Tangent once again partnered with iconic RV manufacturer Airstream to design & develop the Airstream eStream concept trailer, an industry first foray into the electric towable market. Featuring high capacity battery packs and an electric motor not unlike the one’s in today’s electric cars, the eStream concept provides enhanced towing efficiency through aerodynamic exterior enhancements, and aforementioned power boost from its built in electric motor. Tangent’s design responsibilities included the design and development of the eStream’s exterior enhancements, including front and rear signature lighting features, eStream specific wheels, lower cladding, and marker lights, to name a few.
Inspired by Airstream’s rich heritage as America’s most iconic travel trailer manufacturer, as well as previous collaborations between Tangent and Airstream, Tangent set about designing an industry first trailer that would retain Airstream’s iconic brand language, while recontextualizing its visual identity for an electric forward market. This meant applying a more radical design approach to the eStream’s numerous exterior modifications, including incorporating dynamic signature lighting features, aero dynamic cladding additions that would reduce overall drag, and an Airstream first front grille for battery temperature management.
After settling on a 2D direction, Tangent set about modeling the eStream’s numerous exterior features in 3D CAD software, bringing the design from concept level surfaces, all the way to tool ready parts. This process included the development of front and rear lighting bezels, that incorporate a custom frit pattern and layered LEDs. Tangent’s working relationship with a number of industry suppliers (thermoform, lighting, composite accents) helped to bring each and every aspect of the eStream’s exterior design into fruition, providing prototype parts for the Airstream team to assemble and evaluate.
Without the support of a full-size clay model to evaluate surfaces, Tangent turned to it’s in house, VRED powered, virtual reality set up to create a full-scale walk-through environment, which provided Tangent with critical insights into the design and scale of each of the eStream’s numerous exterior parts and features. This feature proved especially crucial for the evaluation and development of the eStream’s custom aero wheels, an important and effective styling departure for Airstream’s first electric model.
The Airstream eStream concept debuted at the 2022 Florida RV SuperShow, and previews Airstream’s upcoming electric future.