In recent years there has been a shift in the RVing world. Fewer people are interested in driving a colossal Class A coach and small camper vans are in vogue. However, there’s usually only but so much you can fit into a footprint the size of a 20-foot van. Silicon Valley startup AC Future Inc., with the help of Pininfarina, thinks it has the solution. The AC Future Electric Transformer House (eTH) seeks to be the ultimate in camper vans.
As you can probably tell from the images, the van does not have a physical version just yet. AC Future debuted the van earlier this month at CES and somehow it escaped my radar until now. AC Future says that what we’re looking at here isn’t just a concept, but it plans to put a prototype on the road by the second quarter of this year before beginning production at the end of 2025. Also in the company’s plans is the eTH but as a travel trailer and the eTH as a standalone house structure.
What Is This Company?
AC Future Inc., which also goes by A&C Future Inc. depending on where you’re viewing the company’s information, was founded in 2021. It’s a subsidiary company to A&C Kings LLC, which also runs A&C Technology Inc. Arthur Qin founded AC Future in Silicon Valley with the ambitious goal of creating a lavish and futuristic home on wheels.
According to AC Future’s math, the average home in California costs about $600,000. AC Future, using engineering talent and parts sourced from China, wants to introduce an expanding camper van with all of the features of a two-bedroom apartment for $200,000. The company believes that by leveraging China’s technology sector, the company will benefit from cutting-edge ideas.
AC Future has been operating in stealth mode from its founding. Aside from a couple of local news pieces, the company has been hidden from the public eye until this month. The eTH is being pitched as something more than an RV. AC Future sees this thing being a cheaper alternative to housing and as I said before, one day the company plans on just deleting the wheels entirely and selling this concept as a small house pod thing. Yes, AC Future sees itself as being one of the companies trying to solve California’s housing crisis.
The Electric Transformer House
Photos from those local news reports suggest that the eTH has been in development for a while. Early design renders made the eTH look like something from a video game. Now, with the help of famed Italian design firm Pininfarina, AC Future not only has something that looks realistic but is still pretty striking, too. The joint press release from the two firms seems to suggest that Pininfarina didn’t just have its hands on the exterior, but the living space inside as well.
The eTH starts with a distinctive body. As of right now, the van is too early in development for AC Future to specify what kind of chassis will be underneath. However, the company says that its goal is to have the van be all-electric, though AC Future’s site also leaves open the possibility for an ICE chassis. Keep your expectations tempered, because AC Future says to expect the camper van to be able to handle “short-distance adventures.”
The highlight of the van happens when you move inside and expand the vehicle’s slides. AC Future says it’s targeting dimensions of 20 feet long and 11 feet high. So, it’ll be about the length of a Ram ProMaster, but pretty tall. The company also expects a girthy loaded weight of 19,000 pounds.
A lot of this has to do with the slides, which extend out far further than the typical RV. In AC Future’s illustration, the slides contain more than enough room to contain entire rooms. This render shows the proposed space from the second bedroom in the unit’s large left slide:
The rear slide houses a rear bedroom while the left slide has a second bedroom and dining room. The right slide expands the kitchen and bathroom space. The amount of space contained in these slides looks incredible and you won’t even find million-dollar Class As replicating this. AC Future says that when expanded, you’re getting 400 square feet of living space.
If you’re wondering how AC Future gets all of this into a space that’s supposed to turn into a van, the interior pieces are collapsible and modular, from the seating to the van’s instrument cluster. That way, you can fold up the slides and still have a usable van for travel. It’s unclear exactly how this modularity is supposed to work, but AC Future sees the eTH being an apartment, the family RV, an accessory dwelling for an existing house, and also a mobile office.
For example, the van’s dashboard also doubles as a work desk so you can work from the road. This feature will apparently involve the steering wheel moving down and out of the way, too. The instrument cluster display would also turn into a second display for your computer.
Supporting the wild expanding slides is some ambitious technology. AC Future says the entire roof, including the roof portions of the large slides, will be covered in solar panels. The company claims that the van will be able to support 25 kW of solar power. Helping you keep water reserves topped up is an atmospheric water generation system, which AC Future says will capture moisture from the air to generate up to 13 gallons of water daily. The van is also expected to have Starlink onboard, driver-assist systems, and integrated entertainment systems. AC Future says these features, plus the still-unknown platform, should allow for a full week of comfortable off-grid camping.
The renders show the eTH camper van with an arguably bland beige interior. Should you want a little more spice, AC Future says you’ll be able to customize your camper to your exact needs.
Of course, all of what I said above are what AC Future plans to do. I’ll repeat again that this company doesn’t have a platform, nor does it have projected specs on holding tanks or any other common RV equipment. For now, all it has is a bunch of renders with a Pininfarina-penned design.
On one hand, I think this concept is pretty awesome. I love RVs with huge windows and a design that bucks the trend of a boring box to drive down the road. I also love the huge slides that turn a van with a relatively small footprint into something much larger. However, I’m not sure this is the solution to housing problems. Someone who cannot afford high rent is unlikely to afford a $200,000 RV, and those chances are practically naught for low-income people. I think if AC Future pitched this just as an RV then it would be onto something here.
Again, that also requires AC Future to bring this concept into reality. Hopefully, the company will do just that and put prototypes on the road before giving us a production version. Sadly, we’ll have to wait and see if this becomes something great or disappears into the pages of Silicon Valley history as more vaporware.
(Images: AC Future)