There is a lot of noise in the RV space about the future of RVs. And there are more than a few speculative types who believe the future is electric. So who’s going to be the first to market an electric RV: Thor? Forest River? Winnebago?
If you remember a while back I wrote about cargo trailer conversions and how that has become a very popular trend for RVs. Well, what about other conversions? For example, the weird marketplace that is Alibaba has all sorts of interesting possibilities including this unusual-looking electric vehicle that could, with the right imagination, be the ideal motorhome for those looking to camp relatively close to home as long as you don’t go too fast. I probably should be writing this sometime around the first of April. But there is promise here, even if there is no seat behind the steering wheel. That’s up to you.
What you get
Essentially what you get is a large, open, blank canvas that kind of looks like the cross between a trolley car and an old railroad car. Inside is some 92 cubic feet of open space where you could put cots, a Coleman stove, maybe one of those fancy Dometic 12-volt coolers, a porta potty and perhaps a few folding chairs. You’ll need to put one of those behind the wheel at times.
But, think about it. When the weather suits the idea, you could take a couple of those folding chairs out onto the back porch and enjoy a nifty place to sit.
Alibaba is a marketplace almost like eBay, but much, much more open and, frankly, pretty weird. The website puts you in touch with people who have products, including manufacturers in China, and other places that make stuff. What kind of stuff? Anything you can imagine and lots of things you never thought of. Like electric trolley-looking vehicles.
The manufacturer claims capabilities of up to 1,000 units a month, so you could go into business modifying and selling these. I’m sure that would go over well.
Surprisingly, these things are only about $2,500 each. That’s pretty cheap considering you get 3,000 watts of power through a sealed lead acid battery to motivate the square vehicle via a 60-volt motor. I can’t imagine that that power train is going to do much to overcome the slab-sided box and push it through winds much greater than 25 miles per hour. But there are neighborhoods where the speed limit allows for these vehicles on the streets. So you might be the king of the ‘hood with this little electric vehicle.
In fact, if you only used portable components in your fancy motorhome conversion, you could also buy a bunch of folding chairs and occasionally use this thing as a makeshift bus. Perhaps you could pay for the whole thing by giving tours.
Or, better yet, you could create a mobile karaoke wagon and bring bad singing right to the front doors of people’s houses.
Now you’re cookin’ with gas.
Tony comes to RVtravel.com having worked at an RV dealership and been a lifelong RV enthusiast. You can find his writing here and at StressLessCamping, where he also has a podcast with his wife about the RV life.