Three years ago, stuck in a Bay Area apartment in the early months of the pandemic, Ben Parker quit his job as an engineer at Tesla, rented a Winnebago, and took off on a 6,000-mile road trip. He dove into research for what he saw as the next opportunity for a better electric vehicle: RVs.
When he got back from the trip, he started working on a new RV battery-power system, and convinced a former Tesla product manager, Toby Kraus, to join him as a cofounder of a startup called Lightship. The company’s first electric RV prototype, a travel trailer unveiled this spring, has solar panels on the roof and a battery large enough that it can propel itself, so a truck towing it can save gas (or, if it’s an electric truck, drive farther on a charge). The RV, called the L1, can also power all the appliances onboard without the need for gas or propane generators.