Airstream rethinks the travel trailer for EVs and urban garages

Airstream has revealed a concept travel trailer designed with Studio F.A. Porsche and looking ahead to a time when many more travel trailers will be towed behind EVs. 

According to the two companies, the Airstream Studio F.A. Porsche Concept Trailer, due to be shown next week at South by Southwest in Austin in scale form, is the result of a “what if” collaboration that “incorporated elements from the design playbooks of both brands.”

Airstream Studio F. A. Porsche Concept Travel Trailer

Airstream Studio F. A. Porsche Concept Travel Trailer

The concept is the first “garageable” Airstream design in the company’s 90-year history, Airstream says, and it shows a “conceptual evolution” of its riveted aluminum look that reflects changing demographics in the RV market. With a pop-up roof and lowering suspension, city dwellers might be able to store the trailer in their residential garage.

The small-footprint Airstream concept aims for serious aerodynamic improvement versus the models that are currently produced. The pop-up roof enables a lower height, while aero is further helped by a lowering suspension, fewer rooftop protrusions (A/C moved to the floor rather than the roof), and a smaller frontal area.

Airstream Studio F. A. Porsche Concept Travel Trailer

Airstream Studio F. A. Porsche Concept Travel Trailer

“One intended result of these design modifications is a better towing experience optimized for towing with electric vehicles (EVs),” the companies stated in a release.

Such an idea, if it becomes a product offering, might fit in alongside Airstream’s eStream electric travel trailer revealed last year—adding the trailer’s own battery pack and propulsion system, so that the trailer might boost range and efficiency, no matter what the tow vehicle’s fuel.

Airstream eStream electric camping trailer

Airstream eStream electric camping trailer

That vehicle used technology that its German affiliate Dethleffs developed with ZF in 2018 and 2019 and then tested with an Audi E-Tron Sportback, managing to beat its EPA range rating on a mountainous route while towing. 

The concept trailer also weighs less, due to the use of composite materials including carbon fiber, and a two-piece design for the rear hatch allows a hinge-up hatch and drop-down tailgate, with attachable awnings. At present, Airstream’s smallest model, the Basecamp, is 16 feet long and weighs about 2,650 pounds unloaded—good for vehicles with a 3,500-pound tow capacity, the company notes.

Airstream Studio F. A. Porsche Concept Travel Trailer

Airstream Studio F. A. Porsche Concept Travel Trailer

Studio F.A. Porsche brings Porsche Design to a vast portfolio of items ranging from household goods to architectural design and vehicles for various modes of mobility. 

It has the same parent company as Porsche, the sports car brand, so of course it will be shown at SXSW with a Porsche Macan tow vehicle. Porsche plans a fully electric version of the Macan for sale starting in 2024.

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