Automotive

Range-extending electric mini-camper charges the Tesla towing it

Range-extending electric mini-...
More complex than many teardrops, the Boulder has a convertible dinette inside and offers a queen bed and bunks
More complex than many teardrops, the Boulder has a convertible dinette inside and offers a queen bed and bunks
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Colorado Teardrops shows a first look at its battery-injected camping trailer
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Colorado Teardrops shows a first look at its battery-injected camping trailer
Colorado plans to install a fast charging system so that drivers can quickly fill up the tow vehicle as needed
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Colorado plans to install a fast charging system so that drivers can quickly fill up the tow vehicle as needed
Any trailer will cut the efficiency of its tow vehicle, but Colorado Teardrops plans for its Boulder to make up the difference
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Any trailer will cut the efficiency of its tow vehicle, but Colorado Teardrops plans for its Boulder to make up the difference
More complex than many teardrops, the Boulder has a convertible dinette inside and offers a queen bed and bunks
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More complex than many teardrops, the Boulder has a convertible dinette inside and offers a queen bed and bunks
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Colorado plans to a use a chassis-integrated battery arrangement
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Colorado plans to a use a chassis-integrated battery arrangement
The galley will come empty as standard, but Colorado plans to offer the usual features as options
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The galley will come empty as standard, but Colorado plans to offer the usual features as options
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The growth of the EV market and the surging popularity of RVing are starting to bleed together into an intriguing market of EV-friendly RV products, from all-electric motorhomes to ultralight camping trailers. As Colorado Teardrops previews, that market will also include teardrop trailers that double as rolling charging stations. With as much chassis-mounted lithium power as a Tesla Model 3, Colorado's new Boulder camper can charge its tow vehicle enough to make up for the decrease in range it adds at the hitch, ensuring adventurers can disappear into the wild and make it back without incident.

Battery-stuffed camping trailers meant to augment the capacity and range of the electric tow vehicle have been popping up for a few years now. Some advertise the capability to jumpstart a Tesla with just enough juice to (hopefully) make it to the very nearest electrical outlet. Others come from the more ambitious goal of self-powering the trailer wheels to cut the effective tow load down to zero, but those remain but prototypes.

With the proposition of the 16.3-foot (5-m) Boulder trailer, Colorado Teardrops steps in the ground between those other electrified trailer concepts, giving the trailer the battery power to charge the tow vehicle enough to make up for the energy lost during towing, if not more than make up for it. That's essentially the same end goal as self-powered electric-motored trailers, but without the e-drive hardware or software. Colorado Teardrops plans to equip the Boulder with a DC fast charger for quick, convenient electrical transfer.

Colorado plans to install a fast charging system so that drivers can quickly fill up the tow vehicle as needed
Colorado plans to install a fast charging system so that drivers can quickly fill up the tow vehicle as needed

"The ability to return an electric vehicle to its original range and provide recharging capabilities through renewables will extend camping opportunities far beyond the current range and enable a new level of environmentally responsible camping possibilities," Colorado Teardrops founder Dean Wiltshire says about the Boulder project's inspiration.

Colorado Teardrops doesn't reinvent the wheel when it comes to placing the battery, borrowing the popular flat-mounted, under-floor chassis integration from the EV industry. This setup promises to keep the trailer's center of gravity down low and stay completely out of the way of the living amenities above.

Colorado plans to a use a chassis-integrated battery arrangement
Colorado plans to a use a chassis-integrated battery arrangement

Above the powerful chassis, the trailer features a lightweight, insulated hard-sided body. A 3,500-lb (1,588-kg) torsion axle holds up all that battery weight, but at 1,950 lb (885 kg) dry, the Boulder isn't terribly heavy to start (a lack of standard equipment is critical there).

The convertible interior features a dinette that transforms into a 60 x 78-in (152 x 198-cm) queen bed and two bunks, giving it the ability to sleep an entire family of four. Two full-height gullwing doors create convenient exit and entry and offer plenty of fresh air and scenery when open.

The Boulder galley comes standard as an empty space to be filled out by the buyer, helping to keep the trailer's base weight down. The layout is derived from Colorado's Mount Massive trailer and features a dual opening, with a countertop and cabinetry directly inside the tailgate and lower storage behind a pair of doors. The doors double as shelf supports when open, providing extra workspace and/or a table for a stove. Colorado does plan to offer myriad galley options, including an induction cooktop and fridge/freezer that can run off the trailer's ample battery power.

The galley will come empty as standard, but Colorado plans to offer the usual features as options
The galley will come empty as standard, but Colorado plans to offer the usual features as options

Other options will extend beyond the galley, and while some of them will necessitate an LPG tank, Colorado says it's exploring electric A/C and heating alternatives to make the trailer run purely on electricity, much like the competition right down the road at Colorado Campworks. Optional solar charging will also be available.

As for the oddball shape that's not quite a boulder, not quite a teardrop, it appears entirely guided by aerodynamics. The sidewalls lean inward to slim down inside the tow vehicle's width, and the flattened top prevents the trailer from rising unnecessarily high. The interior measures 55 inches (140 cm) to the ceiling.

As is probably obvious from the renderings, Colorado Teardrops is in the initial stages of Boulder development and specs are subject to change. We certainly hope that the exterior design changes as the trailer evolves because Colorado's initial design really destroys the organic beauty of the traditional teardrop, particularly problematic for a trailer with a $55,000 MSRP. We imagine it could better attract well-heeled, EV-driving first adopters with a prettier, more polished design and perhaps a more glamping-grade standard amenities package.

Any trailer will cut the efficiency of its tow vehicle, but Colorado Teardrops plans for its Boulder to make up the difference
Any trailer will cut the efficiency of its tow vehicle, but Colorado Teardrops plans for its Boulder to make up the difference

Colorado Teardrops is accepting reservations at discounted prices now, for those who don't mind taking the leap of faith. It hopes to have the first models out for delivery within a year's time but readily admits that continued COVID-related supply chain issues might push that back ... as might the very process of developing and safety-testing a towable livable battery pack.

You can watch the preview video below.

The Boulder EV Adventure Trailer from Colorado Teardrops

Source: Colorado Teardrops

View gallery - 7 images
7 comments
7 comments
sonic
Those doors have no rubber, gutters or overlap that I can see, it looks like it has to leak.
vince
The wave of the future will be all electric powered trailers that pull their own loads and provide zero towing resistance to the vehicle doing the towing whether it's a semi truck or a small compact electric car pulling a small 4x8 utility trailer. A Semi trailer has room under the bed to literally stuff mega kilowatts of battery and with powered wheels and regeneration makes them safer with far more control over jackknifing in winter conditions. A Tesla Semi truck with a properly equipped trailer can potentially tow across country without stopping by equipping the trailer with 2 to 3 MkW of batteries with motors in all wheels. The regeneration of the trailer will make trucks far safer going down long steep Interstate grades making runouts obsolete and unnecessary because the rengerative braking will make overheating brakes a thing of the past.
jerryd
Guided by someone with no clue on aerodynamics you mean. Between the front roof angle for no good reason and the wheel whatever you ant to call it are terrible at aero.
The 1k lb battery will alone cut range of an EV by 20% and the aero increases aero drag 50% so a serious loss in range.
Vs an actual aero light trailer would only cut range 5-15%. If the EV towing doesn't have good aero a aero trailer can clean that up and at freeway speeds actually increase range.
Bob Flint
Also the lack of any solar panels during the drive, & when parked, to help the energy balance.
History Nut
So, it is like a 'drop tank' on a fighter aircraft? Drive until your car's battery is low and then take a charge from the trailer seems a little lame. Why not have it hook into the car's energy storage upon attachment to provide an immediate higher capacity/range? I envision EVs limping out of the camping area to find a charging station while leaving the then dead load of the trailer. When recharged, the EV drives back to the trailer to tow it out to a charging station(providing it hasn't been vandalized in the interim) so both can again get a full charge. Seems inefficient to me. Now a trailer with both battery(to extend range or compensate for the energy to tow it) and solar panels/propane powered generator to top up the EV might work. Remember, there is no free energy. It takes a certain amount of energy to move a mass regardless of the source. Simply put: There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch.
Signguy
So you're basically buying a car...but no car...no thanks.
ljaques
Let's see: They want people to pay 1.57 times the original cost of their new vehicle for a tiny teardrop camper? LOL