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On the road again – with a luxury solar-powered caravan

on November 7 2019 | in Highlights, Industry news, Latest news | by | with Comments Off

US company Living Vehicle has been building solar-powered caravans for Americans who want to hit the road and not rely on plugging in at campsites or recreation vehicle parks.

Now it has launched its 2020 model, an 8.5m-long luxury trailer with pretty much everything you need in a home away from home.

Caravan9Solar panels on its roof charge an automotive-grade lithium battery system that powers everything from the fridge and dishwasher to the hot water cylinder and TV in the master bedroom/home theatre.

It is the first of 25 the Santa Barbara outfit plans to make, starting at $US199,999 ($NZ315,000). The trailer has an all-aluminium chassis and bodyshell and a self-supporting BBQ deck that can hold up to 700kg, or the equivalent of a bunch of blokes chewing the fat over a beer.

Living Vehicle launched in 2017, and there are now 30 of its trailers cruising the US. But its latest version offers much more.

“The 2020 model is another step to create a fully self-sufficient unit,” says design architect Mathew Hofmann, who owns the Living Vehicle business with his wife Joanna (both pictured below watching TV).

“It’s a complete redesign from the ground up. It has extra capacity for taking it further off-grid, and for generating your own resources.”

“We have people who want to travel to more extreme climates and live comfortably and take modern-day conveniences with them.” The shower, for example, is a metre-square and has a skylight to vent steam.


While the trailer has a total of 20.5 square metres, additional space is tucked away—a queen-size bed with memory foam mattress is stored in the ceiling, and the patio deck folds off the side of the vehicle.


The new model also offers options for performance, technology, travel, and interior living. “The upgrades are built on to give more value based on what people care about,” says Matthew.


Performance upgrades include items like cantilevered solar awnings that double the trailer’s solar capacity.

Technology add-ons include better mobile connectivity with a WiFi booster, a SONOS audio system, and a private home theatre with a 70-inch pull-down screen.


As far as travel upgrades are concerned, there are better tyres for improved off-road travel, cameras to help with visibility, and a four-season extreme package for temperatures ranging from -17C to 45C.


Luxurious interior add-ons include a washer-drier combo and a central vacuum system. The chef’s kitchen includes a six-bottle wine chiller and an instant hot- and cold-filtered water system.


Walnut finishes and natural, highly durable materials add a further touch of luxury along with additional high-end options.


“It’s a one-of-a-kind custom piece, and every year we work on refining and perfecting that one model,” says Joanna.

  • Air conditioning designed to run completely off-grid and powered by a 58-volt nickel-manganese-cobalt lithium battery system
  • Automotive-grade energy system featuring up to 24 kWh lithium batteries and 3000 watts of solar can power trailer off-grid
  • The chassis, frame, interior and exterior skin, subfloor and all cabinets are fashioned from 100% aluminum
  • Built to be off-road capable with a 16-inch ground clearance, high departure angle, and over-engineered structural chassis and frame.


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