The challenges of RVing an EV

CBGray

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You're right that there's huge variation among use cases. Some will just be going 50 miles round trip all the time. Some want to drive across the country. Everyone has to look at their specific use case, like you said.

The problem is that it's not going to go 300 miles when towing. Maybe 100 miles. Maybe 150 miles. We don't know, so it's hard to accurately "pre-think" how it's going to work for a specific use case.

There are some use cases that we know will be fine (<100 miles round trip towing).

There are some use cases that we know will be difficult (cross country, driving >100 miles into charging "wilderness").

There's a LOT of gray area in between that's hard to model at this point.

Also, for what it's worth, it's not going to cost $15 per charge on the road... at least not at fast chargers. You're going to pay ~$0.30/kWh and more like ~$40/charge if it's at a fast charger.
I think this comment is spot on. I don't need a lot of range beyond 150ish miles when towing the boat, but the problem for me is that in almost any direction I go, I have mountain passes to contend with when getting there. Sometimes its mountain passes and 10 mile long grades at 4%. Now that range really becomes critical. I looked the other day, and on one of the main mountain pass routes, there are charging stations on each side, but they're only rated at 50kW speed. That's a tougher sell. I may only be in my trip for 80 miles (after going over the pass) and I need to stop to charge, and it's the lowest end common denominator charger available. But, it's still exciting technology. I'm hoping I'll be in the sooner rather than later camp.

What I think would be really cool is if the Lightening finds it's way on to some car rental lots. I could totally see renting one for a 3-day weekend and taking the boat to one of our fishing spots and just see what it would be like. A learning experience, I'm sure. I think I'd have to "try before I buy" on this first generation. I can't see myself investing in the first generation without knowing how it will perform in the areas that I need for family fun travel. I already know it will rock for commuting and all the other areas, but the recreation aspect is going to be a question mark until we see real world experiences and not paper estimations.
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Sdctcher

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All good thoughts.

But in my case the trade off is heavily skewed to me 98% of the time (local driving).

Surely FMC will do some additional testing through RV journalists prior to our order time to give real life estimates if they really want to have RV buyers. Right now there are only two prototype Lightnings in existence so not a lot of hardware to go around to test. Also the onboard computer will allow us to estimate range before starting out given standard road conditions and load. I am sure the RV buyer of the smaller battery pack will be in the minority. As I said I am willing to live within even a 100 mile range per day; my wife says there should be no hurry to a real retiree vacation. If I cannot live with these limitations I will have to RV as I do now with the old truck but save money 98% of the time with the Lightning.

On the On-The-Road charging cost my mistake where I read somewhere that the Tesla charge was $16.00 for the high capacity kiosks and I figured a Lightning capable charge should be competitive. In real life I think those chargers are fantasy because my 60 feet of truck trailer will not fit or if it does we will tie up a location causing a line-up.
 

BennyTheBeaver

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Charging networks and costs of electricity by state vary, I posted this article in another thread but it is relevant here. LINK
 

EaglesPDX

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Even ICE RVs have trouble finding long enough fueling stations and the fast charging stations that we have now just are not designed for long RVs.
Most truck stops have 50A service plugs for 40' tractor trailers so they can plug in vs. running engine.

At Jubitz, a big one on the OR/WA border, they have bank of maybe 30 of these plugs. I asked about using them for my Tesla but reservered for the big rigs which are bigger than most pickup/trailer rigs.
 

shikataganai

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What I think would be really cool is if the Lightening finds it's way on to some car rental lots. I could totally see renting one for a 3-day weekend and taking the boat to one of our fishing spots and just see what it would be like. A learning experience, I'm sure. I think I'd have to "try before I buy" on this first generation.
For now I'm planning on keeping my Land Cruiser and listing the Lightning on Turo for at least a month. If the Lightning rents consistently (with me using the Land Cruiser in its stead) then I'd do this indefinitely as a low-effort money-making venture.

I'm sure people will be doing similar things in your neck of the woods assuming you're near one of the Puget Sound metro area big cities.
 

Merccat

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Now with the Lightning being charged at home at $0.10 per kWH my cost will be about a 1/10 of that and an estimated $15 per charge
Our rates vary between $0.25 to $0.50 per kwh (TOU) with rates scheduled for a 25% increase in the next few years… and I be charging at night with the higher rate. I’ll have to think about that, gas might actually be cheaper for me.
 

Sapphire

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Our rates vary between $0.25 to $0.50 per kwh (TOU) with rates scheduled for a 25% increase in the next few years… and I be charging at night with the higher rate. I’ll have to think about that, gas might actually be cheaper for me.
Wow, that’s pricey. Rates here are around $0.07/kWh on the fixed price plans. The real-time pricing plans are $0-0.03 overnight typically (it’s at $0.02/kWh for the current hour as I write this).
 

Merccat

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Wow, that’s pricey. Rates here are around $0.07/kWh on the fixed price plans. The real-time pricing plans are $0-0.03 overnight typically (it’s at $0.02/kWh for the current hour as I write this).
wow I wish! So not quite as bad as I thought… it drops to 0.27 after 9pm so I am sure it could be programmed to charge then.

On topic, I don’t think it will be a challenge finding chargers in range of towing an RV for much longer as I am seeing new charging stations pop up daily here. I would have some concerns on those long streches where it seems like you don’t even see a gas station for hours.
 
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astricklin

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Also, for what it's worth, it's not going to cost $15 per charge on the road... at least not at fast chargers. You're going to pay ~$0.30/kWh and more like ~$40/charge if it's at a fast charger.
Getting 8-9mpg will cost you $40-50(maybe more these days) to go 200 miles. Fast charging on the road is typically more expensive than gas, but when you're getting less than 10mpg it evens out. Dc fast charging will be a very occasional thing for most people.
 

astricklin

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You obviously wouldn’t drive around town with a generator in back but for the occasional camping trip, why not?
Ford has patented an in bed 'range extender' aka generator. It will be interesting to see if they actually bring it to market and if you could possibly rent one for a weekend from the local ford dealer.

As far as putting a standard generator in the bed. From what I have seen on YouTube, people have a very hard time getting an ev to actually charge from an inverter generator like you would use for camping.
 

sotek2345

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For now I'm planning on keeping my Land Cruiser and listing the Lightning on Turo for at least a month. If the Lightning rents consistently (with me using the Land Cruiser in its stead) then I'd do this indefinitely as a low-effort money-making venture.

I'm sure people will be doing similar things in your neck of the woods assuming you're near one of the Puget Sound metro area big cities.
How do you handle the insurance side. I have looked into Turo to see if I could make any extra $$ on the side from my Shelby, but my insurance won't cover it. I could try to get commercial coverage, but that just seems like too much of a pain for what you get.

Do you own/operate a business you do the Turo rentals out of?
 

vandy1981

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Ford has patented an in bed 'range extender' aka generator. It will be interesting to see if they actually bring it to market and if you could possibly rent one for a weekend from the local ford dealer.

As far as putting a standard generator in the bed. From what I have seen on YouTube, people have a very hard time getting an ev to actually charge from an inverter generator like you would use for camping.
I thought this range extender patent was cool until I started to do the math.

Even if Ford would find a way to enable Lvl2 charging while in motion, I don't think it will be feasible (OEM or otherwise) to use a portable generator as a range extender for such an inefficient vehicle. There have only been 4 vehicles that have used range extenders (ELR, Volt, i3 and Karma) and all of them were compact cars. Only one of them is still on the market (i3) which says a lot about the economics of series hybrids in general.

A 32-amp EVSE will add 10-15 miles of range per hour at best. The most analogous setup to the Ford patent is a bed-mounted home standby generator capable of powering the 80 amp EVSE. Even, then you'd have to deal with >500 pounds and >$5000 worth of generator and would probably only get 40 miles of extra range per hour. For that payload and price penalty, ford would better off making a bigger built-in battery pack or offering an external battery pack.

That said, I will probably travel with a portable generator as a safety blanket on longer trips with the RV.
 
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sotek2345

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I thought this range extender patent was cool until I started to do the math.

Even if Ford would find a way to enable Lvl2 charging while in motion, I don't think it will be feasible (OEM or otherwise) to use a portable generator as a range extender for such an inefficient vehicle. There have only been 4 vehicles that have used range extenders (ELR, Volt, i3 and Karma) and all of them were compact cars. Only one of them is still on the market (i3) which says a lot about the economics of series hybrids in general.

A 32-amp EVSE will add 10-15 miles of range per hour at best. The most analogous setup to the Ford patent is a bed-mounted home standby generator capable of powering the 80 amp EVSE. Even, then you'd have to deal with >500 pounds and >$5000 worth of generator and would probably only get 40 miles of extra range per hour. For that payload and price penalty, ford would better off making a bigger built-in battery pack or offering an external battery pack.

That said, I will probably travel with a portable generator as a safety blanket on longer trips with the RV.
I think the range extender is much more useful for overlanding (or similar). Charge overnight with transported fuel, not charging as you go. The form factor is the most important thing, making it easy to mount on the truck.

Or maybe I am completely wrong.
 
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