Thursday, September 24, 2009

Airstream Increases Production and Market Share

Airstream recently announced that it has increased production by 30 percent over the last six weeks to meet a growing wholesale and retail demand for its trailers.
Photo Credit: Airstream

According to Airstream, the RV industry has taken a major hit because of the economy. Airstream has not been immune from the downturn. However, in recent weeks the company has seen a strong uptick in retail and wholesale demand.

According to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), overall RV sales in July ran at the strongest annual rate since October of 2008, signaling an overall industry turnaround. Airstream has grown its production backlog from an all-time low of three weeks to a high of 11 weeks, and as a result is expanding its staffing to support the production boost, something that the company has not done since late 2006.
Photo Credit: Airstream

“The RV industry tends to lead the general economy both in and out of recessions, so our growth spells good things for the economy as a whole” said Bob Wheeler, CEO of Airstream. “In the course of 78 years, Airstream has encountered numerous ups and downs, and as a result we feel that we are well-positioned to recover quickly. We are prepared to embrace what will hopefully be a very successful 2010.”

Airstream also reports that sales in its primary European markets of England, Germany and Holland are also experiencing a marked recovery.

Source: Airstream

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Staying Connected to the Internet While RVing - What are the Best Options?

Internet access is important to many RVers as having access to electricity, but how do you stay online as you travel across the country? RV campgrounds often have Wi-Fi services or network connections, but what about the great stretches of road between campgrounds?

A post on the site Slashdot.org asks the question of what is the best way for RVers to get roaming internet access.

The question comes from an RVer who runs a web-based business and needs a reliable service. Options for RV internet connections range from 3G data plans to satellite dish services. Which one is the best for RVers? The discussion reveals a number of options and their benefits and drawbacks.

Source: Slashdot.org

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Spacesaver Microwave Oven with Trim Kit from Contoure Maximizes Counter Space

Photo Credit: Contoure

Contoure has introduced a microwave for Boat and RV owners designed to maximize kitchen space without sacrificing style. Complementing any design, the new, black CM11040BKT Spacesaver Microwave Oven with Trim Kit from Contoure increases counter space with a convenient, flush-mounted, built-in option.

Providing a streamlined appearance, the state-of-the-art, 900W Spacesaver Microwave Oven offers a generous 1 cu. ft. of cooking space, digital interactive display, electronic control and 10 power levels. Eight touch menu buttons automatically set the correct cooking times for certain foods, such as popcorn, soup and vegetables. Other features include jet defrost by weight and time, a handy kitchen timer and a +30 seconds selection.

Source: Contoure

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Engineering Professors Develop Electric RV Hybrid Vehicle Concept

The University of Alabama homepage reports on the work of a father-son engineering duo with a passion for RV travel and their idea for a hybrid dinghy pusher after the cost of fuel curtailed both families’ traveling plans.

Photo Credit: University of Alabama

According to the University homepage, Dr. Steve Shepard Jr., associate professor of mechanical engineering at The University of Alabama, and his father, Dr. Steve Shepard Sr., a former faculty member and researcher at Mississippi State University, have created a concept for an electric-hybrid passenger vehicle with the ability to improve fuel economy and increase the acceleration of the motor home towing it.

In this concept, the dinghy consists of a hybrid SUV towed by the RV. When driven as a standard automobile, the SUV operates as a fully-functional hybrid vehicle. When towed behind a RV, the SUV switches into the hybrid dinghy pusher mode, where only the electrical portion of the hybrid-SUV is utilized. The hybrid dinghy pusher, known as a HDP, works by going into generator mode and storing energy when going downhill, and energy previously stored in the batteries is used to help push the motor home up-hill.

The previously stored electrical energy in the hybrid dinghy pusher can also be used to help accelerate the motor home more quickly from a stop or while just driving down the road. A conventional hybrid SUV is adapted to utilize its electric system to recycle energy when being towed.

The HDP’s on board motors provide propulsion during acceleration and act as electric generators during braking. The assistance provided to the motor home by the HDP is not meant to replace the propulsion provided by the motor home engine; it simply supplements it to improve acceleration and reduces wear on the RV engine. Unlike typical towed dinghies, motor homes towing an HDP would experience a decrease in fuel consumption and an increase in acceleration performance. According to Shepard, hybrid motor homes are just now coming onto the market, and they are expensive.

Besides being a cheaper alternative to a hybrid motor home, the greatest advantage of this new concept is that the HDP not only assists the motor home in transit, but it also provides the motor home owners with a hybrid vehicle to drive after arriving at their destination. Other advantages of implementing such a system are improved gas mileage, reduced rate of wear on brake components, and improved mobility for users of RVs and the dinghy.

Working with UA’s Office for Technology Transfer, the Shepards are in the process of securing a development partner to bring this cutting-edge technology to the market. UA originally filed a U.S. provisional patent application, which has since been converted to a full utility patent application.

Source: University of Alabama

Monday, September 14, 2009

Dow Introduces Enhanced RV Winterization Fluid

The Dow Chemical Company has introduced an enhanced seasonal water system winterization product for recreational vehicles, vacation cottages, boats, pools and spas that is readily biodegradable, blended with renewable ingredients, and packaged in a container produced using proprietary Dow technology.

Dowfrost RVR seasonal freeze protection fluid is a ready-to-use solution that provides protection against bursting of potable water systems when exposed to freezing temperatures and contains proprietary corrosion inhibitors to help prevent rusting and corrosion of plumbing system components in seasonal equipment. It will be available on store shelves beginning September 2009.

Dow also features a webpage on how to safely winterize your RV water system.

Source: Dow Chemical Company

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Winnebago Begins Shipment of the 2010 Via and Itasca Reyo

Winnebago Industries has begun shipments of the Company’s new 2010 Winnebago Via and Itasca Reyo have now begun with initial deliveries arriving at select dealers throughout the U.S.

Photo Credit: Winnebago

“The culmination of an extensive development process, the all-new Winnebago Via and Itasca Reyo are ground-breaking motor homes in every way,” said Winnebago Industries’ Vice President of Sales and Marketing Roger Martin. “With innovative new features and construction, contemporary design, and record-breaking fuel economy, the new Via and Reyo are truly motor homes for the future.”

The first Class A diesel motor homes built on the fuel efficient Dodge/Mercedes-Benz Sprinter chassis, the Via and Reyo are 25-foot, fresh, innovative and fully equipped motor homes that are slated to provide the highest fuel efficiency currently available in a Class A motor home, along with superior handling and maneuverability.

Source: Winnebago