The RV industry’s first hybrid RV, a Winnebago Adventurer built on Freightliner’s EcoFRED chassis, will be the home of Brad and Amy Herzog and their two sons this summer during a 50-day tour.
The Herzogs, who serve as spokespersons for the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association, will drive the motorhome through the Midwest and Southeast as part of Winnebago’s effort to test hybrid technology. They are starting in Chicago and plan to visit 15 states. The hybrid version of the Winnebago Adventurer is a concept vehicle not yet available to the public.
The ecoFRED chassis couples a diesel engine with an electric motor/generator and lithium-ion batteries. The batteries are constantly charged through the operation of the diesel engine and also capture and store energy through a regenerative braking system. A sophisticated controller selects the most efficient mode of operation—diesel, electric or both—depending on operating conditions and driver demand.
Roger Martin, Winnebago’s vice president of sales and marketing, said the benefits of hybrid technology can include fuel savings, reduced noise and emissions, improved acceleration and reduced maintenance.
Brad Herzog is an author of children’s books and books chronicling his family’s travels across the country. He, his wife, Amy, and sons, Luke, 8, and Jesse, 7, live in Pacific Grove on California’s Monterey Peninsula. During their travels, they promote the RV lifestyle for RVIA.
They are traveling this summer in an Adventurer that has a triple slide floor plan. The model includes a rear wardrobe that converts into bunk beds for children, complete with flip-down video screens with integrated DVD players and headphones. A king-sized bed is part of a rear bedroom that is enlarged through a slideout. Two other slideouts extend the space in the living area, which features a 32-inch LCD TV and home theater sound system.