Airstream Doubles Down on Vintage Vibe While Going All-in on Evs
RVs are booming. At this point, most of us understand the importance of safely traveling by isolating and being as self-sufficient as possible. In the RV game, whether camper van, motorhome, trailer, or overlanding truck rig, the demand has spurred the creation of countless new boutique builders. While the segment has become inundated with flashy new companies, few can rival what is arguably the most iconic camper in existence; Airstream.
Airstream is a living legend
The folks at Roadshow make the astute observation that “Airstream campers are some of the most recognizable shapes on the road,” and I totally agree. Whether you have ever set foot in an Airstream trailer or not, that art deco/ futurist look is unmistakable. For the longest time, the aesthetic matched the functionality, but that is no longer the case.
Have Airstream campers been updated?
Have they ever! I covered the Smart Control App recently, which is a huge push into the future for the classic camper company. This feature is an effort to give Airstream customers all the capability and comfort of modern camping while still keeping the undeniably cool look of the classic chrome (of course, not literally) tube.
The smart home controls aren’t the only things Airstream is working on to modernize its campers; its gaze is firmly set on being compatible with the EV world. In an interview with Roadshow, McKay Featherstone, Airstream’s Vice President of Product Development and Engineering, said, “We’re really focused on the idea of freedom and range.” Along with the efforts to give these campers modern connectivity capabilities, the company knows EVs are the path forward and are planning accordingly.
Can your Airstream charge your EV?
Not just yet, but hopefully that is coming soon. In the meantime, Airstream is working on something a bit more progressive. Featherstone (rad name) goes on to say, “If you’re going to tow something long-distance, range is critical.” It goes without saying that the best way to drain an EVs battery is to tow a heavy trailer. One way Airstream is trying to help EV owners is by focusing on its trailer’s weight and aerodynamics.
Aerodynamics and weight is a great place to start, but it’s not exactly groundbreaking. Featherstone says Airstream is also working on incorporating an electric drivetrain. Instead of making the vehicle doing the towing stronger, why not make the trailer carry its own weight by giving it powered wheels. With an electric motor mounted on the trailer’s axle, this goes from dead weight to something more like a train with multiple engines. Very cool, Airstream. Very cool.
Making a powered trailer is not without its challenges
The main challenge would be keeping the powered trailer from pushing against the towing vehicle. Thankfully, Airstream has been investing in the Smart Control app, which is, at its core, a connectivity system that allows for communication between gadgets.
This system would have to work to ensure the camper and tow vehicle are in constant communication with one another to work in concert instead of independently. This new way of towing could extend not only EV range but also overhaul the entire towing experience. This connectivity could be used to increase blind-spot monitoring, stability control, and more.
Featherstone’s comments not only give hope to EV owners, but to anyone who regularly tows. Systems like this have the potential to completely change towing forever.
All that tech and smart design and Airstream is still sexy. Airstream campers really are the whole package.