What Is a Class E RV? And Will It Ever Get to Market?

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An electric RV's headlights blind the camera as another futuristic rv is behind it.

Chances are, you already know your As, Bs, and Cs. But what’s a Class E RV? The futuristic term appeared in the news recently when Camping World announced a partnership with Lordstown Motors. 

Those plans are off, but hopefully, a Class E RV will soon become a reality. Let’s explore what we know — and don’t know — about them.

What Is a Class E RV? 

You may have guessed that the E in Class E stands for “electric.” There’s a shift toward electric vehicles because they cause less pollution and don’t rely on fossil fuels. As these technological advances reach the RV world, there will be an additional class of motorhomes.  

When should we expect this newcomer to arrive at the party? No one knows for sure, but it might be soon.

A Partnership That Fell Apart: Camping World and Lordstown Motors

It was exciting news back in December when Camping World and Lordstown Motors announced they were teaming up. Camping World CEO Marcus Lemonis and Lordstown Motors CEO Steve Burns appeared together at a news conference. 

They announced that Camping World locations around the country would become service centers and charging stations for Lordstown vehicles. Lemonis also said at the time that they were also looking toward developing the world’s first Class E RVs, but he didn’t offer any details. 

Another facet reportedly involves the creation of an offshoot retail center Electric World. “The future is now, and the realization of electrifying RVs and the outdoor community is within our grasp and will only grow from here,” Lemonis said in a press release shared by Business Insider.

The partnership fell apart abruptly, however, after Lordstown suffered a series of setbacks. Burns has resigned as CEO, and the federal government is investigating claims that Lordstown has exaggerated its sales numbers.

Class E RV driving down the highway.

What Is Lordstown Motors? 

Lordstown Motors is an emerging automaker based in a former General Motors plant in Lordstown, Ohio. Its first model, the all-electric Endurance pickup truck, has a towing capacity of 7,500 lbs. 

Lordstown also plans to produce lithium-ion battery packs that other manufacturers can integrate into their travel trailers. This would replace the generators RVs rely on when not hooked up to shore power. Farther down the road, Lordstown Motors will build a Class E RV on a van chassis.

Lordstown revealed its truck prototype in June 2020. After a series of delays, the company now says the Endurance will roll out this September. The trucks will join commercial fleets before being available to the general public.

So … Now What? 

Since the partnership between Camping World and Lordstown came to a screeching halt, we’re not sure what the future holds. But it seems clear that the company’s CEO knows something we don’t. 

“We are launching electric world with an amazing assortment from around the globe. @LordstownMotors will not be a part of that,” Lemonis said in response to a query on Twitter.

This indicates that other manufacturers, including foreign ones, are ready to step up and join the e-revolution. Unfortunately, he gave no details and did not respond to follow-up questions on Twitter.

As for Lordstown, it could be a heavy blow, and we are watching to see if they have a viable plan B. The project would have meant that Lordstown didn’t have to build its own charging centers. Personnel at Camping World service centers also would have been trained to work on Lordstown vehicles.

Class E RV driving to its next adventure.

Will Class E RVs Be Fully Electric? 

When it comes to electric vehicles, there are a few different classifications. A fully electric vehicle that doesn’t have an internal combustion engine is sometimes called a  BEV, or a battery-powered electric vehicle. Hybrid electrics (HEVs) have a fuel-burning engine and an electric motor, and the batteries recharge as you drive. Plug-in hybrid electrics, also known as PHEVs, have a limited range because you have to plug them in for recharging.

We don’t know for sure whether the Class E RVs in development are fully electric. They may be hybrids, or you may have to plug them in. We do know that Lordstown’s Endurance pickup is designed to be all-electric. We assume that a Lordstown Class E RV would be similar.

How Will Class E RVs Charge? 

We have some other questions, too. How will you charge a Class E RV’s batteries, and how long will it take? We also wonder what kind of range they will have. It’s too early to say. 

Lemonis Says Camping World Will Spend $4 Million Upgrading Infrastructure for Electrification

In December, Lemonis announced that Camping World would spend $4 million to install charging stations at the 170 Camping World locations in the U.S. He hasn’t given any kind of update since he revealed that Lordstown was no longer in his plans. 

When Will Class E RVs Be Available? 

It’s been a little over six months since Camping World and Lordstown talked about their partnership. They expected to have a prototype of their charging station by now. They projected that they would test an electric RV trailer sometime this year. They also said customers could expect them for sale as early as 2022. Timelines were always uncertain, and now even more so.

You can’t travel in an all-electric vehicle without being able to recharge your batteries along the way. Camping World wants to be your stopping point. It’s a good business strategy, and it may help to usher us into a new era of travel. It’s a world that would include the smoother, cleaner, and quieter RV class. For now, we are still waiting for a Class E RV to hit the road.

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