The challenges of RVing an EV

PWRGEN

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With the towing capacity of up to 10,000 lbs., it's easy to imagine hooking up a big travel trailer and taking off cross country in a F150 Lightning. The biggest problem with RVing an EV today is that the world is not designed to cater to RV EVs. 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.

Fueling stations that cater to longer vehicles, such as Flying J and Loves, have been developing fueling station designs for decades. To these companies gas and diesel are still king. It might be another decade before these big fueling stations start designing stations around large EV charging.

If we want to hook a big travel trailer up to our F150 Lightning how do we charge it on a long cross country trip? One option I see is to disconnect the trailer in a big parking lot such as a Walmart that has an Electrify America station. This might actually be a preferred option since the family can enjoy the travel trailer while the truck charges.

Another option is to park and charge over night at RV parks. We would probably be staying overnight in an RV park anyway so we might as well charge up while sleeping. Unfortunately with the F150 Lightning you will only be able to get about a half a charge overnight using the standard NEMA 14-50 RV outlet but maybe that would be enough to get to the closest fast charger.

Just like with any EV travel it will pay to plan ahead and to be patient. There is lots of good advice on fueling an RV on the internet and I think a lot of this information will be useful in charging up a long RV EV. Some of us will want to wait until the world catches up to RV EVs but by then the early adopters will have EV RVing all figured out.

So what are your thoughts? Are you ready to hook up a travel trailer to your F150 Lightning and head off into the sunset? Have you thought about how you would keep an F150 Lightning pulling a big travel trailer charged on long trips?
I too would love to have a BEV (Battery Electric Vehicle) but have the same worry of finding enough level 3 charging stations along my routes to keep the trip time reasonable. Tesla is the only manufacture with enough available fast charging stations to keep long distance interstate travel times within reason. Unfortunately Tesla stations are dedicated to Tesla only vehicles at the moment and Ford and others are relying on a patchwork of various charging station suppliers. The networks are not built out enough to make me feel comfortable going to places we normally travel to like Florida, The Carolina's and Arkansas. Many of these trips take 6- 12 hours normal gas driving and times would double if had to rely on current charging networks available to Ford.

If your just driving around town and to places with less than 300 miles which is the typical full charge max currently available with Ford or General motors products than your Garage Level Two charger will do the job to charge you to full overnight.

We recently were thinking of getting the Mustang Mach-E and were given one for 6 days to drive. Using the software on the car to map a route from Cincinnati to Jonesboro, Arkansas, due to a lack of level 3 chargers and only some level 2 chargers along route it would double our normal 8 hour time to 17 hours. So as much as we would love to have a new F150 lightening or a mache -E it still is not practical for us that like to travel beyond our city. So I opted for the 21 F-150 XLT Power boost Hybrid with the 7.2kw Gen. for our camping and towing trips. It can tow 12,400 max with the 4x4 off road package and larger frame of the Max towing package.

It could be at least three to four more years before the networks are sufficiently built out and not too crowded as EV sales grow. This is why we chose the Hybrid and why we decided to wait on the Mach-E and instead get a 2021 Toyota RAV AWD Prime, which is a PHEV (Plug In Hybrid Electric) It goes 42 miles on electric before gas engine kicks in and qualifies for the $7,500 Federal Credit, same as the Mache-E.

Hope this helps with your decision making
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vandy1981

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We recently were thinking of getting the Mustang Mach-E and were given one for 6 days to drive. Using the software on the car to map a route from Cincinnati to Jonesboro, Arkansas, due to a lack of level 3 chargers and only some level 2 chargers along route it would double our normal 8 hour time to 17 hours.
This is reflective of Ford's routing software, not of the state of the charging infrastructure in that part of the country.

There's no way that a properly planned route between those two cities would add 9 hours of charging in a MME or F-150L. My I-Pace would make that trip with 2.5 hours of charging per "A Better Route Planner" and it's less efficient and slower charging than the MME.

Manufacturers are shooting themselves in the foot when they release terrible routing software because of issues like this.

An F-150L towing a trailer is a whole other story and it sounds like the Powerboost is a better solution for you and most other RVers. I'm still hoping it will be an option for us because we tend to take <200 mile trips with our 22-foot MicroMinnie and there are chargers spaced no farther than 90-100 miles where we live.
 

BennyTheBeaver

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It sounds like Ford has recognized this gap in adequate software and is working on their software as shown by their claim of dynamic range adjustments based on payload, towing, weather, and terrain.

Or I may just be hopeful...
 

vandy1981

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It sounds like Ford has recognized this gap in adequate software and is working on their software as shown by their claim of dynamic range adjustments based on payload, towing, weather, and terrain.

Or I may just be hopeful...
I'm sure it will get better with subsequent iterations. It's already more sophisticated than the Tesla with range estimation--they could potentially have the best software out there if they can figure out how to efficiently plan charging stops.
 

TRP

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I too would love to have a BEV (Battery Electric Vehicle) but have the same worry of finding enough level 3 charging stations along my routes to keep the trip time reasonable. Tesla is the only manufacture with enough available fast charging stations to keep long distance interstate travel times within reason. Unfortunately Tesla stations are dedicated to Tesla only vehicles at the moment and Ford and others are relying on a patchwork of various charging station suppliers. The networks are not built out enough to make me feel comfortable going to places we normally travel to like Florida, The Carolina's and Arkansas. Many of these trips take 6- 12 hours normal gas driving and times would double if had to rely on current charging networks available to Ford.

If your just driving around town and to places with less than 300 miles which is the typical full charge max currently available with Ford or General motors products than your Garage Level Two charger will do the job to charge you to full overnight.

We recently were thinking of getting the Mustang Mach-E and were given one for 6 days to drive. Using the software on the car to map a route from Cincinnati to Jonesboro, Arkansas, due to a lack of level 3 chargers and only some level 2 chargers along route it would double our normal 8 hour time to 17 hours. So as much as we would love to have a new F150 lightening or a mache -E it still is not practical for us that like to travel beyond our city. So I opted for the 21 F-150 XLT Power boost Hybrid with the 7.2kw Gen. for our camping and towing trips. It can tow 12,400 max with the 4x4 off road package and larger frame of the Max towing package.

It could be at least three to four more years before the networks are sufficiently built out and not too crowded as EV sales grow. This is why we chose the Hybrid and why we decided to wait on the Mach-E and instead get a 2021 Toyota RAV AWD Prime, which is a PHEV (Plug In Hybrid Electric) It goes 42 miles on electric before gas engine kicks in and qualifies for the $7,500 Federal Credit, same as the Mache-E.

Hope this helps with your decision making
To your point about charging locations while traveling.

I JUST purchased a Mach E from a dealer in Dubuque Iowa this past weekend. I live in Oneida TN. Left the dealer in Iowa and added my home address as destination. Was then routed to a EA DCFS in Bloomington Illinois, from there drove to Champaign Illinois and spent the night with family. Entered home address in the morning and was routed to Indianapolis to another EA DCFS, from there it routed me down to Lexington KY for my last charge at another EA DCFS where I added just enough to get home there.

My point is that you certainly can road trip with this EV and rely on the ford navigation to find charge stations. I did compare the route with ABRP just because I was curious and it was almost exactly like fords suggestion. My only issue was that I guesstimated the amount of kWh needed to get me home on last leg and cut it really short, I made it, but in the future would add more fudge factor just incase.


Edited to add.........each charge stop lasted on average 40min. The last one was only 30min. Time to find a bathroom in the Walmart where all charge stations were located and get something to eat at one stop. So I'd say it did add time to the trip but nothing I'd be concerned with to be honest.


Edited again to add.........total trips was about 675 miles over 2 days
 
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vandy1981

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My point is that you certainly can road trip with this EV and rely on the ford navigation to find charge stations.
This is good to hear. Some of the early reviews showed issues with intelligent charger routing and I guess they must have updated the database.
 

TRP

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This is good to hear. Some of the early reviews showed issues with intelligent charger routing and I guess they must have updated the database.

I will say that I was a bit nervous leaving the dealer and wondering if this thing was gonna leave me stranded. The lowest percentage I got to was 9% and that was because I underestimated the amount I really needed to get home on the last charge. I made it but would have like a bit more buffer. I didn't mind the length of "fuel" stops and really appreciated the chance to walk a bit and stretch out. In an ICE I don't usually give myself that luxury, in and out mentality. Was actually a pleasant trip home.
 

PungoteagueDave

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This is reflective of Ford's routing software, not of the state of the charging infrastructure in that part of the country.

There's no way that a properly planned route between those two cities would add 9 hours of charging in a MME or F-150L. My I-Pace would make that trip with 2.5 hours of charging per "A Better Route Planner" and it's less efficient and slower charging than the MME.

Manufacturers are shooting themselves in the foot when they release terrible routing software because of issues like this.

An F-150L towing a trailer is a whole other story and it sounds like the Powerboost is a better solution for you and most other RVers. I'm still hoping it will be an option for us because we tend to take <200 mile trips with our 22-foot MicroMinnie and there are chargers spaced no farther than 90-100 miles where we live.
It is VERY possible to have only 150-mile range while towing with a Powerboost. That's what I've been getting towing out 9,750-pound boat trailer the last two weeks (5.5 mpg). Our Tesla gets twice that range, is a great road trip car, has been all around the U.S. IF the Lightning can truly get 150 miles with a decently heavy trailer and has better fast-charging availability by its first deliveries next Spring (EA is working fast), I think it may well be competitive with the PowerBoost for real world towing range.
 
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