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This startup is making a modular electric camper van — take a look inside

This startup is making a modular electric camper van — take a look inside


A newcomer in the RV industry founded by former
Tesla and SpaceX engineers is already promising a product most legacy RV makers have yet to deliver to the US’ market: a fully electric modular camper van.
Grounded

 

Most electric RVs like Winnebago’s eRV2 camper van and Airstream’s eStream trailer are currently in their concept phase.

Winnebago

Compared to these legacy companies, Grounded is an infant. It was founded in August 2022 by Sam Shapiro, a former SpaceX employee who spent four months remote working and traveling around the US in his own camper van.

Grounded, Anna May Photography

Despite the startup’s young age, it’s already on the cusp of delivering its first few electric RVs, which are based on Ford’s E-Transit with a range of 108 miles.

Ford E Transit
Ford

 

It’s the same platform Winnebago is using for its concept eRV2.

Winnebago’s concept electric camper van, the eRV2.
Winnebago

In November, Grounded began manufacturing in Detroit. And in a few weeks, the first three customer vehicles will be shipped to Simple Campers, a camper van rental company in California.

Grounded

 

The tiny home on wheels, called the Grounded G1, can also be yours for $125,000.

Grounded

 

But if you’re not ready to pay that upfront, Grounded has a one-year, $2,300 per month “subscription” model similar to a long-term rental or
lease on a car.
Grounded

 

“Our company mission is to give people the freedom to live and work anywhere sustainably integrated within nature,” Shapiro said. “We think offering a subscription and opening up accessibility is a strong way to drive that mission forward.”

Grounded

 

Paying over $2,000 a month for a tiny mobile home could be a lot for people who are used to paying that same amount for a one-bedroom apartment.

Grounded

 

But the G1 has a queen bed. So if you’re comfortable with sharing this bed, you could split this monthly “subscription” with another traveler.

Grounded

 

Like any fully converted camper van, the G1 also has seating by a pull-out table, a kitchenette, and a dry-flush toilet.

Grounded

 

Storage can be found overhead or in the “garage” shown below. However, showers will have to be taken outdoors.

Grounded

 

Its electronics and appliances — like the
battery, lights, and temperature — can be controlled and monitored remotely using Grounded app.
Grounded

 

To power all of this while staying off-grid, the van has
640 watts of solar power and a separate battery system. The solar panels can also charge the vehicle and home’s batteries.
Grounded

But if you aren’t in love with the current arrangement, the interior can be adjusted to fit your needs.

Grounded

 

By using a modular system, components like the bed and dining area can be easily doubled, moved, or removed depending on your needs.

Grounded

 

So if you need an extra bed, seating, room for a TV, or more storage, Grounded can “refit” the van accordingly.

Grounded

 

According to Shapiro, this modular approach, the app, and the purchase and rental options set Grounded’s camper van apart from the other electric RVs we could soon see flooding the market.

Grounded

 

For now, the startup is focusing on this camper van, raising money, and increasing manufacturing speeds. The goal is for four customers to receive their vans in four to eight weeks after ordering.

Grounded

 

“We are being very intentional about shipping quickly and continuing to evolve the product rather than being a company that raises millions of dollars and spends years in research and development before ever shipping a product,” Shapiro said

Grounded

 

But in the future, you could see Grounded take what Shapiro calls a “platform agnostic” approach to manufacturing by implementing its modular interior into other electric vans.

Grounded

 

In July, it will begin building out the second
generation of its camper van with a 250-mile range.
Grounded

 

And in early 2025, Grounded’s next model — a trailer RV — will be ready to ship.

Grounded

 

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