Starting from scratch, the American start-up wants to reinvent the caravan in the world of the electric car. Here is the caravan supposed not to affect the autonomy of the vehicle which tows it.
Towing a caravan can remain a handicap for electric vehicles, since this towed and not very aerodynamic mass severely affects the autonomy of the base vehicle. With stops multiplied in the key. The founders of Lightship cut their teeth in electric vehicles at Tesla or Proterra. They started from three main ideas:
- The caravan industry has not fundamentally changed in several decades
- Going electric won’t stop customers from wanting to travel with their caravan
- 1 in 10 American households (USA) owns a recreational vehicle (caravan or motorhome)
Caravan with variable geometry
The market is therefore large, and the two friends have decided to make almost a clean sweep of the past. This can be seen in the appearance of the Lightship L1. A caravan that can accommodate 6 people, streamlined and largely glazed. But all is of course not in style, since the L1 is also variable geometry. First with its extendable kitchen area, but also with a height that varies according to use. To camp and accommodate standing adults, it is 3.05 m high. But to drive, its roof lowers to more or less align with that of the most common towing vehicle in the United States, the pick-up: 2.10 m high.
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Solar and electric caravan
As a bonus, the L1 can be described as a solar and electric caravan. The unglazed areas are thus largely covered with solar panels, with a total power of 3 kW. According to Lightship, this power is enough to power the caravan while camping, or even partially recharge your electric vehicle. And when the caravan is parked at home, it can be used to power the home network.
To limit, and even cancel, its impact on the towing vehicle, the Lightship L1 carries 80 kWh of battery (technology and suppliers unknown to date). But these batteries do not simply complement that of the main vehicle, since the L1 also has its own engines. Thus, it propels itself, only guided by the vehicle to which it is hitched… Lightship specifies that certain thermal vehicles have even seen their consumption decrease…
Of course, all is not rosy. Indeed, during stops to recharge, it will be necessary to charge the vehicle… and the caravan before continuing on its way. And the price ? The L1 starts at 125,000 dollars. Which on the American market positions it on a high-end market against Airstream with a radically different style.
But contrary to the declarations of its founders, the caravan industry is already concerned with the subject of electrics. We recently saw very similar proposals from Airstream precisely, or in Europe at Dethleffs.
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