As the world transitions away from fossil-fuel-powered vehicles, the RV industry is forced to begin designing electrified solutions. Earlier this year, Thor Industries released its prototype all-electric RV and travel trailer. While not yet available to the public for purchase, these two vehicles hint at the likelihood of Thor becoming a major player in the electric RV game.
In early November, Thor announced that it had entered a partnership with EV startup company Harbinger Motors, Inc. to drive innovation for its future line of electric RVs. With the help of Harbinger’s proprietary EV technology, Thor hopes to propel its eMobility program forward.
Who is Harbinger Motors?
Harbinger is a relatively new company in the electric vehicle sphere. It only recently came to prominence during the September 2022 Detroit Auto Show, where Harbinger debuted its proprietary EV chassis. This Class 6 medium-duty frame is capable of supporting vehicle weights anywhere between 19,501 and 26,000 pounds. Delivery vans, beverage trucks and, interestingly, recreational vehicles, all use this chassis style.
Harbinger’s patented chassis consists of scalable 35kw battery packs and a proprietary drivetrain dubbed “eAxle” at the rear wheels. This axle houses the electric motor, inverter, and gearbox, all of which sit below the top of the frame. This allows an RV body to be seamlessly mounted. (Check out some great pictures of the technology here.)
Harbinger’s primary focus is to make its chassis an easy, cost-effective choice for vehicle manufacturers. Rather than relying on a hodge-podge of engineered components from multiple companies, Harbinger researches, designs, and manufactures all of the chassis’ components themselves. The result is a comprehensive finished product that auto and RV manufacturers can simply purchase and build upon.
Thor’s vision for the future
When Thor announced its new electric RV program in January, it only showed the public two examples. The first was an Airstream “eStream,” with an independently operating electric drivetrain that allowed a remote control to move the trailer. The other was the Vision Vehicle, a Class B-style van with a 300-mile operating range. To achieve these vehicles, Thor had to design and manufacture the products from scratch.
With Harbinger’s chassis, Thor will theoretically be able to electrify existing RV models, rather than pioneering new ones. During manufacturing, Thor will simply have to install its motorhomes on top of the electric chassis without needing to alter the body or interior. All of this should greatly streamline its electric RV production process.
Will Thor become the Tesla of RVing?
With its product showcase earlier this year and its newfound partnership with Harbinger, Thor Industries makes one thing clear—it intends to lead the electric RV revolution. Even as other companies like Winnebago design their own variations, it’s highly unlikely that Thor will be willing to sacrifice its place as the nation’s largest RV manufacturer.
Would you ever buy an electric RV? Share your thoughts in the comments below.