Trailer with electric motor enables towing with small car

The future of electrified RV life was on display by Dethleffs at this year’s Dusseldorf Caravan Salon, the largest camper trade show in the world, where the future of RVs is revealed each year. The e.Home Coco is the first RV trailer with its own electric drive – it propels itself – and is also a mobile power station, reports gearjunkie.com.

Most small daily vehicles just aren’t meant to tow campers. And while they can tow, they generally aren’t set up to do so and retain any sort of reasonable range. The Dethleffs e.Home Coco might just be the answer to this conundrum.

With onboard batteries and two electric hub motors, the e.Home Coco trailer is self-powered. A big benefit is that it greatly reduces the strain on the tow vehicle, increasing fuel or battery range, whether it be powered by fossil fuels or electricity.

The intelligent control system on the hub motors, which Dethleffs calls the “strain relief module,” can reduce the towing load on the tow hitch down to a defined value. This allows for small and underpowered vehicles to tow trailers far above their stated tow rating.

Regenerative braking and solar panels on the roof of the camper recharge the system’s batteries.

The e.Home Coco is fully self-reliant, as its 80 kmh battery pack is large enough to keep it powered for long periods of time, along with the large solar panels on the roof.

How cool would it be to park your trailer perfectly every time, without ever having to back up a trailer from your vehicle? A smartphone app allows you to remotely drive the trailer at camp, fitting the trailer into those tight camp spots, or that tiny storage parking spot on the side of your house.

 

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8 Thoughts to “Trailer with electric motor enables towing with small car”

  1. jillie

    I can’t wait to see the reviews on this one. Sounds like something my daughter and her family will be driving probably in about 10 or so years. But I am sounding out the alarm about KIA cars. They have a faulty switch inside the gas and oil area where the start switch is. These cars will explode when started and/or on impact with another car. Don’t believe me? Look it up. KIA refuses to admit they have a problem. Sound familiar? A mother and son died when a car hit them from behind. Car went flying and car exploded. The fire dept said they did not know what they were extinguishing until the flames died down. Remember the pinto? KIA. Do not do business with them unless you want a fiery death. As for this new camper? It is KIA? I am worried. Good luck.

  2. Roy Ellithorpe

    If that trailer is anything like the ones in New Zealand, and I suspect it is, they are nothing like what we are used to. One man can move that trailer around by hand.

    1. I’ve already contacted their media department to get more information on this trailer. I’ve also been in contact with KIA about their Niro Hybrid, which is supposedly available with a towing package rated for 2866 lbs. One thing that’s incredibly interesting is this trailer’s battery system is supposed to be able to power its own air conditioner. If I could get hold of some demo units from their marketing departments I would drive this rig around the country in 2019 to teach RVelectricity seminars. Now THAT would turn some heads, plus give me a lot of empirical data on solar panels, fast charging stations, etc…

  3. This is actually an interesting concept vehicle, but it’s not intended to be used with really small vehicles that would exceed their GCWR (hinted in the article). Rather, this trailer appears to be designed for use with plug-in electric or hybrid SUV class vehicles. If that’s the case, then this trailer makes sense. But as John, Tommy and Wolfe most certainly know, there’s a lot more to towing a vehicle safely than just enough “push”. Control is the most important aspect of towing any trailer, and you can’t make up for a too-small tow vehicle simply by adding horsepower.

  4. John T

    This will exceed most cars’ gross combined weight rating (GCWR). Towing it will be illegal.

  5. John T

    This will exceed most cars’ Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR), which will make towing it illegal.

  6. Wolfe

    I applaud the idea of electric assist in a straight line, but wouldn’t there be massive control issues, especially with steering? Putting a heavy trailer behind a light towing vehicle is pretty well known as “bad!”…

    1. Tommy Molnar

      Totally agree with you, Wolfe.

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