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Old 01-23-2020, 07:07 AM   #1
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Bob Wheeler’s vision for Airstream

Just read this article about Bob Wheeler’s vision for Airstream. He talks about some neat stuff including better off- grid camping. But there is little mention of bigger batteries for camping. Instead he talks about big batteries in trailers to supplement an ELECTRIC towing vehicle.

This is ironic from a company that has the worst off-grid capability in the market.

https://gearpatrol.com/2020/01/20/airstream-camping-trailer-smart-home-technology/
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Old 01-23-2020, 07:22 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Boxster1971 View Post
Just read this article about Bob Wheeler’s vision for Airstream. He talks about some neat stuff including better off- grid camping. But there is little mention of bigger batteries for camping. Instead he talks about big batteries in trailers to supplement an ELECTRIC towing vehicle.

This is ironic from a company that has the worst off-grid capability in the market.
The Airstream has great potential for off-grid camping. There is plenty of room for adding solar panels and larger capacity and/or lithium batteries. I am quite happy that these things are not included in the base Airstream price as I then have the opportunity to upgrade the capability as I see fit.

IMHO, to expect Airstream to increase the base capability (and subsequent increase in price), as implied by your comment, for the few who need this capability is not reasonable.
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Old 01-23-2020, 08:02 AM   #3
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Has the Mission Statement changed?...

Translation...the factory makes no changes and the customer makes all the improvements.

The problem with 'gizmo improvements'...they have a very short relevant life. 🤓
Think about how fast your smart phone gets dumb.

Bob
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Old 01-23-2020, 08:21 AM   #4
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Oliver Travel Trailers WILL put in up to six batteries. And check out the dual fiberglass hull AND insulation.

Boondocker camper for sure. Airstream is not going to compete because it isn't designed to. Glamping vs. Getting dirty and roughed up.
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Old 01-23-2020, 08:49 AM   #5
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Go back to the 1960's era trailers for weight with two 40# propane tanks and solar, you'd have a great off-grid trailer. Use an old style refrigerator and water heater off propane (without the fancy circuit boards), 1,000 watts of solar on the roof for fans/lights and toys. Add that to the amount of water carried by todays trailers and you'd have something. IMHO.

Enjoy,
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Old 01-23-2020, 09:03 AM   #6
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Go back to the 1960's era trailers for weight with two 40# propane tanks and solar, you'd have a great off-grid trailer. Use an old style refrigerator and water heater off propane (without the fancy circuit boards), 1,000 watts of solar on the roof for fans/lights and toys. Add that to the amount of water carried by todays trailers and you'd have something. IMHO.

Enjoy,
😂 I'll buy that...👍

Bob
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Old 01-23-2020, 10:06 AM   #7
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I like the direction. Though putting batteries in the coach chassis to augment the car isn't gonna be a big help. See there is no free lunch. The added weight of the batteries he's talking about will no doubt be self supporting and not much of a boost. Like putting a windmill on a vehicle. Eats more to make the thing spin than it provides benefit.

I do like the driving running gear. Neat.

I got a kick out of Bob saying this:

“We want to be just ahead of the curve. We don’t want people to pay for something they don’t want to use,”

Really, like the problematic Alde heating systems few wanted....or the power main awning that regularly has problems? ....and poof you have a $100k coach now compared to a $75k coach of just a few years back. LOL!

I get that some folks want the same exp on the road as they do at home. To each their own, but as a rabid boondocker, I boondock to get away from tech, not extend it. Add to the fact that as many boondockers know, many places you go there is little to no cell signal...and so that warning your fridge is about to cook your food or that nasty storm you should have known about before you left the RV will never get you a warning to retract your awning (which you should have been able to figure out without the added tech).

All that aside though....guess what....the buy-in to this wonderful techno antiseptic camping exp equals data. Lots of it. Where you are, where you've been, what time you get up, what temps you like. So right after you get that warning that the fridge just cooked your food, you'll get the local grocery store's sales based on geolocation....a revenue stream for Airstream and/or thier 3rd party partner. That storm warning, followed by a geolocated sale of raincoats and weatherproof shoes.

Think not? Look at On-Star, Facebook, Google, etc. Someone always has the data, and not often are they very upfront about how and when they actually use or sell it. You become the product in the form of an added service or value to you.

Me, I'd be happier if Airstream could build a better quality product before they worried about being "slightly ahead of the curve". One that doesn't have entire generations that have similar leak problems:


http://www.airforums.com/forums/f44/...ml#post2325964
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Old 01-23-2020, 10:11 AM   #8
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I think you all are overlooking the obvious here. In a theoretical world where a trailer could have hub motors and it's own batter bank, that battery bank would not only serve to run the hub motor when in transit but would also provide power for being offgrid. Think of it like the Tesla Powerwall where it can be used for whatever you want.

I think it's a brilliant and innovative idea. It probably won't come to market very soon. Even when it does it would be very limited and probably costly. The important thing is that they think through how an Airstream can evolve with the tech changes headed our way (and vehicle electrification is something to think about).

Now I'd love to see massive tanks seeing as we have a family of four. Showers fill up our tanks way too fast. I think a cool idea would be a sprinkler system that would take grey and spread it over a wider area over a longer period of time as to not create mud.

Imagine running an AC and taking the drip from the condensation and filtering that into your white tank. Literally taking water out of the air to fill up your tanks (would not work in Quartzite or at Burning Man, way too dry).

I think it's great they are forward thinking!
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Old 01-23-2020, 10:52 AM   #9
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Talking Antique AS, almost no tech, having fun with family

On Mr. Wheeler's comments about more batteries, EV towing etc my family enjoys camping with a "Less is More" philosophy. For 7 years we've gone on our annual "Hootenanny" to every park in the Western US and parts of Canada. My fully restored 1936 AS has one battery, and one solar panel.
Short showers after an adventurous day are enjoyed by all. We normally cook outside and during a brief stay last year in Moab were amazed at all the class A RV owners who never cooked outside but had their generators blazing away with their TVs going. We still much prefer outside cooking, Smores, campfire stories and games and of course a cup of vino !
I don't want electric awnings, TVs, heavy batteries, and especially all kinds of widgets and gadgets that this forum indicates are always breaking down.
Simple and fund camping works for us......
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Old 01-23-2020, 11:02 AM   #10
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WADR...If they really want to 'think forward' they could start by matching price point to quality.
But QC & CS has been a consistent concern since we got our Classic in 2003...the difference being, we paid 48k with many of the same QC problems we see today at 140k
Let us 🙏

Bob
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Old 01-23-2020, 11:46 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by panamerican View Post
I like the direction. Though putting batteries in the coach chassis to augment the car isn't gonna be a big help. See there is no free lunch. The added weight of the batteries he's talking about will no doubt be self supporting and not much of a boost. Like putting a windmill on a vehicle. Eats more to make the thing spin than it provides benefit.

I do like the driving running gear. Neat.

I got a kick out of Bob saying this:

“We want to be just ahead of the curve. We don’t want people to pay for something they don’t want to use,”

Really, like the problematic Alde heating systems few wanted....or the power main awning that regularly has problems? ....and poof you have a $100k coach now compared to a $75k coach of just a few years back. LOL!

I get that some folks want the same exp on the road as they do at home. To each their own, but as a rabid boondocker, I boondock to get away from tech, not extend it. Add to the fact that as many boondockers know, many places you go there is little to no cell signal...and so that warning your fridge is about to cook your food or that nasty storm you should have known about before you left the RV will never get you a warning to retract your awning (which you should have been able to figure out without the added tech).

All that aside though....guess what....the buy-in to this wonderful techno antiseptic camping exp equals data. Lots of it. Where you are, where you've been, what time you get up, what temps you like. So right after you get that warning that the fridge just cooked your food, you'll get the local grocery store's sales based on geolocation....a revenue stream for Airstream and/or thier 3rd party partner. That storm warning, followed by a geolocated sale of raincoats and weatherproof shoes.

Think not? Look at On-Star, Facebook, Google, etc. Someone always has the data, and not often are they very upfront about how and when they actually use or sell it. You become the product in the form of an added service or value to you.

Me, I'd be happier if Airstream could build a better quality product before they worried about being "slightly ahead of the curve". One that doesn't have entire generations that have similar leak problems:


https://www.airforums.com/forums/f44...ml#post2325964
FYI
I love my Alde. It is trouble free, quite and works beautifully.
You can keep your noise dust blower.
As is my power awning.
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Old 01-23-2020, 11:59 AM   #12
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What panamerican said! I would love to have Wheeler say "First things first." Airstream needs to go back to solid quality in a unique coach. My guess is that the Thor folks keep pushing quantity and their vision of the market. We have already seen the decline in the product, why not continue.
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Old 01-23-2020, 12:10 PM   #13
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Exactly!

(Slow down to go fast.) I hope the new factory with more room and better technology will improve the 2020 and on products. From what I have seen I believe it will. Our first year of Airstream ownership has been hours of adjusting replacing and reinventing factory mistakes ,then another 6 days of travel and $$$$$ to the factory service center ( which was great! ) to alleviate items I could not. I agree with Bob.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBERT CROSS View Post
WADR...If they really want to 'think forward' they could start by matching price point to quality.
But QC & CS has been a consistent concern since we got our Classic in 2003...the difference being, we paid 48k with many of the same QC problems we see today at 140k
Let us 🙏

Bob
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Old 01-23-2020, 12:24 PM   #14
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Well, Airstream has always been about "glamping" even if they didn't call it that back in the day. Wally made his camper because his wife wouldn't go tent camping.

For those that long for a more "authentic" basic camping trip, may I suggest a backpack and canvas tent, unless you really want to get back to nature and sleep under the stars. I had great fun doing this when I was younger.

So it seems to me if you're going to buy an Airstream trailer, which is more like a space ship, you ought to go full Star Trek and bring all the future gizmos and technology with you. Not that it will always work right, that is part of the adventure of camping and gives you something to complain about besides the ants.

But I do agree that it would sure be nice if AS, before they add lithium and motors, please chuck the rotten (literally!) plywood flooring and install a space-age composite material like Coosa Board!
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Old 01-23-2020, 12:53 PM   #15
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I read an interesting article yesterday about the new Airstream new facility they moved into during Christmas. 723,500 square feet with everything under 1 roof. Better lighting to help improve quality and lots more room to work safely. Then it shows a picture of a guy on a step ladder hanging over the side of a shell being worked on. I'd think for $60 million I would buy some electric lifts to work off of. Glad I've got a pretty trouble free oldie to enjoy instead of having to drag it all over the country for repairs.
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Old 01-23-2020, 01:13 PM   #16
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Oliver Travel Trailers WILL put in up to six batteries. And check out the dual fiberglass hull AND insulation.

Boondocker camper for sure. Airstream is not going to compete because it isn't designed to. Glamping vs. Getting dirty and roughed up.
We took a hard, serious look at the Oliver, including a factory tour, before deciding to by our Airstream. We liked everything, and I mean everything, about the Oliver trailers and the company except for two things: 1) their largest trailer was too small for our needs, and 2) it was relatively heavy for its size. From what we saw at the factory, I don't expect them to make a larger model anytime soon. And if they did, it would require something larger than an F-150 class truck to pull it.

But if we waned to spend more time boondocking, taking the trailer "off-road", and being in more extreme climates, especially cold, the Oliver would be on our short list. Indeed, we left Michigan in mid-Nov 2019 in below freezing temps and have had lows in the 30's the last few nights here at Disney World (FL). Our 2020 Flying Cloud is NOT well insulated, but we do not plan to use it in extreme temperatures, as a rule.
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Old 01-23-2020, 01:48 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by panamerican View Post
Me, I'd be happier if Airstream could build a better quality product before they worried about being "slightly ahead of the curve". One that doesn't have entire generations that have similar leak problems:
https://www.airforums.com/forums/f44...ml#post2325964
Ditto, while I love being a first time streamer for 1 yr, I’m beginning to shop around as the concept of having to replace the floor in the future because of cost cutting is just unacceptable to me. I would understand if no one ever complained about that issue, but there are too many threads discussing this issue. Hell, I’d be happy if an improved version was an option. It’s just frustrating as I really like the basic design.
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Old 01-23-2020, 02:05 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by franklyfrank View Post
FYI
I love my Alde. It is trouble free, quite and works beautifully.
You can keep your noise dust blower.
As is my power awning.
That's great and if the numbers were in your favor I'd wholeheartedly agree with you...however, from what I've read on this forum alone, the slightly ahead of the curve folks that have Classics with these devices on them, my interpretation is that for every one of you, there are at least 5 with a significantly different exp. Some have had to replace boards, some even more...and that's not even addressing doors not fitting right, leaks, bathroom mirrors falling off....etc.

I guess that's what happens on the bleeding edge, but hopefully the new tech center and manufacturing facility will either help alleviate these generational problems (not just with the newer Classics I pointed out) or it will just be a larger, dedicated, well lit place where more of the same happens. Only time will tell.

I applaud them thinking outside the shell (so to speak), but I stand by my comments having owned two new Airstream trailers that they should also spend significant resources on the here and now and have customers have a more consistent experience so that most everyone has the same exp you have had with your Classic. I just don't think that is the case today and clearly has not been the case in the past.
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Old 01-23-2020, 04:50 PM   #19
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Love the Alde System

Quote:
Originally Posted by franklyfrank View Post
FYI
I love my Alde. It is trouble free, quite and works beautifully.
You can keep your noise dust blower.
As is my power awning.
I agree. My Alde system has worked flawlessly since day 1. Same with power Awning. Other than the temperature being perfect, you'd never know the Alde existed. Really quite a remarkable system.
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Old 01-23-2020, 08:43 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Adventure.AS View Post
The Airstream has great potential for off-grid camping. There is plenty of room for adding solar panels and larger capacity and/or lithium batteries. I am quite happy that these things are not included in the base Airstream price as I then have the opportunity to upgrade the capability as I see fit.

IMHO, to expect Airstream to increase the base capability (and subsequent increase in price), as implied by your comment, for the few who need this capability is not reasonable.
I posted this thread in the Sprinter and B-van sub forum and it got moved here by ADMIN. The Airstream trailers may have better potential for off-grid use.

My comment about the irony was aimed at the Airstream VANS (aka Motorhomes) They have one of the worst solar systems on the market. Until recently they had minimal batteries. Even today with four 12V AGM batteries they are behind their competition from Winnebago, Pleasure-Way and Roadtrek. When you spend $200,000 on a van you expect it to be top of the market. The new Winnebago BOLDT makes the Airstream Interstates look like antiques. If I had to pay $200,000 for the base unit and then spend another $50,000 or more to realize the "potential" - I'd rather buy from Advanced RV and get a truly capable van built to my exact specifications.

I just read that the new 2020 Interstates will have the Truma Combi heat and hot water unit - a step in the right direction finally. That same system is in the Winnebago BOLDT but paired with the fantastic Volta 48V Lithium battery system.

Don't get me started about lack of quality in the builds by Airstream. Their designs look good on the surface but they lack practical features. They are the only B-van manufacturer I've seen that doesn't have latching cabinet doors on the overhead storage bins. Who needs remotely controlled window shades that don't work right half the time.

I was able to upgrade my Interstate to acceptable off-grid capability for less than $10,000 because I did all my own installations. Today's Interstates can't even go 24 hours without being plugged in when set up for normal use.
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