The RV Market Isn’t Ready for EV Transition, But We Are
I’m sure you’ve read the recent announcement that California, likely with other states announcing shortly, is directing the phase-out of the sale of all gasoline-powered vehicles by 2035. We predict this direction will, in time, roll out across the country.
However, this move will prove extremely challenging for the RV industry. Practically, most RVs are simply too large and too heavy for electric tow vehicles. Even assuming EVs tow capacity increases in the future, range and watt usage will be so severely compromised that travel will be a cumbersome experience for these heavyweight RVs. The RV industry has long held a “wait and see” attitude towards the EV market as they really do cater to the “bigger is better” crowd that required a pickup to tow their units.
At Bowlus, we have always designed for lightweight. We long ago identified the future of EVs as tow vehicles. EVs have been towing Bowlus since 2015, when a few of our owners with very early Tesla X owners received their deliveries. We don’t believe that you should buy an RV and be concerned with what you will tow it within a few years or even worse, that it will fill a dumpsite in the near future because it is no longer in tune with society. The future of EVs as tow vehicles led us, even then, to add an emergency EV charger to the Limited Edition Lithium+, which we launched at Pebble Beach Car Week in 2016. We are well prepared for the transition to EVs (which many Bowlus owners drive today).
The future considerations for towing with electric vehicles include issues like:
- Tow Capacity
- Charging Stations
A Bowlus has a dry weight of under 3,200 lbs. Other comparable sized RVs are 3.5-5 x the weight. In the RV industry, lightweight design is considered anything under 10,000 lbs.
The current production EV with a tow capacity rating is the Tesla X with 4,960 lbs. There are anticipated EVs with towing capacities higher like the Rivian with 11,000 lbs, Tesla Cybertruck with 14,000 lbs, Bollinger with 7,500 lbs, etc. However, we need to see what really happens when they arrive on the market. As new gasoline-powered vehicles are no longer sold or less frequently sold, there will be a significantly smaller (and by today’s entries, a more expensive) selection to tow these large, heavy RVs as not everyone will want the equivalent of a Cybertruck.
We look forward to continuing this conversation over parts two and three of our three-part series. In the second part of this series, we will dive more into range. We are always thinking about performance and value and how the changes like we see in the automobile world will impact you.