The L1 is a 27-foot (8.2-m) travel trailer with sleeping accommodations for four to six people with a gross vehicle weight rating of 7,500 lb (3,400 kg). As a result, it deviates quite a bit from the standard tiny, light-weight design that frequently informs the creation of all-electric, EV-friendly trailers. Yet, Lightship asserts that its trailer will be three times more aerodynamic than a conventional travel trailer and be able to counterbalance its weight utilising an all-electric propulsion system centred on an 80 kWh battery.
A trailer propulsion system has been developed and tested for years on both sides of the Atlantic, which is fair to the RV establishment Lightship criticizes for its lack of innovation. Once Thor Industries acquired the Erwin Hymer Group and created the self-motivated Airstream concept, the work, which had been started in Germany under the Erwin Hymer brand Dethleffs, was expanded to the United States.
The goal of Lightship’s self-propulsion concept is undoubtedly the same as Thor’s: reduce the trailer load to zero to avoid a sharp drop in range or efficiency. Lightship doesn’t specify whether its self-propulsion concept uses a similar formulation to Thor’s layout of axle motors, sensors, and control hardware for matching trailer speed to tow vehicle speed. A 300-mile electric vehicle will maintain its full 300 miles of range with the L1 in tow, while a gas truck that gets 25 mpg (9.4 L/100 km) without a trailer will similarly get 25 mpg with an L1 attached to the hitch. Lightship hopes to keep range/efficiency loss close to zero. or at the very least nearby.
The L1 prototype will be fully unveiled by Lightship this weekend at SXSW in Austin, Texas. For a US$500 reservation fee, preorders can be made immediately, and Lightship expects to start production in late 2024. Lightship claims that a valid tax credit can reduce the L1’s starting price of $125,000 to $118,400.