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America’s first all-electric RV company raises $34 million to “revolutionize the road trip forever”

In 2020, San Francisco, California, and Boulder, Colorado-based Lightship launched as the first American all-electric recreational vehicle (RV) company. Three years later, it debuted the Lightship L1, which as Foot.Notes reported in 2023, is “practically a mini home on wheels.” 

At the time, the team said, “Road trips will never be the same,” and now in 2024, it's attempting to make good on that promise, as it begins pilot manufacturing at its new production facility in Broomfield, Colorado this year. With $34 million in newly announced Series B financing, it is building a manufacturing system and supply chain from the ground up. 

"We take pride in what we've created at Lightship and have been humbled with the reception of the L1,” Lightship cofounder and CEO Toby Kraus said in a statement. 

With an anticipated high demand following the official launch, the startup is also planning to create “numerous” high-tech engineering and manufacturing jobs. 

“Building an all-electric RV from the ground up and a brand-new U.S.-based manufacturing company around that product has taken the hard work and dedication of an incredible team with outstanding support from our network of investors," he added, "We have a bold vision for the future of recreational travel, and this is just the beginning of what's to come from Lightship."

The round was co-led by Obvious Ventures and Prelude Ventures and joined by Allegis Capital and global RV manufacturer THOR Industries and its investment partner TechNexus Venture Collaborative, as well as other returning investors like Congruent Ventures, HyperGuap, and Alumni Ventures.

"The electrification transformation doesn't stop at passenger cars. What Ben, Toby, and the team are bringing to life will revolutionize the road trip forever," Andrew Beebe, managing director at Obvious Ventures said referring to Kraus and his cofounder Benjamin Parker. 

Lightship plans to do this “revolutionizing” with the L1, which it says is an entirely new class of trailer, with its aerodynamics, battery power, solar panel rooftops, and electric drive train that enables near zero range or mile-per-gallon efficiency loss for the vehicle towing it. 

This is very important when one of the biggest fears non-EV drivers have is the range of the vehicle, and when something as heavy as a trailer is towed, typically, the fuel consumption vastly increases, cutting down on road trip time, costing the driver more, and increasing anxiety. 

In a blog post taking readers behind the scenes of its aerodynamic design, like its “telescoping walls” and boat-like rear design, the company describes how it was able to achieve both a roomy interior (complete with all electric appliances, by the way) while lowering the efficiency loss that comes with towing.

"From our automotive background, we know that you have to design for efficiency right from the start, and that meant designing the exterior shape first," Parker said in the post.


In fact, according to the startup, between the battery storage system, solar panels, and electric propulsion, the L1 can harness enough power to go completely off the grid for a week. 

Once Lightship’s trailers are on the road, the ones taking the great American road trip will have cost a pretty penny. The “basic” model will cost $125,000, targeting customers who currently drive gas or diesel vehicles, and the extended-range vehicle ​​has a sticker price of $150,000. 

While Lightship’s customer base is definitely a sector of buyers that have more money to spend on the electric transition than most, the startup believes it's playing a critical role in enabling the electrification of trucks, SUVs, and RVs, as a whole. Non-electric RVs cost anywhere between $10,000 and $400,000. However, when RVs are driven by 1 in 10 Americans with 300,000-500,000 RVs sold in the U.S. each year according to the startup, the potential market for amid the electric revolution is far from small. 

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