New Winnebago Ekko motorhome promises year-round, off-the-grid camping

It's based on a four-wheel-drive Ford Transit

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The call of #vanlife and off-the-grid camping has proven especially strong during this COVID year, but what if you want a little more space than offered by the typical van conversion? You might try this Winnebago Ekko, which offers the space of a motorhome but with the boondocking capability of a smaller rig. And while it's not quite an EarthRoamer in terms of off-road ability, the 23.2-foot Ekko is based on an AWD Ford Transit that should allow it to get further out into the wild than a traditional motorhome.

To make the Ekko cold-weather capable, Winnebago insulated the roof, walls, and floor. Additionally, water tanks and lines are contained within the heated space above floor level, and dual-pane windows are used.

A trio of solar panels on the roof can generate 455 watts of electricity, stored in the standard lithium-ion batteries, which are also recharged by the engine. The Ekko's off-the-grid readiness is enhanced by its 50-gallon freshwater tank.

An optional pop-top takes sleeping capacity from two to four. There's a bathroom with a sink, toilet and shower with hot water supplied by a tankless heater. A galley kitchen is on hand, with a sink, cooktop and refrigerator/freezer, and a slide-out outdoor kitchen is available. A "gear garage" at the rear is large enough for bikes and is accessible from three sides. 

The Ekko is based on the Ford Transit van powered by a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 with 310 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. A 31-gallon fuel range should provide for a decent cruising range. A full complement of active-safety features is on hand, including forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, and a driver-alertness monitor.

The Ekko is priced from $163,662 and should be available sometime after the first of the year. Winnebago is planning a second, larger version as well.

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