There’s a new “electric RV,” according to some of the press out there. That got me intrigued since the only real electric RV I’ve seen is the one from SylvanSport – even though a few people have made promises. But it turns out that what the AEONrv is, is not an all-electric RV, per se. It is an RV that has all electric functions for the RV portion.
In fact, the AEONrv is based on a four-wheel-drive Ford Transit chassis. So that means it gets around thanks to Ford’s gasoline-powered turbocharged V6 engine. That’s not a bad thing.
There are already RVs that have all-electric RV features. Those include the beautiful Newell Tampa Show Coach, which boasts some other features besides just the lack of a propane cook top.
AEONrv stands for All-season, Electric, Off-road, New and modern RV. That’s what the folks at AEON have told us.
The all-important “electric” in the name refers to a 24-volt marine power system. In fact, there are 7.7 kWh of lithium batteries, which you could upgrade to 12.8 kWh. All of which is charged by 700 watts of solar on the roof of this rig.
The company is the inspiration of CEO Jim Ritchie, who worked in Silicon Valley in computer technology. Ritchie liked what he saw in the Class B RVs but thought they were too small. After looking at Class C RVs, he thought those were too traditional. And rattled too much.
So then he saw the Ford Transit. Talking to longtime friend and boat builder and enthusiast Lars Severin, the team thought it would be wise to build an RV almost more like a boat.
The starting point was implementing unique components from a Canadian company called Total Composites, who build structures for things like refrigerator trucks. The polyurethane foam comes from Germany and then is laminated with gel-coated fiberglass on the outside.
The company also has a patent on how these panels are glued together. That means that there are no mechanical fasteners in the motorhome body of the RV at all.
According to Ritchie, the box is strong, light and flexible – making it ideal for this use. It also offers great insulation at R-15 – which is better than many RVs.
Not only is the structure well-insulated, but they employ dual-pane Lexan windows with integrated bug screens and shades to continue the theme.
One of the interesting things I saw in this vehicle was the use of a mini split air conditioner system. I have seen these in several cargo trailer builds, and you’ll see them in use in residential and industrial settings.
In fact, back when I owned a resort (long story – buy me a beer), we swapped out all the climate control systems for mini split units and got better performance and remarkably lower energy bills as a result. It’s funny to see the boxy outdoor unit of a mini split on a factory build. But it also makes a lot of sense, especially if you want to power an AC unit with a battery and solar system.
These units can also provide heat as well down to -13°F. But if that doesn’t work to your satisfaction, there is also a Webasco gasoline-fired heating system.
The motorhome itself is built upon the all-wheel-drive Ford Transit chassis cab, but with single rear wheels instead of dual ones like the Winnebago EKKO. Also unlike the EKKO, the AEONrv is lifted two inches and fitted with an upgraded suspension at both ends, skid plates, and off-road wheels with BFGoodrich all-terrain tires.
So this is more ready for off-road adventures. You can even get a winch installed from the factory.
Tanks a lot
While the headlines might be about the AEONrv’s solar and battery systems, what floated my boat was the tank capacities for a rig of this size. There are 66 gallons of fresh water aboard. The gray tank is about what you’d expect at 28 gallons. The toilet is a cassette toilet which means you get 4.75 gallons of capacity.
What makes more sense is the optional composting toilet instead, depending on where you go camping.
The gray tank is heated in several ways. One of those is that coolant lines from the engine are run through the tank so when the vehicle is running it keeps the gray water from freezing. There are also 12-volt tank heating pads.
As you would expect, there is a manual valve to dump the tank. But there’s also a remote controlled valve that you operate from the driver compartment. I know, I know. This is great if you discover the tank is full and you don’t want to go outside and you’re already hooked up. But at least one owner is going to respond to an impolite gesture on the highway by pushing that button.
Like the EarthCruiser EXP and a few other vehicles we’ve looked at recently, the shower in the AEONrv is in the entry way. The nice thing is you can leave wet things here, as well, and there’s a heat duct in the doorway/shower to dry off that gear.
Since the rig has no propane, cooking comes through an induction cook top, with a two-burner model optional.
There is actually a surprising amount of storage given the interior space of this rig. In fact there is a pull-out pantry and a surprising amount of drawer space.
The small dinette features a Lagun table mount which has two mounts, including one designed to allow you to use the table as a standing desk. Yep, that’s Silicon Valley thinking, without a doubt.
The coach comes standard with six 12-volt batteries wired such that they provide 24 volts of power to the coach. There is a very sophisticated system to monitor the batteries and electrical system. That can be done on a touch screen or via a smartphone app.
There is actually a “pet mode” to the system allowing you to leave the coach and have it maintain a pre-set temperature to keep your pet comfy.
More great quotes
In the company’s press release, CEO Jim Ritchie is quoted as saying, “The RVs I looked at purchasing were constructed with low quality plywoods and plastics using staples and other flimsy fasteners that tend to fall apart over time and the insides rattle, especially when going off-road. I thought, we can build something far more durable and rugged, yet appealingly modern and sophisticated, and we’ll figure out how to do it at a price point that customers appreciate.”
If you haven’t stood up wherever you’re reading this and applauded, you haven’t been in an RV lately.
The AEONrv is going to face serious competition from the Winnebago EKKO, but it offers a lot of unique build features and a really well-designed interior to reward owners.
Since Winnebago is already using the Truma Aventa AC unit in the EKKO, that would make that unit even stronger competition. But the AEONrv is certainly a vehicle that will likely find a strong following for a lot of reasons.
Tony comes to RVTravel having worked at an RV dealership and been a life long RV enthusiast. He also has written the syndicated Curbside column about cars. You can find his writing here and at StressLessCamping where he also has a podcast about the RV life with his wife.
These RV reviews are written based on information provided by the manufacturers along with our writer’s own research. We receive 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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Hmmm, I think I will pass on this one.