Since their humble beginning in the early 20th century, recreational vehicles (RVs) have played an exciting role in both transportation and living spaces. Initially, RVs were built as housing that could be easily relocated. Over the years, however, the RV industry shifted, and these vehicles came to represent leisure and travel instead. The whole RV’ing experience is a cultural phenomenon and looking forward into the next decade of the 21st century, consumer demand is again causing a shift in the market—this time toward sustainability.
Mature and Emerging Markets
While the RV industry is established in countries like the United States and Australia, it’s only beginning in China. This creates a unique opportunity to rethink RV manufacturing and how each individual component can be more sustainably sourced or created.
A research project from Monash University in Australia and Tsinghua University in China, conducted on recreational vehicle design, looked at both a mature (Australia) and emerging (China) market. Through a range of comparative research about use habit and lifestyle between these two countries, the paper formed a design specification for the newly evolving Chinese RV industry. The researchers determined that CAD technology should help manufacturers build an RV more efficiently, thus developing a more sustainable market. This research and its design were eventually turned into a prototype by Chinese manufacturers.
Tiny House Trend Influences RVs
Currently, tiny homes are exceedingly on trend with multiple TV channels that regularly feature their unique contribution to housing construction. While many would venture to say that a tiny house isn’t the same as an RV, in actuality, these homes are often built with a Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) certification. This certification means they can be parked anywhere that an RV can. For the RV industry, much can be learned from the tiny house movement. These hybrids typically use eco-friendly materials and some form of renewable energy, incorporating both sustainability and clever use of space into their design.
Retro Feel with Solar Appeal
Retro campers with the modern appeal are also trending in RV living. These new campers offer a vintage look but are powered by the sun. These nostalgic throwbacks are built using renewable materials with a focus on long-term usage and eco-friendliness, then fitted with solar panels to harness fuel and provide power.
The Ever-Evolving RV
Today, there is a backward shift in the world of RV’ing with more people choosing to use their RV as a place to live. This conceptual swing is representative of a nomadic society, offering a medium where owners can pack up their homes and relocate at their will. But these contemporary RV consumers want more than a simpler lifestyle that allows the flexibility to move—they want a habitat that is constructed responsibly as well.
Consumer demand continues to evolve the RV industry, and right now and for the foreseeable future, sustainability is fueling that demand. As sustainability becomes the prevailing paradigm, the RV industry has a unique opportunity to get in on these trends and shift design toward eco-friendly living spaces rather than disposable vacation spaces.
As part of the RV industry, Genesis Products is committed to sustainability, not only with our interior components but within our interior RV design as well. From reducing weight to recommending the right substrates, we’ve been helping RV manufacturers evolve with the times for years. Find out more about how we partner with the RV community.