Automotive

Fully electric motorhome offers nearly 190 miles of emissions-free touring

Fully electric motorhome offer...
The Iridium all-electric motorhome debuts at CMT 2019
The Iridium all-electric motorhome debuts at CMT 2019
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Iridium is a new electric motorhome from Germany's WOF (Wohnmobile Outlet Factory)
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Iridium is a new electric motorhome from Germany's WOF (Wohnmobile Outlet Factory)
The Iridium all-electric motorhome debuts at CMT 2019
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The Iridium all-electric motorhome debuts at CMT 2019
Elektrofahrzeuge Stuttgart (Electric Vehicles Stuttgart) provides the electric powertrain for the Iridium motorhome
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Elektrofahrzeuge Stuttgart (Electric Vehicles Stuttgart) provides the electric powertrain for the Iridium motorhome
The Iridium motorhome measures just under 7 meters (23 feet) long
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The Iridium motorhome measures just under 7 meters (23 feet) long
This was during show hours, and the Iridium booth was often empty or lightly visited when we walked by, surprising for an innovative electric motorhome booth
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This was during show hours, and the Iridium booth was often empty or lightly visited when we walked by, surprising for an innovative electric motorhome booth
Iridium body construction partner Maurer Fahrzeugbau was also at CMT, showing its Starliner motorhomes
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Iridium body construction partner Maurer Fahrzeugbau was also at CMT, showing its Starliner motorhomes
The Iridium motorhome features a 188-hp (140-kW) front-mounted electric motor and 106-kWh battery pack
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The Iridium motorhome features a 188-hp (140-kW) front-mounted electric motor and 106-kWh battery pack
Iridium's digital display breaks down important battery and system information
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Iridium's digital display breaks down important battery and system information
A look under the hood of the Iridium e-motorhome
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A look under the hood of the Iridium e-motorhome
We've included the Bela P69 floor plan for reference, as that WOF model will serve as the basis of the standard Iridium, but it's not yet clear if the Iridium will have exactly the same layout
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We've included the Bela P69 floor plan for reference, as that WOF model will serve as the basis of the standard Iridium, but it's not yet clear if the Iridium will have exactly the same layout
This SL 20 Desert Falcon from Maurer Fahrzeugbau was one of the strange-but-cool expedition vehicles we checked out at the 2018 Düsseldorf Caravan Salon
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This SL 20 Desert Falcon from Maurer Fahrzeugbau was one of the strange-but-cool expedition vehicles we checked out at the 2018 Düsseldorf Caravan Salon
Looking at the Desert Falcon, and some of Maurer's other motorhomes, we expect the Maurer-customized Iridium to have a smoother, more van-like appearance without losing its roomy interior
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Looking at the Desert Falcon, and some of Maurer's other motorhomes, we expect the Maurer-customized Iridium to have a smoother, more van-like appearance without losing its roomy interior

A few years ago, the idea of powering a large, heavy Type C motorhome with only a battery would have seemed out of the question. In some ways it still seems impractical, but battery technology is evolving and electric vehicle ranges improving. We've already seen a few all-electric camper vans, and now Germany's WOF GmbH is taking electric travel bigger with a larger electric motorhome. With an advertised 186 miles (300 km) of range, the Iridium motorhome is more capable of traveling the country than you might expect of such a large EV, offering an intriguing zero-emissions alternative for holiday travelers.

WOF (Wohnmobile Outlet Factory) announced the debut of the Iridium electric motorhome late last year, and it was one of the top vehicles we were on the lookout for at the recent CMT show in Stuttgart. In the past we've seen a solar-powered electric motorhome concept and the occasional e-camper van conversion, but the Iridium promised to be something more spacious, practical and actually available for purchase. A pretty big story, right?

Well, the debut was rather subdued, with Iridium occupying a fairly quiet, lonely booth in the hallway of the show. The vehicle itself was incomplete – it was locked every time we stopped by and appeared to have a near hollow, unfinished living cabin – and the stand personnel had little knowledge of the design beyond referencing the single-page glossy announcement flyer they were handing out.

This was during show hours, and the Iridium booth was often empty or lightly visited when we walked by, surprising for an innovative electric motorhome booth
This was during show hours, and the Iridium booth was often empty or lightly visited when we walked by, surprising for an innovative electric motorhome booth

Not that we're complaining, but we were expecting a bit more fanfare and buzz for a first-of-its-kind electric motorhome. Perhaps it was simply Iridium being a product of a smaller, lesser-known brand, as opposed to a major name like Hymer or Knaus-Tabbert, but WOF had been successful in developing a bit of lead-up publicity, so we were still a little surprised about the quiet, low-key premiere. Perhaps we were just there at the wrong times.

Regardless, the all-electric motorhome is an important step forward, especially if its on-road performance comes close to its on-paper specs. The Iridium build starts off with a chassis from the Sevel manufacturing cooperative that produces the Fiat Ducato, Peugeot Boxer and Citroën Jumper. From there, WOF turns things over to the electric powertrain specialists at Elektrofahrzeuge Stuttgart (EFA-S), a company that has experience electrifying a fleet of UPS delivery trucks.

A look under the hood of the Iridium e-motorhome
A look under the hood of the Iridium e-motorhome

The EFA-S electric powertrain consists of a 188-hp (140-kW) motor driving the front wheels. A 106-kWh lithium-iron-phosphate battery provides the juice for the 186 miles (300 km) of range. We're wondering how well that range figure will hold up once the motorhome gets loaded with people and a vacation's worth of supplies and gear, but that's the figure available for now.

Regenerative braking provides some help in keeping the battery charged, but once charge nears zero, you'll have to plug in with a 50-kW CCS fast-charger, a Type 2 charger. The driver cab includes a large digital display for monitoring the battery.

Iridium's digital display breaks down important battery and system information
Iridium's digital display breaks down important battery and system information

The 274 x 91 x 116-in (695 x 232 x 295-cm, L x W x H) Iridium motorhome will come in two specifications. The standard version will be based on WOF's Bela Edition P69 and will launch later this year for a base price of €169,000 (approx. US$194,425). Company materials don't include a floor plan or detailed spec list just yet, but they do mention standard onboard heating and a 150-L refrigerator.

WOF may or may not rearrange the floor plan for the new electric motorhome, but for reference, the Bela P69 comes standard with a 2-/3-person longitudinal rear bed, with convertible dinette and electric-lift beds available to expand sleeping capacity. The interior also includes a central bathroom with separate shower compartment, a kitchen area with triple-burner stove and a front dinette.

The Citroën-based P69 starts at €43,990 (US$50,600), which is a long way from its all-electric cousin.

The second Iridium variant will launch in 2020 and will include a mono-shell built by Swiss fiberglass body specialist Maurer Fahrzeugbau, a shop that makes some pretty cool little motorhomes of its own, like the Starliner SL 20 Desert Falcon 6x6 below. The Maurer-constructed Iridium e-camper will be more of a custom build, with pricing and options available upon request.

This SL 20 Desert Falcon from Maurer Fahrzeugbau was one of the strange-but-cool expedition vehicles we checked out at the 2018 Düsseldorf Caravan Salon
This SL 20 Desert Falcon from Maurer Fahrzeugbau was one of the strange-but-cool expedition vehicles we checked out at the 2018 Düsseldorf Caravan Salon

The Iridium market launch is currently scheduled for the July/August timeframe, so hopefully a more finished version of the motorhome with fully converted interior will be on show at the 2019 Düsseldorf Caravan Salon.

Source: Iridium (German)

12 comments
toyhouse
The article mentions being fully loaded but doesn't also bring up the depletion rate on mountain passes. That's a biggie. Fully loaded on a hot day with the a.c. on full and plowing over just one steep mountain pass,... and you'd be hunting frantically for a charging station I would think. At least you'd get some charge going back down. This isn't the way most r.v.'s are used. Folks drive them for hours on end - often to places where services are far and few between. This seems to be pushing the e.v. movement too far too soon perhaps,....or maybe I'm missing a market segment somewhere, (the half-hour-from-home camper?),.Or it's only a tech showcase.
SteveMc
Manufacturers have to begin somewhere to get the market started but this is a LOOOOONG way from being practical OR cost effective.
Brian M
toyhouse about sums it up - Electric vehicles are very practical for well traveled trips such as home/work/shops. For journeys done by motorhomes its a bit silly with the current state of technology. Perhaps a hybrid version might have a more practical use?
RealRV
Based on my M3, highway, I expect this to get 100-110 miles before you would be searching for a charger. And, you won’t be charging at any campground. And, pulling a car behind is out of the question. A Tesla and a tent makes more sense.
Aross
This certainly won't fly in North America, distances to travel just too great. Didn't see any mention of the time to recharge but on a trip of say 1000k which takes around 13 hours, with bio breaks, how much time would be added to recharge? I still think the only viable solution, given current battery technology, would be to have a quick swap standardized battery system.
guzmanchinky
Tesla will build a van someday. Turn that into a camper and let it charge at any 30 or 50 amp plug at any RV park in the US.
Doe Hunter
Less than 200 miles for a 6 figure price is utterly ridiculous, if not assinine. For bored people with more $$$$ or credit than what they know what to do with.
jerryd
Several details. This is Europe rated range, real range is more likely 120 miles. Next mountains don't matter as the battery gets recharged going back down, regaining a good amount of the energy going up. The 50Kw charging is too small. It should be 120kw at least. One tends to travel in small trips when RVing and many stop every 10-50 miles to see something or park, camp so 120 mile range with SC at 120kw can easily be done.
chomper
I have an RV and I use it probably 40 times per year. I have never stopped every 10-50 miles to "see something" and even if I did, there wouldn't be a charging station to quickly top off my battery. Out of over 200 trips in the past 5 years, maybe 10% of those were less than 200 miles round trip. Maybe 5 % were less than 100 miles round trip. Many were over steep mountain passes and although regenerative braking would restore some capacity, it is nowhere near a non-issue. I highly doubt I could make a single one of my trips in this van without running out of juice. Not to mention my RV is a 36 foot class A with 2 pop outs and weighs 20,000 lbs.....let's see you make one of those in an EV. RVs are not even close to a practical use of EV tech.
bwana4swahili
Whoopee, a whole 190 miles per charge (rated). Now throw in cold weather and hilly country AND let's see how often you have to stop for lengthy recharges on a 600-800 mile trip!!