Winnebago behind $60M funding of Motiv: Is the future of RVs fully electric?


The recreational vehicle industry has grown steeply over the past decade, with RV sales nearly triple what they were ten years ago. Yet with signs of the RV boom flattening, companies are clearly interested in a new twist to keep the growth going. 

That twist could be going electric and embracing sustainability—and completely reformulating RVs in the near future. 

Medium-duty truck electrifier Motiv will use part of a $60 million injection from Winnebago and a private holding company in Colorado to open an engineering center in Detroit.

In addition to paying down debt, Motiv will target larger fleet customers using this new investment; the company hopes having a Detroit foothold will attract more of that business. It would also put Motiv\’s team closer to Winnebago, which would help cut costs and open up opportunities for greater volume.

\”Our customers are hungry for all-electric mobile solutions developed on our commercial shells, especially in California,\” Winnebago vice president of Strategic Planning and Development Ashis Bhattacharya told FreightWaves.

Winnebago custom electric RV on Motiv power electric chassis

Winnebago\’s interest comes from prior interactions. Motiv has supplied the RV builder with chassis for both its 33- and 38-foot Class A motorhomes and offers Class-C options as well. 

In 2018, Motiv and Winnebago partnered to supply the chassis, powertrain and body for an all-electric concept Mobile Lung Unit which was used as a showcase for both zero-emissions powertrains and mobile health scanning.  

Motiv has developed an electrified architecture based on Ford\’s F59 and E-450 medium-duty truck chassis, allowing truck builders a zero-emissions alternative to the standard gas- and diesel-burning variants of the same trucks with effectively zero custom work required on their part. 

So far, Motiv customers such as logistics giant Aramark and the U.S. Postal Service have put more than 750,000 road miles on trucks undergirded by Motiv\’s Electric Powered Intelligent Chassis (EPIC) architecture.

Nissan x Opus camper with reused Leaf batteries in Britain with Nissan Qashqai

This raises all sorts of lifestyle questions. Would you buy a fully electric RV—perhaps one equipped with solar cells on the roof and a smart energy management system? Would such an RV help downsize your living footprint or increase the issues with too many vehicles on our highways? Or, should Tesla be building an RV to go with its Semi?

We\’d appreciate your comments below. 


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