Go Off-Grid Indefinitely in Bowlus’s New All-Electric Trailer for $310K

For more than a century, RVs have given adventure seekers the freedom to roam. Now, one California company is bringing wanderlust into the future—and it’s looking luxury. Bowlus’s latest is the Volterra, what it claims is the world’s first all-electric RV. The design combines Scandi-inspired interiors with high-end appliances powered by a solar array that can keep it off-grid indefinitely, says the company, making the only obstacle the end of the road.

The Volterra’s ability to go fully off-grid without the use of fossil fuels responds to a growing interest in sustainable living.

Bowlus has a history of looking ahead. Its founder, Hawley Bowlus, designed the Spirit of St. Louis, the aircraft flown by Charles Lindbergh on the first solo non-stop transatlantic flight, before going on to design the first riveted trailer with an aerodynamic design in 1934. When current CEO Geneva Long and her family took over the company in 2014, they wanted to preserve its forward-looking approach.

“Our mission is to combine the best design with the best performance and comfort so that our customers can adventure on their own terms,” ​​she says.

And a lot of that has to do with preserving the classic, streamlined design. “It seriously effects the range and ease of driving,” says Long. “We have a deep understanding of lightness, and that informs everything from the metals and woods we use, to the fabrication.”

It also comes at a time when EV development and ownership is on the rise. The trailer’s increased battery capacity offers users around 65 miles of EV charging, and the Volterra can be connected to the EV while driving to continuously recharge its battery. The lightweight, aerodynamic design also makes towing one more fuel efficient than other boxier designs on the market.

The Volterra is the first RV to feature AeroSolar, a system that charges while you drive. With up to 480 watts of solar power absorption, the panels feature monocrystalline cells with PERC technology that are up to 12 percent more efficient than conventional solar cells with a much more lightweight and aerodynamic design.

The newly launched Volterra is the culmination of Long’s vision for Bowlus, she says, as it combines the advantages of aerodynamics with advanced off-grid capabilities. For example, a solar array charges a power bank that stores double that of previous models for a total of 17 kilowatt-hours. The system powers appliances and devices, and, in the case of an emergency, can transfer its stored supply to an EV.

The battery system keeps the lights on of course, but it also affords travelers luxuries without the use of propane or natural gas, like air conditioning, heated floors, high-speed satellite internet, and an induction cooktop.

An induction cooktop offers a faster and more energy-efficient way to cook than the conventional gas cookers typically found in RVs. It also ensures that the RV is 100-percent electric.

The Volterra’s floor plan is the same as previous models and can accommodate four guests, with a spa-like en suite at the rear, and living/dining areas toward the hitch. The interiors are designed in the style of a Scandinavian cabin, with timber flooring, linen textiles, and vegan leathers that create the feel of a refuge within the RV’s metallic retro cladding.

The interior theme has been dubbed La Cumbre after a mountain peak in Santa Barbara, California, and celebrates natural, sustainable materials. “The floor plan is ideal for ease of travel,” says Bowlus CEO Geneva Long. “We believe privacy is luxury and it allows you to have a separate bedroom, bathroom, and living room that can be shut off to create your own space. It means you have the ability to, for example, get up earlier than your partner and not wake them up while you make that morning coffee.”

Bowlus CEO Geneva Long attributes the practical features and appeal of the new all-electric Volterra to the in-house design and management teams’ love of camping. “It sounds obvious, but it’s actually quite unique in the RV industry,” she explains. “We innately know what works and what doesn’t. We’re constantly experimenting and prototyping.”

The Volterra is being offered at a little less than the average cost of a home in the US, and somewhat ironically, the company anticipates some buyers using it as a living space while not on the road—in essence, an off-grid accessory dwelling unit. Says Long, “It would makes a very stylish guesthouse and doesn’t need the infrastructure of a conventional building.”

The Volterra offers the ability to live off-grid indefinitely, making it ideal for adventurous overland trips or as an additional living space or guesthouse at home.