If you’re like me, you collect firewood and sleep on sand while camping and avoid campgrounds at nearly all costs. If you’re like pretty much everyone else, you like to have at least some creature comforts while you sleep in a tent in the middle of the woods, wondering where all the mosquitos came from.
For most of us, that means plugging into the campground’s supply of electricity. Knaus Tabber’s announcement may change that – a hybrid camper is in development. His answers to many questions (such as, “When can I buy this?” and “How does it work?”) are rather cagey, but more information has been promised at the Caravan Salon Düsseldorf (August 27th to September 4th, in Düsseldorf, of course).
So how would a hybrid trailer work? Tabbert has given some information. Two AC generators, attached to the axles near each wheel of the trailer harvest the mechanical energy generated as the wheels turn. The stored energy is then saved in a lead acid battery and can be used for any electrical system in the camper itself. (Air conditioning while camping? A refrigerator? Are you sure this is camping?)
The generators weigh an extra 70-80kg in total (between 155 and 175 lbs), and start harvesting energy above a measly 10km/h (just over 6 mph). They reach top efficiency above 35km/h (21mph). The battery itself holds a charge which is estimated to last the average camper 4 days, if used 7 hours per day, before needing a recharge or an external power source.
Knaus has also hinted at other projects in development, such as regenerative braking, but he hasn’t announced any details. An exact date for when the hybrid camper will be available has also yet to be revealed.