Given how much traffic our story on Living Vehicle trailers garnered in 2021, we sat down with the creative minds behind Living Vehicle to discuss the low-volume trailer and how it came to be—and why it’s loaded with appeal.
MT: Where does the story of Living Vehicle begin?
Matthew Hofmann: The idea for Living Vehicle was born in 2016, but this all began over a decade ago, in 2010, with a specialty upfitting business when I was a licensed architect. I wanted to start my own company and thought it would be an architecture firm. I loved projects and working with my hands which I discovered growing up in the High Sierras, where we build houses.
My first project was an old Airstream that I did not know much about and would renovate on the weekends. Ultimately, I moved into it and later marketed it to people. That was the beginning of our Airstream renovation business, during which we customized over 400 mobile projects. It would later inspire us to launch Living Vehicle.
MT: What separates Living Vehicle travel trailers from more conventional model lines?
Matthew Hofmann: First off, Living Vehicle is a low-volume travel trailer with production limited to 25 annually. We have lived in a wide range of small spaces, including a 30-foot boat on the Santa Barbara harbor. A commonality across many trailers is that they are for recreational purposes and not designed as primary residences like a home or an apartment. Recreational vehicles are ideal for weekend trips, weeklong vacations, and such. Since they are not for full-time living, you find yourself always compromising, making them inefficient.
Joanna Hofmann: Given the small number of Living Vehicle trailers, we can innovate quickly to introduce new features without waiting for the next model run. In addition to our experience, the feedback we receive from our customers helps us implement highly requested updates with a fast turnaround. Innovation is happening all the time.
Matthew Hofmann: This year, we will probably grow our trailer production by a handful. Low volume allows us to stay connected to our customer base, create value for owners, and understand the function of the units. We prefer to keep the demand instead of flooding the market.
MT: How does the first model you ever built stack up against the current flagship model in terms of energy?
Matthew Hofmann: In the beginning, we were designing a better-quality mousetrap. The first model came standard with 600 watts and a 2,000-watt inverter. While you could use it off-grid, its power system was nowhere near the size available in the Pro Series. Our top-of-the-line Pro EV offers 3,500 watts of solar energy and has a 20,000-watt inverter. You can go all-electric now and run every piece of electrical equipment inside the unit, including air conditioning, heating, refrigeration, dishwasher, central vac, etc.