Friday, September 17, 2021
Friday, September 17, 2021

RV Preview: The Boulder from Colorado Teardrops could charge your EV

One of the funniest things I regularly see on social media is the question, “How many miles per gallon do you get towing your trailer?” The answer’s always the same: 11-14 with a gasoline engine. You see, towing at highway speeds isn’t about the weight of the trailer. It’s more about the aerodynamic drag of a giant box being pulled through the air. 

This is why cars all look so similar nowadays. In order to achieve better fuel economy they have to be shaped to cut through the wind as efficiently as possible. RVs, on the other hand, are a study in just how bad aerodynamics can be. 

When we talk towing and electric vehicles, the discussion centers around range, as that’s the electric vehicle equivalent to talking about fuel economy. The more deleterious something is to the aerodynamics, the more energy it will take to move that thing and the shorter the distance you can move it with batteries. 

Unfortunately, there are still not so many electric vehicle charging stations around that you don’t have to be concerned with towing with an electric vehicle. Furthermore, even fast recharging of electric vehicles takes longer than refueling any liquid-fueled vehicle. 

The Boulder can charge your electric vehicle

That’s a long way to go to introduce The Boulder from Colorado Teardrop Campers. This is the first RV I’ve come across specifically designed to assuage those fears of towing with an electric vehicle. Why is that? It can literally charge your electric vehicle. 

While there has been much discussion about all-electric RVs and we’ve even seen some good initial attempts with things like the ProLite E-Volt and the Palomino Revolve EV1, neither of these really address the issue of aerodynamics. In fact, the only trailer I know of that has been tested for aerodynamics is the Safari Condo Alto A2124. 

The Boulder

The Boulder breaks a lot of molds. First of all, the biggest thing about this rig is that it has a huge 75 kWh lithium-ion pack nestled between the frame rails. This is nothing to sneeze at, being the same capacity as the battery pack in a Tesla Model Y or Ford Mustang Mach E. 

In addition to that monster battery in the trailer, the Boulder’s exterior also has actually been subjected to computational fluid dynamic testing to minimize the impact of the RV’s shape on aerodynamic drag. 

I’ve been writing for a while now that this is the only way we’re going to achieve widespread use of electric vehicles and still be able to go RVing. Simply put, RVs’ lousy aerodynamics have to change just as the lousy aerodynamics of passenger vehicles had to change as fuel economy standards increased. 

Charge it!

The objective of that large battery pack in a small teardrop trailer is essentially to provide a backup battery for the towing vehicle. 

Let’s assume that you’re towing this trailer with a Tesla Model X, which is rated to tow just under 5,000 pounds. The range of that vehicle under ideal conditions is about 340 miles. Towing is not an ideal condition. But if Colorado Teardrops did a good job with the aerodynamics, let’s say you reduce range by 25 percent (as opposed to probably 50 percent for a typical travel trailer). 

Now you have 255 miles of range when towing. So let’s further assume that you’re camping in the woods and that trip is 400 miles away. Somewhere along that journey there must be a charging station because they actually are more common than most people realize. 

So you deplete the initial charge, refill the Model X while enjoying lunch and then reach your destination in the mountains. Now you have a Model X whose battery is about halfway depleted. 

Easy. Plug the Boulder into the Tesla and recharge it. For the first time ever your trailer is actually a mobile fueling station for the tow vehicle. 

Campground power

There is a lot of discussion in campground owners groups about EV charging, as they know it’s coming. EVs are more likely to be towed nowadays than to tow. But the Boulder could change that for the people able to pony up $55,000 for one of these. 

However, if you do have a campground with a 50-amp service, there is a Tesla charging kit that will enable you to charge the EV overnight on that 50-amp service. Sure, the kit is $550 on eBay right now. But if you’ve already paid $70,000 for a vehicle, another few hundred bucks isn’t likely to matter.

But there may also be pushback by campgrounds if enough people show up with EVs hoping to juice them back up overnight. In fact, there are some EV charging maps that show campgrounds as some of the places to go to charge your EV. This may not sit well with all campground owners. 

It’s been bandied about that some folks have even rented a camping space specifically to charge their EVs. Even though this might seem okay to some, again, you’re going to see some campground owners not thrilled with this situation. 

The camper itself

Colorado Teardrops has been building their namesake campers since 2014 and has the camping portion of the teardrop down. 

While the only examples of The Boulder that I was able to come across are the ones on someone’s computer screen, the layout follows the teardrop norm of outdoor kitchen in the back under a large hatch. 

No mention is made whether the cooking surface is propane or electric, but electric would make the most sense with an induction cook top. The illustration does appear to show a 12-volt cooler as refrigeration. There is also no mention of climate control for the main body of the vehicle.

In the main living space, the sleeping surface converts to seating in the day. A folding table takes up the space between front and back seats. So, theoretically, four can sit inside the trailer and eat or converse. 

In summary

At the present time it appears that this is simply a computer model of the camper. However, it also is clear, based on the number of units in the various price categories versus units available to order, that there are folks out there placing orders. 

I think this shows just how much demand there is for both electric vehicles and using those vehicles to travel. Remember when we looked at the Cyberlandr, a pickup camper for the Tesla Cybertruck? It has been reported that that company already has $80 million in orders for those campers. 

With regulators breathing down the necks of car makers to go all-electric, it’s time the RV industry came to the realization that pushing huge boxes through the air isn’t going to be a sustainable business model in that reality. As such, The Boulder might be more common than some people imagine. 

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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Roger Spalding
24 days ago

I have nothing against EVs, electric RVs, or tech advances which improve our lives. However, what I do not like is unelected government”regulators” (as Tony puts it) dictating to me how, and on what, I spend my hard earned scratch. Government manipulation of the market place and our freedoms has resulted in some of the most abhorrent practices and disastrous failures in America’s history. Like it or not, electric cars are not necessarily the panacea they are made out to be. The government spending our tax dollars on one solution without examining others is tunnel vision. Abandoning our energy surplus has already sent us begging to OPEC to increase production (they said “no”), permits outsiders to control our own economy and limits our options as a nation and as individuals. Hydrogen and synthetic fueled vehicles are even cleaner than EVs, and can use the already existing gasoline distribution system. America should not be so quick to place all its eggs in one basket.

Bob
24 days ago

Again someones dreaming that electric vehicles are going to save the world. They ignore all the negatives. A idiot here in Canada is trying to ban gas stations, he thinks it will quicken the use of electric vehicles.

Bob M
25 days ago

Seems like a lot of money for nothing. I’d take a Hybrid before I’d buy an electric vehicle. With the problems we have with electronic components what night mare is waiting for us down the road.

Bob p
25 days ago

At the beginning of your article you used the word assume a couple of time about this revolutionary camper. In my lifetime I have found any time someone uses the assume, it usually makes an A** out of U and ME. Lol

Donald N Wright
25 days ago

Thank you for using the word “aerodynamics”. Most RV manufacturers and dealers have no idea what that word means. I have an Airstream Trailer, the silver box with the rounded corners. I wonder how much the drag coefficient would change with a built in A/C rather than the box A/C’s on the roof.

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