The tradition of the Great American Roadtrip has been hampered recently by skyrocketing gas prices. And taking an RV on the road? Forget it, unless you have plenty of cash to spare. But that may be about to change now that Freightliner is taking orders for ecoFRED, the first hybrid-electric class A motorhome chassis.
The chassis, introduced as a prototype last year, has a 6.7-liter engine, an Eaton hybrid-electric system, and manual transmission. The vehicle's also hybrid drive system increases the overall weight to 37,000 pounds. That's an advantage in this case since it means that travelers can carry more weight in storage compartments or tow a heavy vehicle. And ecoFRED's regenerative braking system cuts down on brake wear—a key feature for those days spent driving through the mountainous roads of Colorado.
An upgrade to ecoFRED isn't for the faint of heart—adding a hybrid chassis adds about $30,000 to a vehicle's cost—but savings on fuel costs add up quickly when you get only 7 mpg with a regular gasoline engine. Still interested? Freightliner is taking preorders for ecoFRED now, with units expected to start shipping next year.