Airstream and Porsche Just Made the Camper of the Future
Airstream has built its brand around its well-known Jetage design that has lasted nearly 100 years. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, as your cliche uncle might proclaim. However, Airstream just broke the mold with its new collaboration project with none other than the folks at Porsche. Welcome to the camper of the future.
Airstream X Porsche just whipped up a wild camper concept
In a moment of incredibly cool marketing, Airstream just debuted its newest offering at SXSW in Austin, Texas. While Airstream is the camper folks in this equation, Porsche – you know, the sportscar builders – also got involved in helping create the perfect camper to support EV drivers. The result of this collab is this beautiful concept.
The concept camper is designed to be pulled by a small SUV or, more specifically, an EV. The idea was to create a camper that offers a more symbiotic relationship.
“Our customer base is about twice as likely to own an EV than the general population,” said Bob Wheeler, Airstream’s CEO. “Towing a travel trailer cuts down on the range. Weight and aerodynamics play a big part in that.”
Does Airstream make an EV-friendly camper?
Airstream has had electric vehicles on the mind for some time now. The eStream concept camper came out last year. Not only was this concept meant to pair with an EV tow vehicle, but it is an EV itself. The eStream’s electric power supply enabled it to move around when unhooked. It could even assist the EV while traveling like a secondary train engine. Car and Driver notes that Airstream isn’t the only luxury camper trying to envision the electric future; Bowlus and Winnebago are also working on other EV-friendly campers.
Can EVs pull trailers?
EVs can pull trailers ad campers; the problem is that the added weight and drag, like in an ICE truck, greatly reduce range. And while refueling in a normal truck is no big deal, “refueling” an EV can take quite a while.
“We understand this future is coming. It’s already here, and it’s continuing to grow,” Wheeler said about the increasing number of EVs on the road. “We know that our owners do not park in campgrounds for summers or seasons; they’re on the road.”
What role did Porsche play in the new concept camper?
Unlike the eStream concept, this new Porsche-designed one doesn’t have its own electric motor. Instead, Porsche decided to make it as aerodynamic as possible. This involved removing the iconic rivets on the hull of the camper. Those little heads create a lot of drag which causes the EV to lose range faster. Another iconic feature that Porsche ditched is the big, rounded back. The Germans found that having a flatter back helped aero and also allowed for a hatchback option. The underside of the camper is also completely flat, acting more like a race car. This also helps the unit become even slipperier. Porsche also used materials like carbon fiber to reduce weight. Thankfully, a touch of Airstream is still left, like the aluminum panels.
“Going into this collaboration, we knew that if we tied Porsche’s hands, we’d end up with what we already have,” Wheeler said. “What we ended up with is beautiful, functional, and represents the brand.”
Don’t worry; it’s still an Airstream
People love to fuss if things don’t change but then raise High Holy Hell when they do. While Porsche certainly pushed the envelope in some ways, the concept still has Airstream written all over it.
The 16-ft camper offers a high-end yet minimal design for the interior. Inside, the space is defined by clean lines, wisely integrated features, and plenty of modern design.
The kitchen is well-equipped with a two-burner stove, an integrated sink, and an elegant flip-up counter extender. Other camper classics are around, like the dinette converting to a bed. However, there are some cool ones, like the camper’s suspension dropping to allow it to fit in a garage door.
“The curvature and the softness is the most important thing,” said Steffen Ganz, head of design for Porsche Design of America.
Will this unnamed Airstream camper concept make it to production?
Neither Porsche nor Airstream have commented on whether or not the companies will make it. But Wheeler said something that gave us hope.
“We really fell in love with this thing during this process, and we’re actively trying to figure out how to produce it,” said Wheeler. “We’re challenging ourselves to find out how we can build this effectively, to produce something identical to this or very similar for the customer of the future.”