Virtually every inch of this electric vehicle is covered in solar panels
The popular RV German company Dethleffs launched its prototype electric motorhome last month, at this yearâ€™s Caravan Salon Dusseldorf. The so-called â€˜e.homeâ€™ vehicle features a zero emissions powertrain, plenty of solar charging capability, and efficient and smart technologies throughout. Every inch of its surface (31 m2 in total) is covered in thin-film solar panels, able to generate up to 3,000W of electricity for its 228-Ah sodium-nickel-chloride battery array.
Built on the companyâ€™s Iveco Daily Electric chassis with a 107-horsepower electric motor, â€˜e.homeâ€™ is also equipped with super capacitors for faster battery charging and discharging, providing better performance and more efficient power usage, while the batteryâ€™s life is guaranteed for about 1,500 charges (around 250,000 km)).
Even though motorhomes are designed and destined for long journeys, they usually have a range of around 160km, but integrated solar panels will change that for good. â€˜E.homeâ€™â€™s batteries could offer offer up to 174 mi (280 km) of range (NEDC) in non-camper trim. â€œDethleffs knows this means a lot more than just putting bodywork on an electrically driven chassis,â€ said Alexander Leopold, the companyâ€™s Managing Director. â€œBy implementing a fully electric powertrain there are many challenges and equally opportunities for the entire vehicle. One significant opportunity is to do without any additional type of energy sources for the vehicle. This means that a motorhome with electric drive will also supply all the onboard services with electricity for the living area instead of gas, for example â€“ and that is why solar power production becomes very important.â€
Other â€˜greenâ€™ characteristics
The â€˜e.homeâ€™ utilizes Victron Energy products for the solar kit, including solar charge controllers, a combined inverter/charger for onboard AC electricity and to charge the lithium domestic power storage batteries and a DC-DC converter to supply charge stations for phones, laptops etc. It is also equipped with infrared heating panels on interior floors, furniture and walls, while the windows are covered with darkening film between the panels. Its heating system captures outside air on days warmer than 26Â°C and sends it into the main cabin when the eveningâ€™s cooler air sets in.
The companyâ€™s prototype, presented at Caravan Salon Dusseldorf