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Electric RV

Posted: March 3rd, 2020, 8:34 pm
by chin_k
Some of you probably heard my doubt about electric truck, but the Ford said on the news that they will make the Transit available in all electric version soon. In a way, I think it make sense, esp. for short range delivery in urban area. It also will affect how some people do the camper conversion. Personally, I do not like the Transit/Sprinter conversion, and that is why I got the chinook.

Anyway, I would like to know if Ford going to make the electric version available with dually, and if they will publish the expected range soon. It may work for a lot of people who can just go from power pole to power pole, and get it charged up at camp site, but I think the utility is limited for many RVers. Maybe if it has a propane generator that can be used to charge up the battery....

I still think my doubt about the marketability of electric tractor trailer for long haul purpose still stand, FWIW.

Re: Electric RV

Posted: March 3rd, 2020, 9:07 pm
by Manitou
electric is just a matter of time. If you can get free or affordable charging along the way, solar panels could be enough to support your stationary energy needs. There is some interesting stuff going on with electric catamarans (sail and power).

Re: Electric RV

Posted: March 5th, 2020, 10:40 am
by chin_k
If they can make a solar panel flexible and cheap enough to be used as awning, I will be extending it out every time when I am not moving. For sail boat, such flexible panel can be also used as the sail.

For most EV, however, it is the battery that is the bottleneck in electrification. If you make the battery light, cheap, and strong enough, all the other problem can be solved easily.

Re: Electric RV

Posted: March 5th, 2020, 11:04 am
by Scott
I'm with ya chin. Obviously an electric vehicle's greatest limitation is range, so road trips are not their strong suit. As you suggested, for short local trips all day (delivery fleet, airport shuttle), then electric power is ideally suited, and that's likely what Ford is thinking with the electric Transit. If it runs low during a shift, go back to the shop, hot-swap a fresh battery, and continue on. I hope they make that possible?

In a long-haul semi truck, it would be difficult to reconcile. An "unacceptable" percentage of it's max weight would be claimed by the batteries, reducing cargo and profitability. And unlike liquid fuel, batteries don't get lighter as they drain. It's not entirely about weight, but ... in a semi, it kind of is. Plus, where would you charge, who's going to pay for the power, and what's the cost associated with the idle time while charging. All of those can be solved, but not easily or cheaply.

In an RV, the major EV flaws to consider (other than limited range) are energy density, weight, space, and cost. For a rough perspective: 1 gallon of gasoline has more potential energy than the battery in a Nissan Leaf. And that battery is 100x the weight, and it's much, much larger than a gallon. No kidding. 6lbs versus 600. That's crazy to think about considering our Chinooks hold 37 gallons of fuel. Of course the leaf is outdated, and of course there are better "options" today. Relative efficiency is a huge factor, but even if it's less than 50%, that's still an immense difference in mass and space. HUGE. In an RV, those are very important considerations as we all know so well.

For commuting to work and back, or for a city delivery van, electric is the way to go. No question.

But the internal combustion engine isn't going away any time soon.

Flame suit on. :oops:

Re: Electric RV

Posted: March 5th, 2020, 1:32 pm
by SMan
I think electric RV's will eventually come to pass but I would guess large scale production and wide acceptance is 15-20 years down the road at which time my RVing days (and I) will be long past. ;)

Re: Electric RV

Posted: March 5th, 2020, 8:54 pm
by chin_k
No need for a flame suit here, since Elon's flame thrower is just a toy.

Anyway, EV tractor trailer will be good for local haul, from ship yard to warehouse 50 miles away, for example. No need for a cab for the truckers to sleep, and can be charged while waiting/loading at the port/rail yard/etc., while the drive pick up a ready-charged tractor for the next haul. The regenerative braking will be great way to get some of the potential energy back, and easier on the brake pad than Jake braking.

There maybe no need for a certified driver, since it can be greatly automated. A 16 years old maybe is good enough to drive a double-decker backing up to the warehouse loading ramp! Pay him/her $16 an hour instead of teamster's wage :( ... until someone figure a way to hack a team of trucks and run them into a foreign embassy or some target. You may think I have a grime outlook for our future, but I just want our Govt/academia/business to be more careful.

Gas/diesel are here to stay, until we figure out a way to do better with fuel cell. As Scott knew already, battery is just not the way to go with heavy duty application. The research we do in motor and everything else can still be applies to the fuel cell vehicle, but conventional battery technologies are just not good for railroad and long-distance heavy haul both with wheels or with wings. With the money the politicians spent on campaigns, we could have solved this hydrogen fuel cell challenge in a few years.

Re: Electric RV

Posted: March 30th, 2020, 3:00 am
by juanrossi
I spent about a year studying up on solar. After a lot of overthinking, calculations and trying to decide how big to go. I jumped in with just a simple 100W glass panel and PWM.

Re: Electric RV

Posted: June 26th, 2020, 3:56 pm
by chin_k
OK, so Ford come up with a hybrid F150 for their 2021 model year. There is just two interesting things about it, and one of them is the 7.2 kW "generator" available as upgrade for the hybrid trim. For comparison, the regular model can have a 2 kW upgrade, while the hybrid comes with a 2.4 kW version without upgrade. I put quote around generator because it is the engine running the motor-generator under the hood, not a separate generator like in my RVs.

If they come up with E350 hybrid with similar generator function, it will be interesting to know if we can put the Chinook on the new E350 hybrid if our engine dies. There will be no need for the Onan generator, no need for an inverter that some of us put in, and simplify some other items like conductive cooktop instead of propane, electric heat for water, etc.. It probably will be too heavy as a chassis for a RV, but maybe.... maybe it can be done.

Any comment?

Re: Electric RV

Posted: June 29th, 2020, 8:10 am
by 68camaro
The Overland Expo crowd will love an electric Transit. Like Chin, I looked at class B’s on the transit and sprinter chasis and feel for me the Councourse is so much better, and way cheaper.

If you travel where their is lots of sun light and enough solar and battery capacity, the electric chasis could be pretty cool. They say electric 4x4 systems have alot of advantages over current setups.

For boonedockers like me you spend days under thick canopy I can’t see electric working.

Re: Electric RV

Posted: June 29th, 2020, 8:56 am
by chin_k
The F150 is not an electric truck, but a hybrid, so you can always fire up the motor-generator and get everything charged. These only have a relatively small battery and you can't charge it up and use the electric power to run the truck. Some of the plug-in hybrid out there, like the Pacifica, you can get ~30 mile of range if you charge it up.

There are a few companies that is getting into electric hauler (Tesla, for example) and I am very skeptical about how popular they will be for long-haul application. The weight of the battery on those will definitely limits it capacity. I think fuel cell truck/RV will be more practical, but I am not aware of any one doing that due to infrastructure limitation. We are still in the 1900's in terms of how modern our infrastructure is.