- whether you're heading out with a tesla model 3 or a heavy-duty pickup, the polydrops p17a is a lightweight camper claimed to help you stay cozily off the grid for up to six days.
- well, six days under certain circumstances, anyway. it all depends on the battery and solar configurations, as well as how long you run the all-electric hvac system or the optional kitchenette appliances.
- the p17a starts at $24,990 but can get over $36,000 with the largest battery pack and other options.
the polydrops company's story starts in 2017, when married couple kyunghyun lew and "j" cha shifted away from architectural design and started working on a compact trailer prototype. leveraging interest from electric-vehicle drivers and a year of increased demand due to the coronavirus, the pair came up with this off-grid, angular teardrop-style trailer meant to be towed by an ev.
called the p17a, the space-capsule trailer features gullwing entry doors, solar panels on the roof and, just as in electric vehicles, batteries built into the floor that provide energy to the led lights and appliances, which can include an air conditioner, heater, fridge, induction cooktop, and 110-volt outlet.
while the p17a was designed with ev towing in mind, the company blog features pictures of all kinds of vehicles towing its lightweight camper, from a 1987 chevy corvette z51 to a 2004 toyota prius, a 2011 mini cooper s clubman r55 to a 1997 mazda miata.
the p17a starts at $24,990 and can be upgraded with a kitchenette module ($1850) and a built-in bluetooth speaker ($500). the base p17a comes with 260w solar panels and 2.4 kwh of lifepo4 batteries, which can be charged from the solar panels or a 110-volt inlet charging port. the solar panels can be upgraded to 520w for $800, and the battery capacity can be expanded up to 12 kwh. a 4.8-kwh battery costs an extra $2000, while the full 12 kwh costs $8000. polydrops claims that a full charge of the 12.0-kwh battery can "power all components including a 5000-btu air conditioner, heater, fridge, induction cooktop for more than six nights."
but new atlas reports that polydrops calculates this six-day, off-grid experience by running the heater or air conditioner for three hours a day, the led lights for four hours, the refrigerator for just 10 hours a day, and the bluetooth speaker for seven hours.
the p17a uses a lightweight aluminum frame and an exterior with an anodized aluminum finish. the cozy baltic birch interior is large enough to fit a full-size mattress and a micro closet in the back. the kitchenette is accessible from inside the camper or from the outside when the rear access hatch is open. the kitchenette add-on includes an induction stovetop, a 20-liter fridge and a hand-pump sink with a 1.6-gallon fresh water tank. the exterior of the p17a measures 13 feet seven inches long, six feet wide, and five feet three inches tall, and the trailer weighs 1200 pounds. polydrops designs and manufactures its trailers in california.
to see how efficient an ev could be with a p17a attached to the rear, check out polydrops company's posted results from a series of ev towing tests using a 2018 tesla model 3 long range with stock 18-inch wheels.