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Old 04-10-2019, 11:08 AM   #1
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Ignoring the Obvious-The Electric Future of the RV Industry

Where is the RV industry going? Tesla produces a car that accelerates faster than a Ferrari handles nearly as well and is a BLAST to drive, Volvoís new POLESTAR is poised to give Tesla some very stiff competition. Every major automobile manufacturer produces either an electric or Hybrid car...including Mercedes and BMW. Meanwhile a fully electric class 8 truck has been produced and is being tested as are electric pickups and delivery vehicles. Battery Technology is advancing very rapidly.


Oil companies are embracing the future and are positioning themselves for the all electric future of transportation, at least ground transport. States like California and some others are grappling with the newly realized notion that electric cars donít pay fuel taxesÖ.how are they going to fill that gap?


Right now if you buy a Tesla (or any other all electric vehicle) you will get up to a $7,500 tax credit and never pay for gas again, and if it is a Tesla you can recharge on the road for free.


So how is the RV industry reacting to the new reality? In short. It isnít.


In Europe two companies have produced a Class C prototype to be shown at the next big RV show. And here in this country Winnebago has an experimental all electric RV which I still believe doesnt even have a name yet. That just about covers it.


These tepid, and late attempts to get on board what is without doubt going to be our future will have far reaching implications for the industry and for RVíers and probably sooner than you think.



The biggest and first will be a sales downturn, in addition there will be a major DOWNSIZING of all types of RVís, to accommodate battery and range issues, at least for the foreseeable future. Right now the industry is blithely producing giant sized 5th wheelers and Class Aís at an ever increasing rate despite definite and clear market trends that point to people choosing to downsize. And maybe even more importantly SIMPLIFY or de-complexify their RV experience.


The big question for me is why the RV industry has been traditionally so slow to recognize trends in itís business and react to them in smart and profitable ways. The auto industry was slow to catch on also but has made up a lot of ground in the past 5 years spurred mostly by Tesla and itís popularity and the acceptance of the electric car in the marketplace. They saw the writing on the wall. They are reacting and all have MAJOR Electric vehicle development projects. When you talk to the heads of these companies the Electric future is always in the conversation.


I grant that the RV industry, due to several factors, will be slow to react and adopt this technology and that for many of you out there you will be well past the RVíing stage when this comes to pass but it is coming and faster than most think.


So it might be the time to start discussing how this will affect the industry, what RVís will look like in the future and how it will affect the LEAST technologically adept part of the industry; the RV Parks. My guess is there is NO ONE in that industry with a vision for the future.


The upshot of all of this is that there will be a major upheaval in the RVíing industry as a whole from the vehicle manufacturers to aftermarket goodies to the parks. Are any of them ready for it?
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Old 04-10-2019, 11:45 AM   #2
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Many rv’s are built on other manufacturers chassis. They will catch up when Ford, gmc etc start producing electric truck chassis. I doubt much the rv industry has the tooling, engineers etc to build an electric rv from the tires up.
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Old 04-10-2019, 11:53 AM   #3
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Those freebees being handed out by Tesla and other electric cars are going to be short lived. They will start taxing electric cars. They have to. They are using the road systems. The incentives to get people to buy in are going to end as soon as they start becoming more popular. This topic comes up regularly. Maybe in the warm south electric vehicles are more viable, but up here in the cold north, I cant see them taking over any time soon. Batteries in cold don't function well. Lithium doesn't charge well in cold. Since all our products are delivered by truck, you would have to put into place a very large system of electrical charging stations for these trucks. This is going to require large amount of power lines in addition to what we already have, as well as additional generating capacity. These huge problems are not going to be solved overnight, let along in the next 10 to 20 years. As long as oil is available, its going to be hard to get govts to spend money on the infrastructure required to move electric vehicles along.
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Old 04-10-2019, 11:54 AM   #4
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Imagine the boon docking possibilities with the 200000 amp hour batts youre already hauling around .... assuming you have the 3 days needed to charge it all back up
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Old 04-10-2019, 12:29 PM   #5
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I wonder how many of the peeps who frequent this forum, have much, if any, input at the corporate levels required to effect the type of change the OP is advocating?
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Old 04-10-2019, 12:32 PM   #6
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Your answer in one simple word?...

America.


Honestly, we've lost our ability to lead in anything relating to manufacturing. Look who's behind the most interesting new electric cars and semis, Volvo and the Chinese. Where is GM, Ford and Chrysler? They're stuck in poor CEO leadership/poor management/over regulated/over taxed/short sighted/trying to be politically correct/lobby controlled and hands tied by greeniacs America.

The RV industry is just one little example of the short sighted and inept direction so many industries are going in here. In this country you have CEO's that are paid insane bonuses based on profits. So what do they do? They manipulate the companies so they make a ton of profits in a short period of time. They make their millions and move on. They don't care about what happens when all those shoddy products break, there isn't any consequence for them. They've already stashed all their cash and it costs too much for anyone or any company to battle to try to get the cash back.

There's no loyalty. No ethical responsibility. No consequences or price to be paid if you build RV's so fast that they fall apart, burn up or kill somebody. Your job was to increase profits and you did.

As an auto mechanic for almost 4 decades I can directly compare this to Flat Rate pay in an auto repair shop. Through my entire career I refused to work in a flat rate shop or dealership. I was paid hourly so it didn't matter how long it took to do the job RIGHT. Once you tell someone that the faster they work/the less time they take to do it right/the quicker they get the customer's money and them out the door even if the car isn't fixed, you've compromised quality. That's the RV industry. The people (sometimes prison work program inmates) building our RV's are paid by how fast they work. So how do you make somebody care about quality when it COSTS them money to do so?

Hypothetical...
Worker A installs 20 cabinets a day in the RV factory, he gets paid $5 a cabinet installed or $100 for the day. Worker B installs 40 cabinets a day because he only screws them in with half the screws. He gets paid $200 for his days work. How do you get that guy to care if he's making $100 a day more than the guy that cares? How about when one of his cabinets falls off the wall on our heads, he not only has to pay back the wages he made, some sort of compensation for you or your medical bills, but he should maybe even have to do a little community service. But oh no, we can't do that! That wouldn't be politically correct! So it doesn't change. The workers make good money, the CEO's make tons of money, the managers are powerless and aren't paid to care and the RV buyers are helpless to effect any change.

So don't expect innovations to come from the RV industry or even the American car companies. They'll keep playing catch up like they've been doing since Honda, Toyota and all the others took over in the '80's. Just one case in point... Where's the American car manufacturers version of the Prius? They walked away with that market long ago and we still haven't caught up.

Rant over. lol.
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Old 04-10-2019, 12:34 PM   #7
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I envision an electric push donkey trailer with an EV on board.

The donkey would engage on up hills to assist the engine and charge/assist brake on downhills. It would also be charging through the mh while driving.
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Old 04-10-2019, 12:50 PM   #8
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They are trying to extend the tax credits for electric vehicles...that tells me that EV's aren't selling well.

Do you know anyone with an EV? They are few and far between.

My neighbor leased one for a couple years. He wasn't too impressed.

So I think it will be quite a while before they rule the roost.
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Old 04-10-2019, 12:59 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arch Hoagland View Post
https://www.forbes.com/sites/jimgorz.../#168202a654a9

They are trying to extend the tax credits for electric vehicles...that tells me that EV's aren't selling well.

Do you know anyone with an EV? They are few and far between.

My neighbor leased one for a couple years. He wasn't too impressed.

So I think it will be quite a while before they rule the roost.


It REALLY depends on where you live. I'm in the SF Bay Area. There are more Tesla's, Prius's, Leaf's and small hybrid SUV's than anything else. There's literally a Prius or Tesla in every driveway on our street except ours. (Ours is filled with high hp big American gas sucking V8's! lol.) Tesla charging stations are everywhere like Home Depot and Target parking lots. Even most of our public transit buses are hybrid or electric only.
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Old 04-10-2019, 01:10 PM   #10
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I suspect that it wi8ll be quite a while before the technology exists to make an electric RV practical. RVs are not used like cars or delivery trucks.


For example, every winter I drive mine from northern Illinois to southern Florida. I do the drive in three days of about 500 miles per day.


So far, the technology to do that isn't there.


Joel
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Old 04-10-2019, 01:21 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wrktfsh View Post
Many rvís are built on other manufacturers chassis. They will catch up when Ford, gmc etc start producing electric truck chassis. I doubt much the rv industry has the tooling, engineers etc to build an electric rv from the tires up.

You are right, but catch-up is not where you want to be as an industry trying to make a profit.


And there is a very important component not included in your argument...One that the RV industry is ignoring and that is RV systems, their energy efficiency, battery storage and many other facets of this change that they DO have direct control over and I see no movement toward any type of re-thinking of designs.


Smart companies LEAD, Innovate and position themselves early for major shifts in technology...The RV industry is just not there.
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Old 04-10-2019, 01:35 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J Birder View Post
I suspect that it wi8ll be quite a while before the technology exists to make an electric RV practical. RVs are not used like cars or delivery trucks.


For example, every winter I drive mine from northern Illinois to southern Florida. I do the drive in three days of about 500 miles per day.


So far, the technology to do that isn't there.


Joel

Actually it does exist and is being road tested in Class 8 Truck (Tractor Trailers) prototypes with 80K/lb loads as we write this.



You are right however that we are not "There" yet but it will be a matter of a few, possibly very few years, before we are there at the current rate of battery technology advancement.
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Old 04-10-2019, 01:47 PM   #13
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Has anyone actually rode in a modern electric car? I have. My buddy has one. He can go 20 miles and then he has to walk or use gas. The answer to this is electric cars are not ready for modern use yet. You can have an electric truck, but your only having a hot dog and three peas for supper because that's about all it will haul.
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Old 04-10-2019, 02:00 PM   #14
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