Airstream, maker of the iconic American-made riveted aluminum travel trailers, has unveiled a travel trailer concept developed with design firm Studio F.A. Porsche. Shown at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Conference at Austin, Texas in March, the Airstream Studio F. A. Porsche Concept Travel Trailer envisions a next-generation Airstream trailer that incorporates elements from the design playbooks of both brands.
The collaboration process engaged Studio F.A. Porsche designers in Zell am See, Austria, and Los Angeles in a steady back-and-forth with Airstream designers and engineers in Jackson Center, Ohio. The trailer currently exists as photorealistic renderings and a third-scale model, though it’s shown front-and-center on the company’s website, with the company collecting expressions of interest to determine whether there’s enough demand to put it into production.
EV-Friendly Travel Trailer
Aerodynamically tested in digital form, the project evolves Airstream’s iconic riveted aluminum looks with styling elements that have never been seen on Airstreams before. Among the concept trailer’s many innovative ideas, the design includes a pop-up roof for additional interior headroom, as well as an adjustable-height suspension which lowers the trailer, allowing city dwellers to store the trailer in a standard residential garage; it’s the first “garageable” Airstream design in the company’s 90-year history.
The lowered suspension and retractable roof ensure the small-footprint travel trailer offers a better towing experience with electric vehicles, with less of an impact on range and performance than typical travel trailers. The suspension, lack of rooftop protrusions, and small frontal area compared to other Airstream trailers combine with lightweight composite materials like carbon fiber to make for a very EV-friendly trailer. They also make the trailer easier and more efficient to tow with any kind of vehicle.
Indeed, the concept trailer incorporates numerous aerodynamic advances. A new rear shape is intended to improve air flow while in motion, while a flush underside with reduced drag-creating projections ensures optimum efficiency. Essential systems are incorporated inside the concept’s chassis and interior instead of hanging outside of it, resulting in a sleek exterior that is intended to reduce aerodynamic drag. The ducted air conditioning, a prominent feature of many RV rooftops, is located above the concept trailer’s floor. Several systems are tucked inside the 10-inch-deep space below the floor, including the hot water and heating components, spare wheel, holding tanks, and even the lithium battery.
Innovative Interior Design
The concept trailer’s innovative design extends to its interior, where Airstream and Studio F.A. Porsche have maximized the use of space to enhance the owner experience within its compact footprint. The extensive use of windows and skylights creates a spacious interior feel. The floor plan includes a rear seating area that transforms from dining to working to relaxing space. It quickly converts from dinette seating to a large sleeping area as well.
A redesigned rear hatch features a new two-piece design, with a hinge-up hatch and a drop-down tailgate to create a patio for occupants while the concept trailer is parked. Awnings can be attached to create a shady place to relax and plan the next adventure. This design extends the interior living space, connecting travelers with their surroundings and allowing for easy loading of adventure gear. The wet bath features a door that creates an enclosed, private area and swings freely to hide the toilet when it’s not in use. In the adjacent galley, a hinge-up counter extends in front of the main entry door to expand the available counter space, to create a large L-shaped workspace that rivals those in many larger travel trailers.
Over the last couple of years, RVing has boomed in popularity as people seek safe, self-directed travel experiences. The collaboration between Airstream and F. A. Porsche is comfortable in a variety of camping destinations – from a campground with full hookups to the off-grid wilderness, where its adjustable ride height, integrated rooftop solar panels and lithium battery system work together to store energy for later use.
The concept was showcased at Porsche’s SXSW exhibit where Airstream and Porsche Lifestyle Group executives unveiled a 1/3 scale model of the trailer with a Porsche tow vehicle. Porsche’s 2023 SXSW theme is collaboration, as the legendary automotive celebrates its 75th anniversary in 2023.