The challenges of RVing an EV

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.
 

vandy1981

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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.
Agreed--it makes sense to take a genset as a backup when you're off the grid, although I'd guess *most* generators are going to emit more pollution per unit energy than your average passenger vehicle. If environmentally friendly overlanding is your use case, the powerboost drivetrain is probably a better bet.

When I hear about "range extenders" in this context, I'm thinking of a small engine that is capable of driving the vehicle's electric motor on its own when the battery is depleted, or about an engine that can add significant range to the vehicle while in motion. This would be cost and payload prohibitive on a vehicle that's likely to have terrible efficiency at highway speeds. My I-Pace does 400-450 Wh/mile at 80 mph, so I would be pleasantly surprised if the F150 does better than 600-700 Wh/mile given its weight and aerodynamic limitations.
 

sotek2345

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Agreed--it makes sense to take a genset as a backup when you're off the grid, although I'd guess *most* generators are going to emit more pollution per unit energy than your average passenger vehicle. If environmentally friendly overlanding is your use case, the powerboost drivetrain is probably a better bet.

When I hear about "range extenders" in this context, I'm thinking of a small engine that is capable of driving the vehicle's electric motor on its own when the battery is depleted, or about an engine that can add significant range to the vehicle while in motion. This would be cost and payload prohibitive on a vehicle that's likely to have terrible efficiency at highway speeds. My I-Pace does 400-450 Wh/mile at 80 mph, so I would be pleasantly surprised if the F150 does better than 600-700 Wh/mile given its weight and aerodynamic limitations.
Most estimates I have seen for the F150L have been ~500 Wh/mile, though no one really knows for sure. We can get a much better idea once we get battery sizes.
 

vandy1981

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Most estimates I have seen for the F150L have been ~500 Wh/mile, though no one really knows for sure. We can get a much better idea once we get battery sizes.
I would really like to know where the real-world ranges end up. I'm hoping that TFL, Out of Spec or Alex on Autos get an opportunity to test the truck before orders open up. They tend to do the best range testing, with or without trailers. Bjorn Nyland is the YouTube gold standard, but I don't think the F150L is going to Norway anytime soon.
 

shikataganai

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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?
I'll probably go with their 70 or 75 plan. Haven't done it yet: Land Cruiser is too old to be listed and the minivan is the one we use daily.

https://turo.com/us/en/insurance
 

Blainestang

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I would really like to know where the real-world ranges end up. I'm hoping that TFL, Out of Spec or Alex on Autos get an opportunity to test the truck before orders open up. They tend to do the best range testing, with or without trailers. Bjorn Nyland is the YouTube gold standard, but I don't think the F150L is going to Norway anytime soon.
Definitely hoping Kyle at Out of Spec gets one. He's most likely to really push it and avoid clickbait and bias, IMO.
 

EaglesPDX

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Rates here are around $0.07/kWh on the fixed price plans.
The base rate can be a bit deceptive. OR has one of the lowest base rates but my net with taxes and all kinds of adders is $0.27 kWh on the solar powered house. At the apt on Chargepoint it is $0.15kWh.

Easiest is take your total bill and divide it by your total kWh for the month.

My savings is about $1k per year vs the 32mpg Subaru at current prices, about $3.50.
 

Smokewagun

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I’m logging miles driven every day. I have yet to exceed 200 miles on any given day. That tells me I could easily adapt to the Lightning. My biggest fear is running out of battery juice. In winter, mileage goes down… substantially. Towing, well way down. We’ve already discussed camping within 100-150 miles of home for the next few years, and then if I can’t get used to the Lightning for towing, continue use of the Lightning for daily driving and find a used gasser Super Duty to use for towing or when charging just is not an option. The Lightning looks to save me over $325 a month in fuel costs alone. That’s not chicken feed.
 

wingfiry

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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.
From what I understand, using the 1 pedal driving, regenerative breaking on the downhill will help immensly with recovering some of the lost range from the uphill part.
 

vandy1981

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From what I understand, using the 1 pedal driving, regenerative breaking on the downhill will help immensly with recovering some of the lost range from the uphill part.
You will probably only get 25-30% improvement in efficiency going downhlll per this guy's argument: . I've been able to find a few uphill towing tests with Teslas, but none showing downhill efficency so this all remains theoretical. I think we're going to be underwhelmed with the amount of regen you get when towing downhill due to rolling resistance, aero drag, and loss of energy on the trailer brakes (depending how the controller is tuned).

We haven't seen any dedicated towing vehicles in the USA yet, so it will be interesting to see what real-world numbers look like on a truck/SUV.

We'll get our first data from the R1T this summer and the Hummer this fall.
 
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shikataganai

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This would make an amazing RV once fully depreciated and sold by the transit fleets buying them now.

45' tag axle coach with a low center section for accessibility. 389 kWh for 170 miles range or 544 kWh (!!) for 230 miles range. 150 kW DC fast charging.

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Maggioa

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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 currently have a Platinum on order since January and considered cancelling and purchasing the lightening, but hate to start at the bottom of the list again. I do a lot of boondock camping with my trailer, and that worries me being out in the middle of nowhere with a low charge. Is there an option for a solar panel?
 

Blainestang

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I currently have a Platinum on order since January and considered cancelling and purchasing the lightening, but hate to start at the bottom of the list again. I do a lot of boondock camping with my trailer, and that worries me being out in the middle of nowhere with a low charge. Is there an option for a solar panel?
I would like to do boondocking with it, as well.

There's no Ford solar panel option as of now, but I'm sure there will be companies offering them. I recently saw someone post on the Reddit group (r/F150Lightning) about Terravis from Worksport.

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That being said, I think for serious boondocking and recharging purposes, you're going to want substantially more panels than that. I'm thinking like triple that many and they're stacked on top of the bed cover when traveling and then you set them up once you're at your destination.

The Lightning bed is going to be about the size of a normal solar panel 5.5ft x 3.25ft... and maybe 360W. So, lets stack 3 of those for travel and set them up when you get there and you've got ~1 kW of panels and about 4 square meters of area.

In Florida, on my best days, I get about 6 kWh of energy for each 1 kW of panels. So, I would expect to get 4-6 kWh of energy per sunny day from 3 panels on the truck... which is going to be about 4-6 miles of range added back per sunny day because a *towing* F-150 is probably going to travel about 1 mile/kWh. Double that if it's not towing.

So, not that great. And I imagine the solution above will get less... like 1-2 miles/day. So, it's going to be a niche solution. Only people who really need the extra range will bother with it. For most cases, people will just plan to charge elsewhere.
 

George Bartlett

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For what it’s worth:
I contacted Pilot/Flying J via their website “contact us” email. I said that there were many RVers who have placed deposits for the F150-Lightning.
I asked if they would have FCDC sites that would accommodate a truck and trailer.

I was told my request would be passed on because they want to “enhance” their guests’ experiences. I was given the following email contact if I wanted to provide other suggestions: [email protected].
It might help if she heard from other future F150-Lightning owners/RVers.
 
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