Just when we thought that caravans (or campers) that have to be towed with a car were practically forgotten, Dethleffs believes they may have a future as electric vehicles. The German company has introduced a concept caravan called e.home coco that has its own solar panels, batteries, and curiously, electric motors that assist the towing car to pull the caravan.
Not only does the Dethleffs electric caravan have its own solar power and motors controlled by embedded computer, the vehicle can provide electricity for a home when it is not on the road. If the Dethleffs caravan owner’s house is already powered by a solar system that stores electricity in batteries, e.home coco can hook up to the house’s power system, and provide additional solar energy. The investment in caravan doesn’t stand idle, but actually saves money for the owner.
Another nifty feature that comes with electric motors is parking the caravan. When the caravan is detached from the towing vehicle, the caravan can be parked using a remote control. It is achieved by the electric motors that drive the wheels. Dethleffs is planning an app to be downloaded on a smartphone as the remote control. Clever.
The electric caravan Dethleffs e.home coco assists the towing car with its two electric engines – one for each wheel. The wheels operate individually, allowing the remote parking feature and steady control on winding roads or in the wind. The engines can be set to assist a small towing car more than a large, powerful car. Everything is controlled by a computer automatically.
Dethleffs is planning to test the electric concept caravan on the road during 2019, and make decisions about its future then.
If we think about this concept product for a moment, the key thing is that Dethleffs has really been innovative. Adopting solar power to a caravan opened up so many new possibilities to use the vehicle that it is pretty much amazing. If the e-caravan goes into production, people actually using it on camp sites will surely invent more features and applications for it.
The future of electric vehicles and self-driving cars is a few years away. Is the next step for an electric caravan to be completely autonomous? When you start your road trip, tell the caravan’s computer to follow your car. No towing, just make sure the caravan actually follows you and has enough energy.