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