This is the future of the recreational vehicle, its logical next step—incorporating RV features into a stylish and versatile family wagon. Call it an RUV. These new models will look as cool as any car and have high-tech functionality: a hybrid engine; a hydrogen fuel cell powering onboard systems; composite materials to reduce weight and increase strength and fuel efficiency; and plenty of communications and entertainment options for even the longest road trip. Not to mention that overnights will never be the same: “When you stop,” says Scott Grafft, a strategic planner at Fleetwood RV, “you can expand it like a balloon.” This new breed of car will adapt to any need and will integrate its technology seamlessly—owners will be able to do everything but drive the car through a simple PDA.
The expanded RUV becomes a luxurious, high-tech campsite. There’s room enough for a family meal, and space to stretch out for a nap or check e-mail through one of several Wi-Fi?enabled detachable laptops. Sink, oven, shower and toilet fit snugly in the back, and the table folds up from the floor. The table is filled with reactive fluid, which hardens or softens when the
temperature is altered so that it can double as a bed.
On the road, the RUV handles with the stability of a car. A hybrid engine
keeps gas consumption down, and sensors monitor vehicle systems. Smart
sensors in the wheels, for example, alert drivers when the tires need to be refilled, rotated or realigned.
Tables and chairs are stored on vehicle, serving as exterior panels until needed
Organic light-emitting diode technology turns windows into entertainment centers
Seat permits taller users to get clean comfortably
Seatbacks house detachable laptops for mobile offices
Honeycomb body panels save weight, add strength
Motorized extensions slide out from vehicle frame, adding interior space
Fridge/oven combo for preparing small meals
Doors lock onto a floor and ceiling that slide out from the middle, creating a mini sundeck
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.