Airstream's New eStream Travel Trailer Promises 'Electrifying Adventure'

This electric trailer can keep you going for two weeks without shore power.

Tesla pulling Airstream
eStream being pulled by Tesla.


For some years we have been showing trailers, campers, and vans that may have had some green goodies, but in the end, they were running on fossil fuels. But here, finally, we have an all-electric combo: A Tesla pulling the new eStream travel trailer. Alas, it's only a one-off concept vehicle, but Airstream says, "[It] brings to life a reality that is not so far in the future: A world where Airstreamers are far less tethered to the campsite and free to roam in comfort."

battery packs and motors


Unlike many trailers, Airstreams often had batteries and didn't need constant shore power, but were still limited. According to Airstream:

"The eStream’s battery bank makes those limitations look like a thing of the past. With 80 kWhrs of power stored in its battery bank, the eStream can provide more than 30 times the power of the lithium batteries that are included with many Airstream models today. The high voltage batteries and electronic systems are essentially capable of providing the experience of being connected to shore power while being far away from it."
Airstream exterior


Airstreams were always slippery, but this new design reduces aerodynamic drag by 20%, mainly by getting rid of stuff on the roof like air conditioners, antennas, vents, and fans. Now the AC unit is in the "basement" and the roof is covered with 900 watts of solar panels to keep those batteries topped up.

The company notes: "The updated power system makes it possible to operate the cooktop, refrigerator, or stove without the need for propane or a diesel generator. With a roof covered in solar panels and a bank of high-voltage lithium batteries, the eStream provides users with enough power to go off-grid with many of the comforts of home for up to two weeks."

There are motors on the wheels so that it seems to follow the car, rather than get towed by it, reducing the energy consumed by the tow vehicle and extending the range. It also makes it easier to use for people like me who have trouble backing up with a trailer. Not anymore. Just get out your phone and drive it.

“Backing up a travel trailer is one of the most intimidating things for new customers – and sometimes even for customers with plenty of experience,” said McKay Featherstone, Airstream VP of Engineering. “With this remote-control capability, we've completely eliminated that – with one finger on the phone or tablet you can easily move the eStream into any tight spot, or position it so the solar panels catch more of the sun. You may move the travel trailer into a tight campsite, or it might just be a gas station or storage or anywhere that you need to maneuver with precision.”

Also for people like me who want to work on the road, it will have "a state-of-the-art signal booster that provides 5G connectivity and a Wi-Fi hotspot."

Airstream interior
All-electric interior.


It's all very nice that the eStream has batteries and motors, but one of the great virtues of the Airstream was that it was light. I tried to find out how much they weigh, but weights are all over the map. One not necessarily reliable source suggested 200 watt-hours per kilogram, which works out to 400 kilograms or 881 pounds of additional weight, plus a bit for the motors. It doesn't sound like much, but an empty Airstream of the same size weighs 3,852 pounds, so it is about a 25% increase in weight. It's probably a good thing that it is adding a bit of power.

It's too bad the eStream is still at the concept stage—electric vehicles are rolling out in serious numbers now. I am dreaming of a Ford E-Transit conversion when they pack in a few more batteries; that's all a lot of people need or want. (Winnebago just released one that looks good.) But whether it is a trailer or a camper van, it looks like the future may well be electric.

Lots of information in the video after the one minute intro that sounds like a spaghetti western: