As much as EVs are the future of transportation, their Achille’s Heel is towing; the weight and drag of a big trailer can cut the EV’s range considerably, as we’ve seen in countless tests with the Ford F-150 Lightning from various sources. But a new startup, Pebble, may have the answer in its recently unveiled RV trailer: the Flow.
Unlike other trailers that passively rely on the towing vehicle, the Pebble Flow has optional batteries and drive motors to move it down the road. Though there is no information on driving power or range (the trailer is only available for pre-order as of now) a 45 kWh battery pack not only drives the wheels but can keep the trailer going off-grid for up to seven days. It can also power your home with V2H technology, or even charge up an EV with a 240V outlet. An integrated 1 kW solar charging unit and regenerative braking help with battery charge.
Inside is a clean, minimalist design with large windows for plenty of natural light and enough room to sleep four. It’s got the usual stove, fridge and wet bath, but the glass walls of the bathroom can go from transparent to opaque.
As the CEO of Pebble is Bingrui Yang, who led development of the iPhone at Apple, it’s not surprising that the Flow is loaded with technology. It’s ready for integrated Starlink wifi, so you can keep working at the campsite (if you really want to). When you get to the campsite, a touch of a button sets the Flow into action: self-levelling, putting out the stairs and awning, adjusting the temperature, and anything else that can make your stay more comfortable. And you can control various systems right from your smartphone or tablet.
Those onboard motors help with another cool trick: the ‘Magic Hitch’ feature allows the Flow to ‘see’ your vehicle’s hitch and power itself to lock to the tow ball, saving you the embarrassment of trying it (and failing) yourself in front of other campers. You can also control its movement via a smart device to move it around at a walking pace, just to find the best place at the camp.
While it’s said to be 300 per cent more aerodynamically efficient than conventional RV trailers, its 6,200 lb weight means you’ll still need a hefty vehicle to tow the Flow. It measures 25 feet long, seven and a half feet wide and just under nine feet tall.
The Pebble Flow seems to move rough camping into the EV era. Pricing starts at US$109,000, but the dual-motor version that comes with all the fancy technology starts at US$125,000.