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Exploring All Elecrtic coaches pros and cons


sfritz

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We are considering an up grade to a Class A diesel. The newer coaches seem to be going All Electric. How reliable are they, do they have the systems functioning well? What do you have to give up when you go all electric?

 

Thanks for helping us thru this new research. I always come here for the best answers!!

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Think of what appliances are involved. Gas range = electric cooktop, long time proved. Oven = most people have changed to convection ovens. Water heater, we have never used the gas for our water heater, only the electric element. Refrigerator = many RV s are now using household refrigerators. Heater = heat pumps.

 

Only if you want to boondock a lot, does the substitution of electricity for propane become an issue.

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I agree with Mark. Only if you intend to boondock a LOT do you need to consider the benefits of propane. That ASSUMES that the diesel pusher has proper modern replacements for the propane appliances, and that it is using a diesel Aqua Hot or equivalent for heating. Given that, I'd have no issue with an all electric/diesel coach. Boondocking for a week would be fine, but longer will be annoying.

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My experience with my previous DRV and current Teton is hot water heater heats slowly on electric. Reckon one could put a hot element in but it would use a lot of power. There is a few new parks with 100 amp hookups. Would hate to have to depend on one. We keep ours on propane. Asked DW about a electric cook top and she got defensive. Loves her gas. I shut up

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With all electric you will need the generator too cook unless you use a charcoal , pellet or propane grill. A heating unit like an aquahot can provide heading fuel but you still need to drive pumps and fans so it will use a decent amount of batteries.

 

From what I understand most people with all electric need to run the generator some in the am and in the evening to keep the batteries charged. I think you would need a significant solar setup AND cooperating weather to completely avoid the generator.

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My experience with my previous DRV and current Teton is hot water heater heats slowly on electric. Reckon one could put a hot element in but it would use a lot of power. There is a few new parks with 100 amp hookups. Would hate to have to depend on one. We keep ours on propane. Asked DW about a electric cook top and she got defensive. Loves her gas. I shut up

We never turn our water heater off. And we have this thing where while driving the water is heated by a loop from the radiator, so REALLY hot when we pull in. If I was doing it, I'd put in an induction cooktop. Already using convection/microwave oven. Heat pumps for cool northern summer evenings would suit us to a T. Unfortunately not going to change now, but a nice dream

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My experience with my previous DRV and current Teton is hot water heater heats slowly on electric. Reckon one could put a hot element in but it would use a lot of power. There is a few new parks with 100 amp hookups. Would hate to have to depend on one. We keep ours on propane. Asked DW about a electric cook top and she got defensive. Loves her gas. I shut up

 

 

Our 12 gallon Suburban has a recovery time of 25-30 minutes on electricity. That doesn't seem like a long time to me but never compared it to any others so maybe it is. We also like cooking with gas but do wish we had a quality cooktop instead of the junk the factory installs.

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An all electric diesel pusher typically has a pretty large battery bank and at least a 2800 watt inverter. They also typically have the Aqua Hot system which provides heat and hot water from a diesel-fired boiler. Heat is distributed either through registers, or through in-floor hydronic heat (or both, in some cases).

 

Cooking is typically a two burner electric cooktop (induction or not) and that can easily run off the battery bank and inverter. Convection/microwave handles the rest, and for short tasks can run off the battery bank.

 

Air conditioning has to be run off the genset.

 

Most of these coaches are 50 amp conventional RV wiring. There are a few that are 100 amp or that have provision to use 50 amp AND 30 amp, but that is rare. There is enough power with 50 amps to run such a coach. But most have electrical management systems to balance power and automatically turn things off as required.

 

I've participated in the design of a couple of 5th wheels (high end units) that were similarly set up, with a 12 KW diesel genset. These had large solar systems on them and at least 1.5kw battery banks. They were heated with electric and diesel. And were very capable of boondocking. But they were not cheap to build. (Far less than a DP, though).

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We have had both, not all electric and all electric and for us we like the all electric (just our opinion). I know propane has been around for ever but I just like not having to worry about it. Our convection cooktop may not be of the highest quality but we have learned to work with it and if it really bothered us I guess we would upgrade it. We love the residential refer over he old Norcold hands down. Our Auqa Hot does a great job and we have no problem on the electric side as long as the outside temps remain in the mid 40's and up but anything colder and we switch over to diesel.

I wouldn't say we boondock a lot but normally around 10 weeks per year but we installed 1120 watts of solar on the roof and upgraded our battery bank to 6 Lifeline 6CT's and if we took it easy and have sunny days we could probably go without running the gen but we like TV in the evenings, we keep our computers plugged in and the entertainment system (like the Direct TV box ect.) so we don't play the unplug this and unplug that game. Doing so we can still make a pot of coffee in the morning without worrying about power but I tend to still run the gen for maybe an hour just to get the batteries perking (and I don't know if that is needed but I sort of feel I'm waking them up and getting them ready to start taking a charge when the sun comes up LOL!!)

Oh, guess I do hit the refer cooler off button when we go to bed knowing the doors will remain shut all night and then hit it again in the morning to turn it back on. It only drops a couple degree's so I have seen no issue with that so far.

It's all personal choice but like I said, we love all electric.

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I'm also thinking that more coaches in the future will have more, or all, electric then we've seen in the last 50-60+ years. Especially as lithium based systems continue to drop in price, having many power advantages for their size of space, weight and faster recharge times. Solar panels keep getting larger in output and smaller in size, year after year too.

 

Pro's - No propane. Less overall weight. Less complications in systems to support and manage both electric and propane. Potentially more environmental friendly. Usually less risk of fire, from not open flames. And with the no propane tank, more room for storage of other things. Note: Most of this assuming moving towards Lithium based. But say AGM, and I still think even with added batteries to beef up AH bank, the weight and space gains would still be favorable.

 

Con's - Potentially more expensive, especially if Lithium based. One less option for heating of water, and house, with no propane tank. Boon docking could be impacted, with the potential need of more generator run time. (We just had a good example on our current year travel of traveling. We spent 14 days in Apgar Campground at West Glacier. Even with our 1200W of panels getting sporadic and partially shaded sun for about 3 hours a day, we were not able to maintain SOC levels to where we like them. So, more generator usage. Same thing happened in Banff National Park, for our 8 day visit. And at these parks, you're at the mercy of the rules of generator hours. We found we quite often missed the Apgar Campground mid day time to run the generator, as we were out and about. And we found the Banff NP generator hours in the AM (9:00-10:30AM), to be restrictive. It would impact our ability to get out and go somewhere earlier in the day, as we wanted to get the 90 mins available to charge the batteries. Two hours, 5:00-7:00PM, also meant being back to camp earlier then we'd normally like. And even with both AM and PM cycles, there were days that we'd end the evening generator run time and be at between 90-95%. It was an interesting spectrum of society, watching those that ignored the generator hour rules, until they were sometimes visited and asked to turn it off. But I'd say most of the time, no one ever asked anyone to turn off their generators out of the allowable time window.)

 

Did not mean to get off track here too much, but propane does give you the option to boondock longer in areas with lower sunshine available for solar charging, and or with restrictive generator hour allowances.

 

I'll also second that many of today's higher end DP's have water and coach heating covered via Aqua/Hydro Hot.

 

I'd have to say that I'm overall in favor of 'all electric'. We've removed our Norcold and gone to Samsung Residential. So our only coach usage for LP is now our Stove Top. It is the cheap looking and of less then great quality Atwood 3 burner that are in many hundreds of thousands of coaches and trailers. It does 'OK' for the purpose of cooking. We have a separate counter top Induction Burner that we use for many things, especially when hot outside. I've broached the subject with the DW on adding a shift to full Induction Cooktop, and completely abandoning our large propane tank. Convert that space to more storage, heck, maybe even add a secondary Grey tank to expand capacity. But even if we did this, and even as more coaches come out as All Electric. I'd like to still see a dedicated storage area for say a 20lb LP Bottle. Maybe one that can easily be clamped in for traveling. Being able to leave it in the coach and run the LP hose out to a heater, BBQ, Amazing Campfire In A Can, etc. Or, quick release and remove it to move it to where you may want to use it. So I would like to see new coaches and trailers that go All Electric, still provide a safe storage and easy access option for external LP. And though this sounds a bit hypocritical, I'd still like an option to have a LP line stubbed out in the coach for say a Heat Buddy or Olympic Wave portable units occasional usage. Yes this would add back some of the dual systems and LP Leak Detectors and emergency regulator shut off from collisions - thus some of the Pro's go away. But we've camped several times where having the Heat Buddy option doing our early AM heating has been a real benefit. Our specific coaches Hydro Hot is loud. And when in campgrounds, it adds diesel fumes to those all around us. Having the Heat Buddy, or other option, allows for a very quick heating of the coach. (And again, I admit that this is a bit hypocritical to say I like All Electric, but then want to have my cake and eat it too, with some LP capability:)!

 

I suspect in the next 10 years, we'll see how this all evolves:)!

 

Best to all,

Smitty

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  • 1 month later...

I have read all your replies several times! Thanks for all the information and opinions, Escapees come thru again!!

 

Now an update! We have purchased a 2015 Newmar Dutch Star 4375. It has a propane cooktop but everything else is electric. It was a lucky find as it was still at a dealer that was motivated to get it sold. We will be picking it up in several days so will have to respond later to see how well it functions.

 

Thanks again for helping me with the research!

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I have read all your replies several times! Thanks for all the information and opinions, Escapees come thru again!!

Congratulations! I think that you made a good choice. The only people whose opinions of your new home that matter are those who live in it so hopefully you both will be happy! I sure think that we could be. :D

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The industry is certainly heading in the all electric direction, but I think it's a LONG LONG ways off before you start seeing it as any type of industry "standard". Developments in more RV specific electric options? Sure.. but there are a lot of hurtles that need to be crossed and public attitudes and tendencies that would have to change. 15 years from now... who knows.

 

I'm with Linda.. I would take a pass.

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