at Open House was to just build a port where I could run wire in an RV. If that wire was for Starlink, cool. If it were for something else I would also be happy. A roof port would offer the user the flexibility to install anything they wanted, as much as the interior of this rig offers so much flexibility.
Now, the upside
Like most super-modern vehicles, the BrightDrop platform incorporates all sorts of tech. This includes very advanced safety nannies that are meant to keep you from doing stupid stuff—like running people over or plowing into the back of vehicles while you’re fiddling with your phone. Those are all good things.
This is also an all-wheel-drive vehicle. There’s a bit of confidence that comes from that, as well.
I think this could make sense for some people, especially in the scenarios I described above. I really like the idea of the reconfigurable interior quite a bit simply because we all immediately start to make changes to our RVs seven seconds after we’ve shown them to our friends. So the fact that this is meant for that is a plus.
But I could probably predict the comments down below, which I sincerely appreciate. And I have to admit that, having written a syndicated column about cars, new stuff from General Motors always makes me nervous as the company has a history of being on the cutting edge, then making the second generation less horrible, then getting the product right and discontinuing it. Examples of this include the Corvair and the Fiero, but I could name many, many others.
So let’s hope one of our friends or neighbors, as an early adopter, gets one of these so we can see it firsthand and then we shall see how this all plays out.
More about these RV reviews
These RV reviews are written based on information provided by the manufacturers along with our writer’s own research. They are based on information from a single unit and may not reflect your actual experience. Shop your RV and dealership carefully before making a buying decision. RVtravel.com receives no money or other financial benefits from these reviews. They are intended only as a brief overview of the vehicle, not a comprehensive critique, which would require a thorough inspection and/or test drive.
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