The once unfathomable idea of a trailer that drives itself pushes closer and closer to reality. Joining Dethleffs and OzXcorp in working to crack that particular code, RV chassis builder AL-KO is hard at work on its own electric-driven frame. And instead of leaving out the motorized RV segment, it’s also developing an electrified motorhome chassis that creates the plug-in hybrid motorhome auto and RV manufacturers have been largely ignoring.
New Atlas reported that both electrified chassis variants make holiday travel greener by cutting emissions, adding range and creating more holistic power systems.
Dethleffs and OzXcorp are working on electrified trailers in Europe and Australia, respectively, and recent reports indicate that Airstream Inc., a Thor Industries Inc. subsidiary is interested in bringing the tech over to the U.S. Meanwhile, Germany’s AL-KO vehicle technology is working with Huber Automotive to develop its own smart hardware and control software package to make the self-powering trailer a viable reality. The work could have global implications because AL-KO merged with U.S.-based Dexter in 2015 to create DexKo Global, a world leader in trailer axles and chassis components.
After noting that towing a camper can drop an electric vehicle’s range by 70%, AL-KO got to work on the Next Generation Caravan Platform (NGCP) to help boost that range considerably, or cut emissions in the case of an ICE-driven tow vehicle. The prototype tech works with caravans up to 7,000 pounds, featuring a 48-volt electric axle drive and 10- to 30-kWh battery pack integrated into the structure of the trailer chassis. The system is loaded with sensors, allowing it to adjust e-drive output around driving conditions so the trailer can push part of its own weight and use torque vectoring to improve stability and prevent snaking.
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