By Russ and Tiña De Maris
If alternative energy and RVing spark your interest, read on. Imagine the motorhome of the future: no smelly diesel fuel to pump, no high-priced gasoline to purchase. Yep, imagine the advent of an electric motorhome. This is not “future tech” stuff, says German motorhome builder WOF, it’s a “see it today, buy it next year” vehicle.
WOF and its partner EFA-S are showcasing their Iridium E Mobil, a C-Class unit powered by “a synchronous motor, a lithium iron phosphate battery and the EFA-S self-developed battery management system,” reads a press release from WOF. Discussing the marvels of the rig’s power train system, “Energy is recovered and stored during braking with KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) technology.” And in what might be a bit of high-flying puffery, one company spokesman gleefully exclaimed, “The motorhome practically refuels when braking.”
Well, let’s sort out the hype from the “known” facts. And we use heavy emphasis on the “known” part here. The expected operating range of Iridium’s fully charged battery bank is 200 kilometers. So, if you bring your Iridium to Quartzsite, Arizona, for the big RV show, you MAY just be able to get to Phoenix before you need to find a charging system. Does that include frequent braking to “practically refuel” the batteries along the way? If that’s a factor, then you better figure on finding a charging station along the way.
Speaking of charging, here’s another one for the “nebulous information” section: “It is charged at the conventional socket, at charging stations up to 22 kW or at CCS fast-charging stations with up to 50 kW. How long it takes to charge the battery is not yet known.” Well, maybe it’s a good thing this is a motorhome, one presumes equipped with a bed, bathroom and galley. If you’re stuck charging for a long time, it’ll be good to have all those other comforts available.
Don’t get us wrong, we’re as excited about the possibilities as the next guy. But we’re not buying any plane tickets to Stuttgart in January where the Iridium will be shown publicly at the Travel Fair CMT. The company obviously has fewer reservations about the matter than we do. They’ve shelled out the big bucks to get one of the most visible and sought-after spots at the fair – right at the entrance where all can see.