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First All-Electric Motorhome Introduced at Louisville RV Show

December 18, 2010 by Bob Difley · 26 Comments  
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By Bob Difley

electricrv14.jpg

The first all electric motorhome, a creation by MVP RV of Riverside, California, cruised the highways for 180 miles at between 65 and 70 mph, and set the standard for those who follow. That’s a considerable increase in mileage between charges from the first mass market electric cars. Even so, there are at present few charging stations on the nation’s highways which are needed to move electric RVs between campgrounds, so it may be some time before you can walk into a dealer lot and buy an electric motorhome.

The all electric motorhome was introduced at the National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Kentucky, as an example of what the RV industry is capable of producing. However, as Brad Williams, president and CEO of MVP RV, stated in an interview with the Press-Enterprise, the invention comes first, then the infrastructure, citing examples of cars invented before highways and the telephone before phone lines. Already at work on the second all-electric RV, Williams said it will kikely have an even better range. What is exciting about the electric motorhome is that it proves the technology is there and it works.

Improvements will come as time and technology marches forward. Currently, it takes 24 hours for the electric RV to charge on a 220-volt plug in, though it could be charged in 20 minutes with the right equipment. The motorhome is named “Winston” after Winston Chung, MVP RV’s Chinese investor and business partner, who developed the unique lithium ion battery used for the RV.

Winston owns Winston Battery Ltd. and bought the first vehicle which is currently in China where it was introduced in November.

But don’t get out your check book just yet, as there are no plans to produce the electric motorhome for consumer use until the infrastructure–mainly charging stations–catches up. Charging stations are essential since the vehicles hqve no onboard generator or propane system, though otherwise are the same as other high-end motorhomes of similar size–with a price to match, estimated to be between $750,000 and $1 million when it finally lands in a showroom.

And since RVers like to get outside and are mostly environmentally conscious and conservative with their use of natural resources, if the infrastructure follows, and improvements bring the electric motorhome closer to mainstream operational practices, the day of the electric motorhome could be just around the corner–though probably the couple-of-decades corner.

Check out my website for more RVing tips and destinations and my ebooks, BOONDOCKING: Finding the Perfect Campsite on America’s Public LandsSnowbird Guide to Boondocking in the Southwestern Deserts, and 111 Ways to Get the Biggest Bang out of your RV Lifestyle Dollar.

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26 Responses to “First All-Electric Motorhome Introduced at Louisville RV Show”

  1. robert hogue on December 19th, 2010 5:42 pm

    Bob

    How about doing a piece or several on your experiences at the Louisville RV show. Would like to hear your thoughts and opinions of whats new for 2011.

    Robert

  2. John Ahrens on December 19th, 2010 5:49 pm

    This is interesting. Seems that with the electric motorhome, you’d do a few things: 1. Use the 50 amp campground plug to charge the batteries. (Campgrounds would hate that, I’m sure). 2. Solar panels. You’re not going to charge the full system in any reasonable time with solar, but you’d get some, and if you’re sitting for a week or two, you’d reduce the load on the campground electrical system. 3. Backup generator. This would only help to handle long term charging.

    Many of us only want to travel 200-250 miles per day, so 180 miles is close to being good enough for us. Traveling every other day would work. The available torque in an all-electric vehicle would be amazing as well.

    All in all, it’s interesting, at least from an engineering standpoint. Don’t know if I’d buy one, the only electric car that’s at all interesting is the Tesla, and it’s out of my price range. Besides, I prefer the off-road vehicles to sports cars.

  3. Wilkie Cheek on December 19th, 2010 5:51 pm

    Cost?—-3 million massed produced , Battery cost at 6 yrs. ? 6000.00 . Al Gore will be so proud. Who wants to ride 180 miles and have to wait 24 hrs. to charge a battery. What croc.

  4. Jim Spellman on December 19th, 2010 6:02 pm

    The correct link to the Press-Enterprise story can be found here:
    http://www.pe.com/business/local/stories/PE_Biz_D_electricrv14.3363473.html

  5. Art Steebs on December 19th, 2010 6:11 pm

    A croc? That’s what blacksmiths said about the first autos. What this is, is a start. All ideas take development and refinement. In autos now the new ideas is to replace the batteries, which can take seconds, and you are on your way again. Of course we can keep things the way they are and send massive amounts of our wealth overseas for oil, now there’s the croc.

  6. Bob Reising on December 19th, 2010 6:35 pm

    The Chinese are buying up all petroleum reserves as fast as they can. All we have left is electric power vehicles to enable us a reasonable future. Still be able to RV? That would be great. Now that’s a croc!

  7. Francis on December 19th, 2010 6:43 pm

    @Art Steebs Right you are, Art. Plus, most of us will be off this rock by the time we run out of filthy polluting fossil fuels of all types and hopefully even before those fuels start costing well beyond what any but the wealthy can afford. Shoot, let the generations to come figure out how to deal with that. It’s just *way* too comfy sticking with the status quo and doing nothing but resting our pointy little heads in this delightfully simple sand.

    Why head down an expensive and possibly tortuous path (even though that might just save our children and theirs from fossil fuel wars and extraordinary hardship) when we can gas up and go with vacant little grins on our faces knowing we’re getting the last of the good cheap stuff? Technology shmechnology – let’s all blow it out our tailpipes!

    Sandy Luddite

  8. hoppe on December 19th, 2010 7:05 pm

    So uh. Why’d they leave the genny at home? Do you suppose with a 10kw running directly into the power stream, you could extend that range by, oh, say Half maybe?

    Those big damn mining dumps don’t even have batteries, and they run 24/7. I suppose that a mute point since they durn diesel.
    jm.02

  9. Barry N. Schmidt on December 19th, 2010 7:12 pm

    I haven’t yet seen a study of the long-term effects on our fossil fuel supply attributable to some yet-to-be-determined total electricity requirement that will be foisted upon the existing grid. Do people really think that electrically-driven vehicles can ultimately be powered only by the existing coal and oil electricity generating plant structure? An ever-growing existing green-think that eschews atomic energy points to the demise of electrically-driven vehicles even before they get off the ground….unless batteries can be developed to a much higher efficiency level than that which is “enjoyed” today.

    We may ooh and aah over electric vehicles now, but only if they feature gas engines for auxiliary power, such as that seen in the Toyota Prius. Unless atomic energy plants are allowed to be developed in such profusion as those found in France (some 75% of French electricity is from atomic energy plants), the idea of all-electric vehicles that will operate for long distances is wishful thinking because the ultimate cost to supply coal and oil electricity will become prohibitive to those who own electric vehicles.

  10. hoppe on December 19th, 2010 7:32 pm

    Has everyone forgotten EVERYTHING they ever knew. Oil and Gas for elec generation? Did we not build dams to do ALL of that 100 years ago, well maybe a bit less. Nuclear for elec? I know it’s just not technologically possible.

    Do all you nay sayers, wear rags on your heads? How many of you even have Oil and or gas stocks in your portfolio? More likely, no Clue, and no inclination to purchase one!

    Little more positive note. On board gen set, COVER the roof with the solar film strips. Lets go boondocking. Shucks we’re out of sparks. Run the genny for an hour or so. Limp to a boondocking site. Let it set for a week or so to charge. Is that at all a foreign concept? There are a certain amount of folks that boondock on a regular basis in the desert, anyway. Yeah so maybe until things develop a bit you don’t get twin Roof Air. Course this winter/fall there’s not been a great need for AC anywhere down south much.

    For all you DAs who think this is a political problem.

    IS IT DARK IN THERE?
    PULL YOUR HEADS OUT. jm.03

  11. hoppe on December 19th, 2010 7:51 pm

    Barry S
    Did you see the Documentary on Enron? Part of their scam was to make people believe that the supply was insufficient in Ca., after they sold off as much as they could out of state and Still had to talk plant operators into early unnecessary maintenance shut-downs. Seems that there was generation/grid capability of 300% of need. But Enron was wanting to drive up prices. Welcome to UNFETTERED CAPITALISM. Where’s Enron now? Some oversight MIGHT be a good thing. Unless of course you are part of the 2% rich bitches.

    We might even consider fixing our hydro elec dams instead of playing the dam buster card. There’s NO Way we’ll need that water this fall?

    Nucs, probably so, we’ve got some on line now. The one in Erie Co, on the Platte River was only allowed to run a full capacity for 24 hours. NO PROBLEMS found, except that it’s nuclear waste was not useable to make bombs with. So they dismantled it and it now burns Coal. Might want to rethink that decision. It was kept classified as EXperimental status until being converted. Thank you Pentagon!

  12. Wilkie Cheek on December 19th, 2010 8:49 pm

    I know,pull one of those monster wind turbines behind your electric motorcoach that should do it. Just is not going to work. Stand back and see how many of those Electric VOLTS Goverment Motors sales. If we can build a nuclear reactor the size of a car that will power a sub for years with no refuel ,we should be able to build a nuclear reactor the size of a football that would power an automobile for years with no refuel.

  13. Tom on December 20th, 2010 2:52 am

    The amount of energy required to move a large portion of the vehicles down the road today is not available on the grid – even if you were able to pull power from all over the world.

    The electric vehicle will continue to be an interesting oddity with utility only for those able to limit their travel. For some full-timers, this might be possible. But, if your on a limited timeline, must endure limited travel windows, or does not wish to be restricted in their travel freedom, then a product that cannot provide the capabilities consumers are accustomed to will not be viewed favorably.

    What is needed is a viable, economic substitute for the high energy density available in fossil fuel products. Until then, supply and demand SHOULD be the order of the day.

    Keep on with the research. Play with the new products. But, leave the markets alone and let people buy what they want, when they want.

    tom

  14. G Shea on December 20th, 2010 4:38 am

    Plenty of power on today’s grid for electric cars, we simply use a bit less for other uses like water heating and electric furnaces. CNG in Large motorhomes is totaly viable as well as in small cars, 70 mpg and 1.00 per gallon cost. If we used BOTH electric and CNG the good ol USA could bring OPEC to it’s knees. Will our so called green administration make it happen? I doubt it since a crook is a crook, and all they seem to want is Cap n Tax, and other useless programs. I hope I am wrong. G. Shea

  15. Brian E. on December 20th, 2010 8:07 am

    would be interesting if they could find a way to use the on board generator to power the electric motor, the fuel usage/mile per gallon would have to be better than a motor alone/in place of it.

    if it can be done for mass transit buses moving the idea over to a Class A would need just a little adjustment, and in doing so be able to increase ones range between plug-ins or may not be need to plug in at all.

    just a thought.

  16. Geoffrey Pruett on December 20th, 2010 10:27 am

    John Ahrens comment is more to the point than it seems. Solar panels would do a fine job of keeping the cabin batteries up and when hooked up could assist with charging the vehicle batteries. Solar panels keep getting more effective the longer they are being made, that means dollar per output watt. The effective cost is still in NASA territory so only the government can justify it. The hidden cost does not always favor electric vehicles as except for the North West and parts of Canada the recharge power is coming from burned fossil fuels. The only non fossil power at present is Hydro, Wind, & Nuke. Being that top down change in our energy sources depends on Congress my bet is boilers powered by lawn clippings before actual change takes place.

  17. Reid on January 3rd, 2011 8:08 pm
  18. Cyrus on January 4th, 2011 9:37 pm

    Has anyone heard of an electric conversion kit for RVs? I would really like to convert my RV to this system. Diesel is way too expensive; I am sure I would use the RV more if I could convert it to electric and reduce my dependence on expensive fossil fuel. Thanks! Cyrus

  19. Glamis Camping on January 11th, 2011 7:23 pm

    Yikes, that’s seems pretty steep, especially for the majority of the RV loving folks. But then again, I guess, it’s a pretty solid step forward to a greener future. Now all we have to wait for, is that these mode of transportation becomes normal, so that it can be feasible for everyone to purchase.

  20. KJ on January 19th, 2011 6:13 am

    I’m going to begin fulltiming ten years from now, and this is exactly what I’m looking for. I hope the market turns more quickly than the author expects. Maybe less expensive custom models would be available.

  21. KJ on January 19th, 2011 7:15 am

    Maybe manufacturers could incorporate electric as a custom powerpack solution to existing lines of products.

    I agree that in the absence of prevalent charging stations, a separate generation system makes the design complete. The system would be very efficient with most of the generation being captured/stored. Most of my usage won’t take me over 200 miles, at which point I’ll hook up. If distances increase, I could self charge with full-load generation, possibly while driving.

    Modular design would take into account new battery technology and retrofit, such as quick-charge hardware. Seems like a no-brainer. The engineering is not rocket science.

    As an added bonus, the generation is available for emergencies/outages/boondocking.

  22. Dave Rongey on February 4th, 2011 7:09 pm

    Yes – electric vehicles of larger sizes and further distances are fast approaching. The one thing that needs to be incorporated into the design is where the vehicle recharges as it is being driven. With the movement of the vehicle and natural occurring airflow how simple it would be to install an airflow turbine using the flywheel technology which would provide power for a generator. What I do not see in the article is what the required power source would need to be in order to recharge the batteries in 20 minutes. I would encourage everyone to stop thinking inside the conventional box, and explore and embrace new technologies. There is however one gentleman who has long past, but had a brilliant mind, and that was Nicola Tesla. If it wasn’t for the greed of others, we would all have free electricity.

  23. Cecelia on July 6th, 2011 4:11 am

    Why no mention of solar panels on this thing? I would there would be enough room on top of a big rig for enough solar to recharge most, if not all appliances inside. The are also innovative Savonius type wind turbines than can be installed that would charge batteries as one goes down the freeway with all that free wind drag flowing over the coach. I would think one would still want propane for cooking and heating however. Those two functions can take an awful lot of energy.

  24. Charlie Brown on October 2nd, 2011 2:24 am

    All I know is….I could do allot of Gold Prospecting in a Motorhome
    that runs without fuel and can reccharge it’’s own batteries with an
    array of light weight solar panels. Gold is not found in a motel room
    , but build a small humble motel room on wheels that you can take
    with you….and you might have something.

    The idea has my undivided attention.

    .

  25. james braselton on October 7th, 2012 3:30 pm

    hi there million dollers too much $1,000,000 110% taxes soo that leaves milllanaires -$100,000 thats negative income 100% unapoyment

  26. WAEE on July 11th, 2013 12:21 pm

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