RV maker THOR Industries is based in Elkhart. (photo courtesy of Thor Industries)

Elkhart-based Thor Industries Inc. (NYSE: THO) has inked a Memorandum of Understanding with ZF Friedrichshafen AG, a vehicle technology company based in Germany. Thor says the partners will focus on the continued joint development of a high-voltage electric drive system for towable recreational vehicles.

The goal for the project is to maintain, and potentially extend, the nominal range of an electric vehicle when towing a trailer.

Thor says EVs see a “significant reduction” in range when towing any type of load. A trailer equipped with the eTrailer System developed by the partners, they say, will be capable of moving under its own power at the same speed of the two vehicle.

In addition to improving the performance of EVs, Thor says the system also has the potential to improve the fuel efficiency of conventional tow vehicles with internal combustion engines or hybrid drivetrains.

The eTrailer System, which THOR, Erwin Hymer Group (EHG), and ZF have jointly developed over the last several years, is the only high voltage solution available in the RV space,” said Thor Chief Executive Officer Bob Martin. “The significance of this technology, compared to other solutions in the space, is the dramatic effect it has on range and the potential for charge and power to both the tow vehicle and appliances in an RV. We believe that this technology is a game-changer, and through the work of our team, THOR is positioned to be the global leader of e-mobility solutions in the industry.”

Thor says the partnership has led to a concept travel trailer equipped with a prototype eTrailer System. Through the MOU, Thor will receive the exclusive rights to the technology in the recreational vehicle space for a certain period, with perpetual rights to certain aspects of the intellectual property supporting the development.