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Open Roads Forum  >  General RVing Issues

 > Practicality of non-propane Camper

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DiploStrat

Arlington VA

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Posted: 05/06/22 08:00am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator


Is it possible to have an all-electric (or, at least, no propane) camper? Of course, been doing it since 2013. (OK, true confession, our outside grill is propane as you usually can't use charcoal west of the Mississippi due to fire bans.)

A serious answer.

Our first EV (expedition vehicle) had 500w of solar and 600Ah of lead acid battery. The worst camping weather we ever faced was five days of tropical storm rain at Overland EXPO East. To protect our batteries, we simply idled the engine for the 20-30 minutes we were cooking meals. We have only had to do this once since 2013.

Our current vehicle has 800Ah of lithium iron and 600w of solar. Of course, we also have a bigger, two door refrigerator.

Historic data: We budget 30 wall clock minutes of power per meal; 15 minutes of microwave and 15 minutes of induction cooktop. At a guesstimated consumption of 150A, this works out to about 75Ah for a dinner. With a two door refrigerator, fans/heat, lights, etc., we are usually down about 125 - 135Ah overnight.

Lithium iron allows a lot more power in less space/weight, but we did this for years with lead acid AGM.

We visit family in the northern part of the US and the temperatures drop to below 0F. This pretty much requires diesel or gasoline heat.

We can run the air conditioner over night, but this consumes on the order of 500Ah, and that is hard to recover without using shore power.




* This post was edited 05/08/22 09:16am by DiploStrat *


DiploStrat

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ford truck guy

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Posted: 05/06/22 09:25am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

sure - here - - - - -eStream

Although its only a concept, I like the idea


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Grit dog

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Posted: 05/06/22 10:06am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I’m kinda slow, and yes I understand both sides of the coin. But I just don’t understand some folks aversion to propane…


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DiploStrat

Arlington VA

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Posted: 05/06/22 10:14am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

ford truck guy wrote:

sure - here - - - - -eStream

Although its only a concept, I like the idea


My only point is that it is way more than a concept. There are lots of these beasts out there. The trick is that that most RV owners have never seen the kind of equipment needed to make it work.

Lwiddis

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Posted: 05/06/22 10:18am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The eStream concept is exciting.


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way2roll

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Posted: 05/06/22 10:23am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

DiploStrat wrote:

ford truck guy wrote:

sure - here - - - - -eStream

Although its only a concept, I like the idea


My only point is that it is way more than a concept. There are lots of these beasts out there. The trick is that that most RV owners have never seen the kind of equipment needed to make it work.


Or it's too expensive and cumbersome to make it worth it. If plugging in or a generator can produce the same result (ignoring the eco argument) for a fraction of the cost and a fraction of the effort, why bother?


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ktmrfs

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Posted: 05/06/22 10:58am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

a few weeks ago went for a almost week long trip, daytime temps in the 40's, nights in the 20's or below. Went through about 3 gallons of propane/day for the heat, hot water, and cooking. That' a LOT of BTU and KWhrs of electricity. 30K BTU/hr gas furnace replaced by electric w/o at least a 30A electric service would be hard to replace.

Now in nice weather camping, another story for electric only. We can go for several weeks in the summertime dry camping with just solar and minimal propane.

The energy density in BTU/volume or BTU/lb of propane is hard to match, but solar for moderate draws can virtually eliminate the need for a generator.


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DiploStrat

Arlington VA

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Posted: 05/06/22 11:27am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Two comments:

-- NEVER needed a generator. But my largest draw is the air conditioner and I can only do a short time before I would probably need shore power to replenish.

-- Would not consider electric heat. I use diesel. Diesel or gasoline are MUCH more energy dense than propane. (And using diesel or gasoline eliminates the need to carry multiple adapters for gas fittings in different countries.)

A number of new builds are using a heat exchanger for hot water. Water typically stays hot for two/three days after driving.

The systems on my truck are typical of expedition campers.

Two commercial examples are:

Aeon

Nimbl



way2roll

Wilmington NC

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Posted: 05/06/22 11:59am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

DiploStrat wrote:

Two comments:

-- NEVER needed a generator. But my largest draw is the air conditioner and I can only do a short time before I would probably need shore power to replenish.

-- Would not consider electric heat. I use diesel. Diesel or gasoline are MUCH more energy dense than propane. (And using diesel or gasoline eliminates the need to carry multiple adapters for gas fittings in different countries.)

A number of new builds are using a heat exchanger for hot water. Water typically stays hot for two/three days after driving.

The systems on my truck are typical of expedition campers.

Two commercial examples are:

Aeon

Nimbl



I appreciate the topic and certainly appreciate the concept of expedition campers. But they are very niche and very expensive and as a result difficult to label as practical. The MPG's can't be impressive nor would I guess are their road manners. But that's not the point of expedition camping - I get it. But for the other 99% of campers, they wouldn't be considered practical.

jkwilson

Indiana

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Posted: 05/06/22 12:03pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

DiploStrat wrote:

Two comments:

-- NEVER needed a generator. But my largest draw is the air conditioner and I can only do a short time before I would probably need shore power to replenish.

-- Would not consider electric heat. I use diesel. Diesel or gasoline are MUCH more energy dense than propane. (And using diesel or gasoline eliminates the need to carry multiple adapters for gas fittings in different countries.)

A number of new builds are using a heat exchanger for hot water. Water typically stays hot for two/three days after driving.

The systems on my truck are typical of expedition campers.

Two commercial examples are:

Aeon

Nimbl
T


Not completely disagreeing, but if you use diesel or gas for heat you aren’t all electric anymore than someone that uses propane, and if you need shore power to recover from overnight air conditioner use you might as well run a small generator.


John & Kathy
2014 Grand Design Reflection 303RLS
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