Like the automotive world, the camping world will be shifting to battery electric power in the near to intermediate future. The big-name brands plan to be ahead of that curve. Winnebago recently showed off an electric RV concept, and now, Airstream has a new eStream concept — which, with its battery-electric powertrain, looks like the exciting electric camping trailer of the future.
In Drive Mode, the eStream can help propel itself. This ability makes the trailer less of a load for the tow vehicle, which improves range in electric cars like the Rivian R1T — which don't get great range while towing — or gas mileage in a conventional combustion-powered truck. The electric motors can also help distribute the weight on the hitch, eliminating the need for a special weight-distributing hitch.
The eStream can also drive itself in low-speed situations. This feature lets you direct the trailer remotely via smartphone in complex, low-speed maneuvers like hitching and unhitching, reversing into a parking spot or maneuvering around a campsite. That feature alleviates much of the stress of owning and operating a camping trailer.
The eStream seems very much to be a concept at this stage. Airstream offers few specifics about production specs, pricing — conventional Airstream trailers can get pricey — and availability timeline.
One key factor not mentioned is how much the eStream weighs. Lithium-ion battery packs are heavy. So there might be some question about how efficient an eStream trailer would be on the highway vs. just towing a lighter trailer without the battery packs. Though Airstream uses a Tesla Model X for towing, which would suggest the eStream would weigh less than 5,000 pounds.