Solar-powered camper from Airstream is a two-wheeled electric car


Airstream, builders of iconic travel trailers known for their rounded shape and aluminum exterior, announced the release of eStream, a camper built for the electric vehicle revolution.

The eStream takes Airstream’s famous design features and adds integrated solar PV in the roof, as well as an electric motor that can be used to drive and park the trailer. The electric motors within can also be used while towing the trailer, taking load off the towing vehicle. It’s estimated that the F-150 Lightning truck may reduce its range to less than 100 miles of range when towing at its maximum capacity, so the eStream helps to keep drivers going longer distances.

The roof has 900W of solar built-in, which Airstream said is about one-fifth the average power draw of an American home. In addition to solar, the system has a fast plug-in charging port and an 80kW battery. Airstream said the battery can reach full charge in about 30-45 minutes at a fast-charging station.

While you can’t drive the eStream down the road on its own, it can be parked autonomously using a tablet or other web-connected device. Its range of motion makes it easier to snug the trailer into a tight spot as opposed to working it in with a tow truck, said Airstream.

The on-road trailer motors use a unique tow hitch with built-in sensors to continually measure the forces between the trailer and the vehicle, so that the trailer does not push or pull on the tow vehicle. Like an electric car, the trailer uses regenerative braking to recharge its batteries.


Image: Airstream

The company said the eStream can be taken completely off-grid for a week or two, running all systems including A/C and heat. When foregoing deeper power draws like heating and cooling, the trailer can remain powered off-grid for significantly longer.

Fast Company reports that it may still be a couple years before this design is on the market. As more EVs take to the road, the eStream may be more representative of the trailers and campers of the near future.

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