Grounded RV, a Detroit-based startup, has unveiled a new electric camper van called the G1. The G1 is a Class B recreational vehicle based on the high-roof, long-wheelbase Ford E-Transit. It’s also highly customizable, letting customers choose the interior layout that best fits their lifestyle. The biggest news, however, is that the Grounded G1 is actually affordable, at least relative to the cost of other factory-built camper vans on the market.
Former Tesla and SpaceX engineers are behind Grounded RV, and the company, which was only founded in 2022, will be manufacturing the G1 at Ford and Newlab’s “Accessible Streets Studio” in Detroit.
Its first product, the G1, is basically a Ford E-Transit upfitted with a homey interior that can include a queen bed; a bench seat with a pull-out table; a fully outfitted kitchen with sink, refrigerator/freezer, and induction cooktop; a rear garage for cargo and overhead storage; an outdoor shower; and a dry-flush toilet. The G1’s interior is also modular, which means these components can be configured in many different ways, and it doesn’t cost as much for that flexibility as with bespoke builds.
Regarding range, the Grounded RV reiterates the published range of the high-roof E-Transit, which is 108 miles. But that estimate comes before the upfitting process. The onboard 68-kWh battery pack will probably peter out before 100 miles in the van’s final form, especially when it’s fully packed for adventure. Grounded claims the next version of the camper van, called G2, will offer 250 miles of range and arrive just a few months after the G1 in July 2023.
Fortunately, a robust 650-watt solar energy system aids the electrical cause. All of the appliances are, of course, electric and controlled by proprietary software designed in-house by Grounded. RVers can use the software to track their usage patterns, control all of the G1’s systems, and diagnose potential issues. They can also control the G1 remotely, so the van can be hot or cold, depending on the season, by the time you’re back from a hike.
Grounded says the G1’s design was inspired by Scandinavian simplicity and functionality. The bones of the modular interior are built using aluminum, and sustainably sourced, lightweight Baltic Birch wood is used throughout the modern interior for warmth and strength.
We said at the top the Grounded G1 is affordable, though you might think differently when you find out its base price is $108,000. In reality, Class B camper vans range in price from $80,000 to well over $200,000, which puts the G1 squarely in the camp of more affordable options. The company is also offering a monthly subscription model for $2,300 per month. That may sound like a lot of money too, but again falls well within the range of what you’d pay per month to rent a similar gas-powered camper van.
RV manufacturers and new EV startups are working hard to bring more electric RV options to market. Winnebago is already on the Winnebago Debuts eRV2 All-Electric Motorhome Concept. High-end trailer manufacturer Bowlus already sells an all-electric model, and the recently unveiled Lightship L1 looks very promising. We’re most excited, though, for the collaboration between GMC and EarthCruiser that will result in an all-electric overlanding beast based on the Hummer EV.