Winnebago unveiled a concept electric RV. (Winnebago photo)

Forest City-based Winnebago Industries has unveiled a concept motorhome that is electrically powered.

Winnebago’s director of advanced technology Jaime Sorenson says the battery configuration will meet the needs of a majority of new RV buyers who prefer to make trips under 200 miles.

“At the core of the eRV is an innovative all-electric power system built around an 86 kilowatt-hour high-voltage battery package that delivers power to the drivetrain and supplies electricity for all the onboard systems. The eRV can readily be charged almost anywhere – home, campgrounds, dedicated charging stations – in as little as 45 minutes.”

Sorenson says. He says a user will notice several differences right away when compared to the traditional motorhome. “There’s no LP on the vehicle, there’s no generator on the vehicle. It’s very vibration-free, very quiet. It’s very easy to maintain and very easy to drive,” he says.

Winnebago’s vice president of advanced technology, Shailendra Singh says this is a brand new design, and the electric vehicle is built on a van chassis. “It’s built on a chassis that is called a Ford Transit. But what we’ve done with the Ford Transit is working with an outside company — not with Ford — we’ve put in an all-electric drive train. So this is a vehicle that is a battery electric vehicle. It has no fossil fuels, no generator, no fossil fuels whatsoever on board,” Singh says. He says the experience will be better with all the appliances because the high voltage makes them more efficient, and all of the system controls are integrated.

Singh says it is a concept vehicle and they have several things to work on before it will be available to customers. “I would see this as being a while before it is ready — it’s definitely not this year that we are going to do it — but working with our business unit partners in the company, we are going to be ready when we are ready,” Singh says. “So, we are in no hurry to launch it before we are ready to.”

Sorenson says they aren’t sure yet what the electric RV will cost. “The best way we can answer this is that this is a concept. We’re very early in the stages of bringing this product to the market. I think what we need to focus on more is building that compelling value for the customer more than discussing the cost at this point,” according to Sorenson.

Winnebago made the announcement at the Florida RV Super Show currently going on in Tampa.

(By Bob Fisher, KRIB, Mason City/A.J. Taylor, KIOW, Forest City)