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Remembering Dethleffs' All-Electric Solar Motorhome, And Why It Pulled a Disappearing Act
Searching the world for unique and capable motorhomes, I’ve run across a sort of diamond in the rough that was, at some point, a genuine concept. So, what exactly happened to the all-electric Dethleffs’ e.home motorhome?

Remembering Dethleffs' All-Electric Solar Motorhome, And Why It Pulled a Disappearing Act

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If you’ve never heard of the e.home motorhome before, you are not alone. This concept was first unveiled back in 2017, won the European Innovation Award in 2018, and was never heard from ever again. What the heck happened? That’s what we’ll be exploring today.

Folks, the name Dethleffs has been around since 1832. However, this manufacturer of RVs initially hit the market as a producer of whips, and not the slang term for a car either; real cowboy whips. But, it wasn’t until 1931 that the first Dethleffs RV was born, the “Wohnauto.”

One way this manufacturer, and all others for that matter, stayed alive all this time was through constant innovation and development in this industry. It’s how crews like Airstream, Winnebago, Hymer, Thor, and countless others stay at the top. Now that you know a bit about the minds and hands behind the all-electric e.home motorhome, let’s explore what it is or what it was meant to be.

Now, e.home was designed to be precisely where the future of this industry is headed, and frankly, they weren’t too far off, because we’ve already been introduced to several all-electric or even hybrid RVs in recent years - Winnebago and Thor have recently unveiled e-RVs and a few others too.

Now, Dethleffs’ websites no longer feature much information about the concept, but according to New Atlas, around 334 sq ft (31 sq m) of solar panels have been placed all over the RV and can generate up to 3,000 watts of juice. To understand just how much coverage this means, there’s is very little space that does not include any solar-cell film, basically the cab and underneath the RV.

All the power processed by the panels is then stored and accessed from a 228 Ah battery. While Dethleffs again doesn’t mention how much you can travel with the energy stored, reports do state that the battery is suitable for around 1,500 cycles, resulting in a maximum range of around 250,000 km (155,342 mi), and a range under load of about 160 km (100 mi).

All capabilities to create infinite power aside, this concept was also a solid livable RV and displayed quite the interior. Even some motorhomes today don’t reach the same level of comfort and styling. As you enter the habitat, the left side of the home features a modular U-shaped dinette that leans against the galley setup and fridge/freezer.

To the right, a shower room is shown on the floorplan, but across from it, another bathroom is available, inclusive of a wet bath, toilet, and vanity. Further right is the cab, but above it sits another sleeping area with two twins that can be converted into a large double bed.

Materials such as wood, composites, and LEDs are used to create a balanced interior that doesn’t showcase too much glamor and doesn’t come off as kitsch. Dethleffs even went as far as incorporating wireless charging hubs for your phone or devices, stargazing window, nearly 100% window tinting, and others we’ll never know about.

But why didn’t it make it into a real toy you can pick up at the dealership? Well, it’s really not that hard to imagine what would happen to all these solar cells as your riding down pebble and insect-ridden highways. Then there was the matter of range. Like many inventions, it had the right idea, just maybe not the best execution.

While we may never buy the e.home RV, it still stands as a marker for what this industry is ultimately aiming for; 100% off-grid sustainability and mobility. However, since 2017, the RV industry has made extensive leaps and bounds. Today, all-electric motorhomes and other habitats are not just fantasy, but commonplace for future buyers and adventurers.

Editor's note: This article was not sponsored or supported by a third-party.


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