Airstream Goes Electric (and Remote Controlled)

Airstream, the brand of silver-bullet shaped campers, has rolled out an electrified travel trailer that will help its parent, RV giant Thor Industries, navigate towards an emissions-free future. The rig, dubbed the eStream, is only a concept and isn’t yet available for purchase, but it showcases technology that Chief Executive Officer Bob Wheeler says will soon trickle through the booming RV industry.

It has a pair of electric motors driving its axle, essentially making it easier to tow. If it’s being towed by a gas-powered vehicle, the drivetrain will offset some emissions; if it’s being towed by another electric vehicle, the camper will extend its range. The powered axle will also help the rig navigate slick or uneven terrain, according to McKay Featherstone, the brand’s vice president of product development and engineering.

Its cleverest party trick, however, is moving while unhitched. The trailer can be driven independently via a smartphone, precluding the fraught process of backing into a tight camping spot.