RV News: Winnebago’s Electric Future, National Park Visitation Numbers for 2023, and New E-Bikes for RVers

Image Caption: Photo Credit: Winnebago

Friday is here at long last, which means it’s time for another roundup of the latest news and commentary from the RV and camping industry. Here’s what went down this week:

  • Winnebago Teams with Xos on New All-Electric Chassis: It’s no secret that Winnebago has been working on an all-electric RV. The company has given us a glimpse of those efforts with two versions of an e-camper van, the second of which we even got to take for a week-long test drive last year. This week, the Flying W announced that it has partnered with Xos—a company that specializes in electric delivery vehicles and trucks—to create a chassis designed for use on future projects. What exactly those projects entail remains to be seen, but we can’t wait to the results of this collaboration. Read more here.
  • National Park Service Shares 2023 Visitation Numbers: The National Park Service shared its visitation numbers for 2023 this week, offering insights into the most popular national parks in the country. Twenty NPS units saw record numbers of visitors last year, including Congaree, Dry Tortugas, and Glacier Bay National Parks. In total, 325.5 million people visited the national parks in 2023, with the Great Smoky Mountains, the Grand Canyon, and Zion ranking as the top three locations.
  • Forest River Taps Battle Born for New OGB Luxury Coach Division: Last week, we mentioned that Forest River was set to launch the first camper vans and Class C models under its new OGV Luxury Coach division. This week, we learned that the sub-brand is working with Battle Born Batteries to provide onboard power while camping on and off-grid. The partnership will give owners a quiet, exhaust-free camping experience, while providing enough energy to run onboard appliances and other gadgets.
  • Aliner Reveals Twin-Bunk Evolution 15 Model: Innovative pop-up A-frame trailer manufacturer Aliner has revealed a new floorplan perfect for families. The new Evolution 15 Twin Bunk model is designed for families or groups of friends and includes other features like a hidden indoor shower, a cassette toilet, a stove, a refrigerator, and an air conditioner.
  • Latest KOA Report Says Travel Bookings Are Up for 2024: Did you find reserving a campsite to be a challenge last year? If so, we may have some bad news for you. According to KOA’s monthly for February 2024, travel bookings are up year-over-year, with camping leading the way. According to the study, 64% of campers have already made reservations for the year ahead, while just 29% of non-campers have done the same. Also of note, changing weather patterns and the intensity of storms have impacted travel plans for campers, who are more likely to book shorter trips and not plan quite as far out.
  • The Dyrt Says Finding a Campsite was Easier in 2023: Despite plenty of anecdotal evidence to the contrary, The Dyrt found that booking a campsite in 2023 was a little easier than in recent years. In its annual camping report released last week, the online resource for finding and reserving campsites says that 45.5% of campers reported difficulty in booking a location for tent or RV camping. That number is four times higher than it was in 2019, but is down from 58.4% in 2022. Hopefully, that trend continues as more campgrounds open their doors and campers try boondocking and other alternative locations.
  • Together Outdoors Introduces Inclusion Grants: Together Outdoors is a coalition of outdoor-related organizations that have come together to make getting outside as accessible and enjoyable as possible for everyone. To help achieve that goal, the group launched its Micro-Grant Program this week with a focus on two key areas. Those include providing financial support for projects developing research and resources that ensure accessibility for all and offering support for outdoor rec programs designed to empower communities of color, LGBTQ+ individuals, and other underserved groups. The grants are backed by Thor Industries, and interested parties can find more information here.
  • KOA Making Campgrounds More Accessible: Speaking of accessibility to the outdoors and Kampgrounds of America, this week, the company announced that it is partnering with GRIT all-terrain wheelchairs to help visitors explore KOA properties more fully. The move comes after 38% of campers indicated they have some form of disability that limits their mobility. The wheelchairs will be used as part of a beta test for the upcoming camping season with the goal of rolling them out to campgrounds at a future date. Read more about this development here.
  • Heybike Launches New Carbon Fiber E-Bike Model: Heybike—one of our favorite e-bike brands—is crowdfunding its latest model online, offering customers a chance to buy at a substantial discount. The all-new Heybike Hero utilizes an aggressive design that allows it to tackle a wide variety of terrains. The e-bike has a carbon fiber frame that reduces weight while improving durability, and comes with a powerful mid-drive motor—a first for Heybike—a full suspension, hydraulic disc brakes, and a 9-speed Shimano gearset. The Hero is coming soon, but early-bird shoppers can get up to 46% off the price and buy a digital coupon good for a $500 discount for $50 down. Find out more about the Hero on the Heybike website.
  • Vvolt Debuts New Cargo E-Bike: While we’re on the subject of e-bikes, this week, a company called Vvolt revealed a new e-cargo model designed for hauling gear, groceries, or anything else you want to take with you. The Slice Lite is built to be ultra-adaptable, with a slant towards a more utilitarian use case. This could be especially interesting for RVers, who can use the bike to run errands, go shopping, haul firewood, or just buzz around the campground. The new model starts at $2,049 and is highly customizable to meet the rider’s needs. Find out more here.
  • AI-Powered RV Trip-Planning Tool AdventureGenie Gets More Affordable: We’ve mentioned AdventureGenie—the AI-powered trip planner for RVers—a few times in the past, and this week we received an update on the service. In a move to make itself more accessible and affordable, the company announced that it is now offering a monthly subscription option starting at $9.99, while also lowering its annual subscription fee to $49.99. We gave AG a test last year and found it to be a handy tool to have at your disposal. Anyone can give it a try using the basic plan, which is free.

That’s all for this week’s Friday rundown of RV camping news. See you next week with more insights and information.

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