Tesla is ramping up fees for electric teardrop trailers

Colorado may not hold a candle to Germany when it comes to RV innovation, but it’s slowly becoming a RV hotbed follower. Last year, after the Colorado Campworks NS-1 trailer and its all-electric camping pack, Colorado Teardrops proposed a small trailer with a battery big enough to charge an electric tow vehicle — it would offer more range in tow than the vehicle would get without. What was previously a series of (very rough) boulder renderings is now a working prototype testing its way towards a projected launch in 2023.

With towing loads that can more than halve an electric vehicle’s already limited range, trailer manufacturers are quickly working to find new solutions to the problem. Most visible was Thor Industries/Erwin Hymer’s transatlantic effort to develop an electric powered trailer that could reduce its effective weight to zero and essentially propel itself behind the towing vehicle. Colorado Teardrops, on the other hand, presents a less complicated solution, where the teardrop is charged with a Tesla Model Y-sized battery, large enough to power available electric camping gear and act as a range extender for the vehicle that powers it drags.

Like many teardrop trailers, the Colorado Teardrops Boulder sits on a powder-coated steel frame with Dexter torsion springs dampening the wheels. Unlike those many teardrop trailers, this one has a 75kWh 480v battery pack integrated into the chassis construction, keeping the weight down and centered.

Boulder Mission #1: Integration of the 75 kWh battery pack into the steel chassis

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You might expect this oversized trailer battery to support all manner of power-hungry camping gear and gadgets, but to keep the package as fresh as possible, Colorado Teardrops limits its camper design to a largely structural build. There are some LED lights that drain the battery and some 110v sockets to plug in, but the galley and interior mostly consists of built-ins such as a worktop, cupboards and dining table.

Colorado Teardrops plans to offer electric options like an induction cooktop, coffee maker, air conditioning, and refrigerator, but buyers can also opt for simpler, non-electric solutions like a portable gas stove and an ice-filled cooler. This allows the Boulder owner to manage battery power between devices and vehicle charging range extension without having a large standard electrical load out of the gate. Colorado Teardrops also plans to offer other power management solutions, including solar charging and a propane tank.

While Colorado Teardrops will feature kitchen appliances, the standard kitchen will be largely empty, with shelving and storage for common cooking appliances
While Colorado Teardrops will feature kitchen appliances, the standard kitchen will be largely empty, with shelving and storage for common cooking appliances

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In terms of charging capabilities, the goal is for the series Boulder to offer level 3 bi-directional fast charging. Owners can pre-charge it at a fast charging station and then charge the towable EV once the battery runs low. Colorado Teardrops estimates that the trailer will bring about 100 miles (161 km) of range in the towable EV within 10 minutes, which ultimately combined with the base vehicle’s initial full charge at the start of the trip provides a total range greater than that of the standard EV range without a trailer in tow. So, like the Dethleffs e.Home Coco and the Airstream eStream, the Boulder essentially “carries its own weight”, just in a different way.

Unlike virtually every other trailer out there, the Boulder is built to send power to the towing vehicle
Unlike virtually every other trailer out there, the Boulder is built to send electricity to the towing vehicle

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In addition to increased range, a real benefit of the Boulder design is that it reduces or potentially eliminates the need to stop at charging stations while driving and/or identify a campsite with outlets that can support overnight EV charging. Drivers can discharge the battery on the way to camp and then charge it on arrival or in the morning before departure.

Unfortunately, charging while driving, which would really make for a smooth ride, is currently not possible. Colorado Teardrops hopes to work with EV manufacturers to make this happen in the future, but don’t count on an OTA update any time soon as the main reason to buy the Boulder.

All that battery power doesn’t come cheap these days, and there aren’t any friendly government incentives to help with recreational camping trailer purchases. At $55,000 to start, the Boulder is exceptionally expensive for a tear, especially considering its largely empty, gear-less base spec. To mitigate some of that price shock, the trailer is designed to sleep four — rather than two — using a combination of a 60 x 78-inch (152 x 198-inch) RV Queen and two single bunk beds. Colorado Teardrops even says a dog can fit in with these four people, although it definitely looks like things are going to be very cozy.

Colorado Teardrops says the Boulder has room for two adults, two children, and even the family dog, but we don't quite see it in this picture
Colorado Teardrops says the Boulder has room for two adults, two children, and even the family dog, but we don’t quite see it in this picture

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Colorado Teardrops offsets some of the massive weight gain of the 75kWh automotive-grade battery pack with a lightweight aircraft-grade aluminum frame, insulated aluminum exterior panels, and a polyurethane-sealed hickory wood interior. Very little standard equipment helps with this mission either, and the company estimates the base dry weight at 1,000 kg (2,200 lb), leaving approximately 589 kg (1,300 lb) of payload before the suspension hits 3,500 lb (1,587 kg).

Colorado Teardrops is currently working to upgrade the Boulder prototype’s Level 2 test system to the Level 3 DC-to-DC fast charging hardware it plans to eventually offer in production. It’s also working to secure a battery partner and hopes to start deliveries in the first half of 2023. The original delivery target was right now, so we won’t be too surprised if the 2023 date moves into the second half of 2023 or beyond.

Of course, specifications and prices are subject to change, although Colorado Teardrops offers interested buyers the opportunity to lock in prices with a reservation payment. In fact, a $10,000 deposit secures a $45,000 discounted price.

One of the next Colorado EV trailers in the pipeline, the Denver is planned as a 27-foot, four-adult sleeper with a hinged hard shell and 200-kWh battery
One of the next Colorado EV trailers in the pipeline, the Denver is planned as a 27-foot, four-adult sleeper with a hinged hard shell and 200-kWh battery

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Once the boulder rolls, Colorado Teardrops plans two more models in the EV series, the 17-foot (5.1 m) Golden and the 27-foot (8.2 m) Denver. These two larger caravans will carry more battery power, ranging from 125 to 200 kWh. To open up fuller standing room interiors while still offering low, aerodynamic tow profiles, Colorado Teardrops intends to use a lifting hard shell design for both models.

Source: Colorado Teardrops

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