Revolutionizing the RV Industry: Tesla Graduates Illuminate the Future with Lightship L1 Camper


What occurs when veterans from Tesla, Rivian, Proterra, Lucid, and Zoox utilize their expertise in automotive EV design and development to disrupt the stagnant RV industry? The result is Lightship, an all-electric RV company founded in 2020 and based in San Francisco and Boulder. Lightship proudly claims to be America's first all-electric recreational vehicle company, with a mission to revolutionize travel trailers. Their inaugural space-traveling model is the Lightship L1, a purpose-built, battery-powered travel trailer that does not include an EV.

The co-founders of Lightship, Ben Parker and Toby Kraus, understand the importance of breaking the mold, innovating, and thinking outside the box. Both previously worked at Tesla during its groundbreaking years in the automotive market. With their experience, they are now reimagining and electrifying the recreational vehicle from the ground up, showcasing their immersion in Tesla's culture through the Lightship name.

The Lightship L1 is not a conventional travel trailer retrofitted with electric components instead of propane and gas-powered systems. It takes a fresh approach, resulting in an aerodynamic, self-propelled travel trailer with a connected all-electric ecosystem. This ecosystem includes appliances, features, and modern amenities, seamlessly integrated into the trailer's design.

During our personal experience with the L1 at the Electrify Expo in Long Beach, we were genuinely impressed. Despite its compact exterior, the L1's minimalist modern design creates an open and breezy interior space. Flush-mounted appliances and clean lines prevent clutter, while the bathroom area, though somewhat secondary, offers the opportunity to connect with nature during a shower when the trailer is parked in remote locations.

Lightship claims that the L1 is three times more aerodynamic than traditional travel trailers, a crucial factor in maximizing the tow rig's range or fuel efficiency. Those who have towed a bulky travel trailer can appreciate the benefits of thoughtful aerodynamics.

Unique to the Lightship L1 is its roof, which slides up to provide additional room, reminiscent of a sophisticated, hard-sided "slide-up" pop-up camper. While driving, the roof remains lowered at a height of 6 feet, 9 inches, but in camp mode, it extends to 10 feet. The pop-up section features abundant windows, creating an open and airy atmosphere that fosters a sense of connection with nature rather than inducing feelings of claustrophobia.

Similar to the innovation seen in Tesla's vehicles, the Lightship L1 incorporates a self-propulsion system. This electric powertrain, equipped with up to 80 kWh of onboard battery capacity, assists in towing, minimizing efficiency losses for the tow vehicle. Instead of hindering the process, it aids in propelling the travel trailer.


The self-propulsion system works in conjunction with the travel trailer's battery system, backed by up to 3 kW of solar power. According to Lightship, this combination provides a week of off-grid energy without the need for charging. Notably, the entire roof and extendable awnings are covered in solar panels, ensuring a noise-free and hassle-free outdoor experience where electricity is not a concern.

Measuring 27 feet in length (slightly longer than the new Toro Bravo 4x4 Silver Spear) and 8.5 feet in width, the Lightship L1 can accommodate between four to six occupants, depending on the configuration. With a fully loaded weight of 7,500 pounds, it offers a comfortable and spacious living space.

Production of the Lightship L1 is scheduled to commence in late 2024, and interested customers can reserve one now for $500 at The starting price is $125,000 ($118,400 after applicable tax credits), making it an attractive option for those seeking a travel trailer far superior to its traditional predecessors.

In conclusion, Lightship, an all-electric RV company founded by veterans from Tesla, Rivian, Proterra, Lucid, and Zoox, is poised to disrupt the stagnant RV industry with its innovative approach. The Lightship L1, their flagship model, represents a clean-sheet design that combines aerodynamics, self-propulsion, and a connected all-electric ecosystem. With its modern and spacious interior, impressive energy efficiency, and commitment to off-grid capabilities, the L1 sets a new standard for travel trailers. As Lightship prepares for production in late 2024, it offers customers the opportunity to reserve this groundbreaking RV that represents a significant leap forward in the world of recreational vehicles.

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