The $50 billion caravan business is finally joining the world of electric cars. Older companies like Winnebago and newer ones like Lightship and Pebble Mobility are not only making their systems more electric, but they are also changing the type of car they make.
As more Americans switch to electric cars, the caravan business needs to change because pulling heavy things drains batteries fast. Because of the drag on battery power, driving an RV over long distances with an EV may not be possible.
Pebble Mobility, a company based in California, has created a self-moving, self-powered, and remote-controlled caravan. The 25-foot boat has an electric motor and can sleep four people. Because it moves, the car that pulls it doesn’t need as much power.
Bingrui Yang, CEO of Pebble, said, “We have a large EV battery on board and an integrated solar array over the roof of the caravan. This way, we can use clean energy from the sun to power the whole vehicle.”
Yang used to work at Apple and helped build the iPhone. He says he is now using what he learned to make the RV experience better.
“We made the RV experience like an iPhone and automated the hardest parts, like towing, hitching, and setting up camp, so that anyone can enjoy all the freedom that RVing has to offer without any of the trouble,” he said.
Pebble App Revolutionizes RV Maneuvering with High-Tech Appeal to Younger Generations
The Pebble app lets the user move the caravan around independently, which is helpful in small areas. Investors, like UpHonest Capital, are interested in that high-tech. They are also seeing a change in the age groups that use RVs, from baby boomers to millennials.
The people in this group are very different from the baby boomers because they are more tech-savvy. They know a lot about technology and want a better experience with toys. “Their needs are very different from those of the previous generation,” Ellen Ma, managing director at UpHonest Capital, said.
Not only does UpHonest back Pebble, but so do Lightspeed and Vision Plus. So far, $13.6 million has been raised for it.
The caravan starts at $109,000 without the motor that moves it on its own. That number could go down if tax credits are given. The version with the motor starts at $125,000, which is about the same price as other RVs. To meet the needs of their customers, Yang said that as the business grows, they will offer more products at different price points.
The people who made Pebble say it can live off the grid for seven days with just sun and battery power, so it doesn’t need propane or a generator. Everything in the kitchen is electric, including the lights, AC, and tools. Pebble wants to ship the first watches in 2024.