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We were recently invited to come out to Silicon Valley to have a look at an interesting travel trailer that’s currently in development, the Pebble Flow. We got to see the Flow in the lab at Pebble, and we did as much of a full review as we could on in in-development RV. The result is this video. Have a look!
Pebble has pretty ambitious goals for some of the features they’re working on. I can’t predict the future, but even if only half of these features hit, the Flow would still be a unique & innovative travel trailer well above today’s industry standard.
The video is long, because I included our discussion with the CEO and CTO at the end. So if you’re interested and have questions, I encourage you to stick around through that discussion. You likely have some of the same questions we did.
But for those of you who want a Cliff’s Notes version of the things I found interesting in the Pebble Flow, here you go.
The Battery Bank:
The Pebble Flow has a proper EV battery. That’s 45kWh at 400 volts. The capacity of that battery is more than twice what we currently have in our own RV – and we never want for battery power.
Self-Propulsion / Regenerative Charging:
The Flow will be capable of assisting in its own propulsion, so you could potentially tow it with an EV and not see much of a hit on your range. (Imagine towing a vehicle with zero weight.) On the other hand, if you’re towing it with a traditional gasoline or diesel vehicle, the Flow will have the ability to take energy out of its spinning wheels and charge its battery. (Presumably, this would result in additional load on the tow vehicle – nothing comes for free…) I asked a bit more about this, and this behavior will be user-controllable through their app. So depending on what your power situation is at your destination, you can adjust the charging to suit.
Since the wheels on the Pebble Flow will be capable of producing torque while you drive, it should be able to assist in its stability while underway. Think crosswind assist. Think stability assist. Many of the towing accessories people are used to may no longer be necessary. It’s a non-trivial engineering problem, but there are a lot of intriguing possibilities here.
It was still in development while we were there, so I don’t have any specifications to share, but think about climate control in the Pebble Flow as being based on mini-split heat pump technology. It should be efficient. It should be quiet. I know many RVers are interested in swapping out their HVAC for a mini-split, but those solutions usually wind up looking like the Clampett’s truck from The Beverly Hillbillies. What we saw in the Pebble Flow looked much more refined than any RV mini-split installation I’ve ever seen. I will be curious at what temperature “supplemental heat” kicks in, and what that does to battery life, but those kinds of tests are down the road a bit.
Remote Control Vehicle:
I got to use some trailer movers one time over in Germany. It was a hoot to drive a disconnected TT around a parking lot. Well, since the Pebble Flow will have powered wheels, that capability is going to be built in – not an aftermarket add-on. This should make it much easier to navigate the TT into tight campground parking spaces. The downside of this, of course, is that we’ll miss out on some of the entertainment of watching others trying to back up their travel trailer. HA!
There were no blinds in the Flow. But using the “magic glass” is about the most fun you’ll ever have opening or closing a window. (I played with it for way too long.) I’m not sure how much – if any – thermal insulation that glass provides. Before the Pebble Flow makes it to market, I wouldn’t be surprised if some thermal component was added to the windows to help with heat buildup in the summer. That’s just a guess.
Attention to Aero:
As a former Aerospace Engineer, this made me happy to see. Normal travel trailers are shaped like… well like bricks, honestly. A normal travel trailer will tow like garbage and suck your mileage because there’s absolutely no attention to aerodynamics in the design.
The Pebble Flow is different. They paid a LOT of attention to aerodynamics when designing the exterior of the vehicle. The motorized shroud on the tongue is just fantastic – optimizing airflow when it’s towed, and out of the way when it’s not. I couldn’t show you underneath, but they also have skirting under the RV covering up most of the gaps to improve airflow even more. Even without the active propulsion, the Pebble flow should tow better than just about any other travel trailer out there.
There’s a lot more to the Pebble Flow, and if you’re interested – or even if you’re just interested in watching a team push the boundaries of the travel trailer – I encourage you to watch the whole video.