Dethleffs e.Home: something new under the sun?
October, 16 2017
Electric driving and camping – they still don’t work all that well together. Of course, you can pull your caravan using a Tesla or other electric or hybrid car, but there are still disadvantages. For the more environmentally-aware camping enthusiast who isn’t satisfied with a few solar panels on the roof of his caravan or motorhome, there may soon be a serious option to travel completely sustainably. That’s because, at a recent camping trade fair in Düsseldorf, Dethleffs presented a study model of a completely electrically-powered motorhome.
It does look a little strange at first sight. While you’d normally expect to see just a few solar panels on the roof, virtually every surface on the e.Home is covered in black solar panels. Even the door! All these panels have a surface area of around 31 m2, which should produce enough power for an operating radius of 175 miles. The model, built on the chassis of an electric Iveco Daily, weighs 5.6 tonnes, and can reach a speed of about 50 mph.
Another thing that makes the Dethleffs motorhome stand out is it’s economical infrared heating system. In contrast to other types of heating systems, very little heat is lost to the air with this system. That efficiency is necessary too, as the motor of this large motorhome, including all machinery, is completely reliant on the electricity produced by those panels. You can monitor all the components (including heating, lighting, locks) with a smart app. Very modern.
What is clear is that Dethleffs has taken a huge leap forward compared to other models of motorhomes that just have a few solar panels to make them self-sufficient, but still rely on fossil fuels for powering their motor. The study model isn’t for sale yet, but it does give some idea of the potential. What still needs to happen before the e.Home stands a realistic chance of success?
A good start
The 175 miles from one charge that the German motorhome manufacturer promises us is likely to be difficult to achieve in practice. It might be true that an empty e.Home can get this far, but a loaded motorhome which uses a fridge and other equipment on the road will never be able to reach this distance. What’s more realistic is the 100-125 mile operating radius that several sites report.
Something else that could be a problem is the long charging time (with two fast chargers, it takes about 2 hours to get to 80%, and about 24 hours to reach full capacity). For shorter distances then, this Dethleffs may be a nice addition to the market. Campers who set their sights a little further may still have to make do with those few solar panels on the roof. But it’s clear that the Dethleffs e.Home has made a solid start towards further electrification in the motorhome market.
It was possible to see the e.Home at the Caravan Salon. Dethleffs plan to develop the concept further over the next few years. By registering at their site, you can also contribute actively.
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