Spartan Motors Inc. introduced a Class A motorhome platform with the diesel engine mounted in the middle of the chassis to give interior and exterior designers more flexibility, according to John Sztykiel, president and COO.

The new chassis, called the me2, is similar to the chassis Spartan uses for some of its fire trucks, Sztykiel said.

Currently, Spartan and its competitor Freightliner supply Class A motorhome builders with chassis that have the diesel engine mounted at the rear. However, the me2, because the engine is located near the middle of the platform, allows for the storage of large items, such as motorcycles, kayaks or an all terrain vehicle, in a rear “garage” compartment.

Because active RV enthusiasts have difficulty taking large, heavy items out from their motorhome’s underfloor storage compartments, Sztykiel thought Spartan should “do something dramatically different, to make the engine disappear.”

Having the engine at the middle of the rail also improves weight distribution so a motorhhome on the me2 chassis will handle better, he said.

The me2 Chassis displayed this week at the RV industry’s national trade show in Louisville, Ky., was designed for a 38-foot motorhome. However, Sztykiel said the me2 could be used for motorhomes ranging from 28 to 45 feet long. A tag axle will be provided for units longer than 40 feet, he added.

The me2 can accommodate Cummins or Caterpillar engines ranging from 260- to 370-horsepower (hp) and it could be used for motorhomes that retail from $100,000 to $400,000, Sztykiel said.

The me2 will cost motorhome OEMs $35,000 for a unit with a 260-hp engine to between $55,000 and $60,000 for a chassis with a 370-hp engine.