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Caravanning has future problems

Travelling with motorhomes and caravans is becoming more and more restricted in Europe. It is not only the increasingly strict rules in the environmental zones that worry campers, but also the forced switch to electric drive. Because the heavy trailers consume too much energy and therefore drastically reduce the range of e-cars. Dethleffs is already working on a solution - but this means considerable costs for holidaymakers.

More and more electric cars are now available on the market. But hardly any of them are made for towing heavy trailers or caravans. Only heavy SUVs are allowed to tow caravans at all. But even with them, the additional load consumes an enormous amount of energy and therefore significantly reduces the range of the towing vehicle. The journey on holiday then becomes a stage run from charging station to charging station.

Dethleffs sees the solution in electric trailers that support the towing vehicle during the journey. During a test drive through the Alps, the E.Home Caravan contributed an average of 74 kWh to the journey. The e-car, an Audi e-tron Sportback, was thus able to cross the Alps with 82 kWh over a distance of 386 kilometres without having to charge in between.

Moreover, the e-trailer not only supports the vehicle in terms of range, but also improves the driving experience and safety when driving with a trailer, according to the Dethleffs testers: "Acceleration like a solo vehicle, stable cornering thanks to the low centre of gravity and safe straight-ahead driving, because the caravan always remains stretched even when driving downhill, increase safety not only perceived, but actually measurable". The solution approach of the electric caravan thus seems to be future-proof.

Nevertheless, Dethleff's solution approach has a major disadvantage: anyone who wants to continue touring Europe in a motorhome on holiday will not only have to buy an electric car in the long run, but also invest in an electric caravan. The old trailers will then have had their day, no matter how well preserved they are, brand new, or filled with wonderful memories. For Dethleffs and other caravan manufacturers, this means a lucrative business once the mobility turnaround has progressed further and combustion engines are a thing of the past. For consumers and also the sustainability of the car industry, the new solution is more of a burden.

It will also take some time before electric caravans gain a foothold in the market. From the manufacturer's side, there are still some hurdles to overcome. Moreover, combustion engines will still be on the roads for quite a while. The owners of caravans will therefore probably decide - albeit forcibly - against buying an e-car in the near future and continue to rely on diesel and petrol with decent tractive power. At least as long as the environmental zones allow it.

You can easily see which cities and regions you are still allowed to enter with your motorhome in the Green-Zones app.