Tesla veterans launch a solar-powered travel trailer Lightship L1.
The First Purpose-built All-electric RV Lightship L1 comes with a high-capacity battery and self-propulsion system.
San Francisco – Lightship, America’s first all-electric recreational vehicle (RV) company on March 8 announced the launch of the Lightship L1 — an aerodynamic, battery-powered travel trailer and the first purpose-built travel trailer with a self-propulsion system that enables near zero range or mile-per-gallon efficiency loss for the vehicle towing it.
Lightship co-founders Ben Parker and Toby Kraus saw an opportunity in the RV industry that reminded them of the early days they’d seen working at Tesla. Advancements, much less genuine innovation, had stagnated in the RV industry, the result of the market being dominated by only a few large companies.
“One in 10 American families own an RV, but the RV industry hasn’t experienced innovation for decades,” said Ben Parker, Lightship Co-Founder and CEO. “Inefficient, unreliable product designs and a power experience that relies on smelly, noisy, gas or propane generators fundamentally hinder the amazing experience of traveling in the outdoors.”
Lightship is taking a clean-sheet approach to building an all-electric RV the same way Tesla disrupted the established automakers. The Lightship team, which includes alumni from Rivian, Proterra, Lucid, and Zoox in addition to Tesla, is leveraging their expertise in automotive EV development and design to deliver the following:
- A hyper-efficient design that is three times more aerodynamic than a traditional travel trailer for longer range and greater efficiency, which means a 300-mile range electric vehicle (EV) used to tow it remains a 300-mile range EV, and a 25-mpg gas truck remains a 25-mpg gas truck.
- An electric powertrain with up to 80 kWh of onboard battery capacity allows the trailer to propel itself and achieve near-zero range or efficiency loss for the tow vehicle.
- A no-compromise battery system that can provide a week of off-grid power without charging. Coupled with up to 3 kW of solar power, the RV can power the living needs of its occupants and eliminates the reliance on propane and other fossil fuels.
- An ecosystem of all-electric appliances, connected features, and modern amenities for a seamless camping experience.
- The Lightship L1 has a starting price of $125,000 or $118,400 after an available tax credit and is available now for a $500 pre-order at www.lightshiprv.com. Production is expected to begin in late 2024.
“With 90% of the market comprising of towable RVs, we began by creating an all-electric travel trailer that is unlike any RV available today and that is just the beginning,” said Lightship Co-Founder and President Toby Kraus. “We are leveraging our expertise in automotive EV development and design to build a brand that creates delightful outdoor travel experiences for everyone and brings even more people into the pastime of RVing.”
As further proof of the company’s ground-breaking purpose-built approach, the Lightship L1 is a finalist in the 2023 SXSW Innovation Awards design category. The Lightship team will be at SXSW in Austin to showcase the prototype of the L1 from Saturday, March 11 through Monday, March 13 at 318 E 5th St, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
Lightship completed a Series A funding round in the summer of 2022 led by Victoria Beasley of Prelude Ventures and a Seed funding round in 2021 led by Andrew Beebe of Obvious Ventures. Other Lightship investors include Congruent Ventures, My Climate Journey, HyperGuap, Alumni Ventures, Climactic, and Tony Fadell’s Build Collective.
“L1 is the RV revolution needed for those who love to explore our planet while making sustainable choices. We want to experience our amazing planet without harming it!” said Tony Fadell, iPod inventor, Nest founder and NYT bestselling author of BUILD. “It’s not an ancient RV that’s been ‘electrified.’ L1 has been entirely rethought for camping and towing – for both EVs and standard ICE SUVs and trucks. Lightship is changing the industry forever for the better.”
Lightship L1 Travel Trailer
Additional specifications include:
- Length: 27 ft
- Width: 8 ft 6 in
- Height: 6 ft 9 in (road mode); 10 ft (camp mode)
- Gross Vehicle Weight: 7,500 lbs. (fully loaded)
- Sleeping capacity: 4-6 depending on configuration