This Airstream eStream concept is an electric camper with an innovative twist

Thor Industries, maker of the Airstream and other popular RVs, recently unveiled the eStream electric camper concept. It's essentially a hi-tech Airstream travel trailer with some nifty innovations hiding underneath.

The Airstream eStream concept is essentially a camper and electric vehicle in one. Since it has an electric powertrain (developed in conjunction with German parts maker ZF), the eStream is a self-propelled camper that you can "drive" or move remotely using your smartphone or tablet.

"The technology we co-developed with ZF creates a synchronized relationship between the trailer and tow vehicle, enabling the trailer to move in harmony while reducing the pulling effect required from the tow vehicle," said Josef Hjelmaker, chief innovator officer at Thor Industries.

The eStream concept has a pair of electric motors at each wheel that pump out a combined 242 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque. No, you can't drive the eStream without a gasoline-powered or electric tow vehicle, but the electric drive axle helps the tow vehicle save on fuel or energy. Still, a MOVE function allows it to move (short distances) when detached from the tow vehicle for easier maneuverability.

Furthermore, the eStream's advanced electrical architecture allows regenerative braking to trickle-charge the battery pack and offer a more driving range. The system can also apply power or braking force on either wheel for better weight distribution and stability during cornering maneuvers.

Those two motors draw power from an 80 kWh battery pack. Combined with 900-watt solar panels, the battery offers enough juice for about two weeks worth of off-the-grid living. Those batteries also power the concept's hi-tech electric gadgets, including voice-activated lighting and climate controls like in your smart home.

The eStream concept is not the only exciting news from Thor Industries. The company also debuted its TVV or Thor Vision Vehicle concept. The TVV utilizes a Ford Transit architecture and has a similar ZF electric powertrain as the eStream. However, it has a bigger battery pack to deliver a claimed 300 miles of range. It also has a hydrogen fuel cell developed by Roush to feed the motors, batteries, and the entire motorhome when off the grid.

The eStream and TVV are still in concept form, but we reckon both are not far from commercial production. The real question is the price, or how much would it cost to savor a hi-tech camping experience? As long as Thor goes easy on the base price, we bet people will come flocking in droves to get their hands on a self-moving camper.