Roadtrek RS E-trek
The Grand Rapids RV Show was abuzz about the recently released Class B motorhome from the Canadian company Roadtrek. American RV had one on display.
The RS E-trek is touted as "all electric", but that just means there is no propane to run appliances. The engine is diesel.
Note: Photos are from the Roadtrek website. When rushing to our seminar on Sunday, I left my camera behind and the camera on the smart phone just didn't produce very good photos.
They are certainly not the first manufacturer to build an "all electric" coach with no propane necessary for running appliances. From what I've seen, however, they are really using the whole "no propane" thing as one of their big selling points - it's not that big of a deal in my opinion.
Now, what makes their marketing a little different is that previous "all electric" motorhomes have assumed that their coaches would usually be plugged into shore power. Roadtrek is marketing the E-trek as an "all electric" that is perfect for parking off-grid (boondocking).
The E-trek has a 240-watt solar panel, ....
and up to eight 6-volt AGM batteries with a total amp-hour capacity of 1600 amp hours. Or there is a 3 lithium battery option - lighter and more efficient, but very expensive. DC power (battery power) is converted to AC power via a 5,000-watt inverter.
Heat is generated from a Webasto diesel-powered combination water heater and furnace. I have no idea how that works. In addition, although there is no conventional generator, there is a 3500-watt generator/alternator mounted to the diesel engine which produces electrical power.
There is also an optional 100-watt EFOY methanol fuel cell generator which I doubt provides the value you would expect for the addtional cost.
So, let's not get too caught up in the "all electrical" marketing - they are using diesel instead of propane to charge batteries and have a small solar panel to assist with that process.
The eight AGM batteries with 1600 amp hours of capacity is great for boondocking. You can run a lot of appliances for quite awhile with that kind of capacity. They say you can run their air conditioner with the compressor on for over nine hours. Now I don't know the efficiency of their air conditioner, but I'm a bit skeptical of that claim. My guess is you would either discharge the batteries far below 50% (which is the standard amount of discharge for the best combination of usage and battery life), or you would need to run the generator/alternator for some period.
The 240-watt solar panel would be inadequate to re-charge the batteries by itself, but it would be great for maintaining a charge or topping off the batteries during the day. The other claim is that the generator/alternator can re-charge the batteries fully by idling the engine for 30 - 40 minutes. I'm not too sure about that claim either. A lot depends on how far the batteries are discharged and most quality battery chargers won't allow full charging in that short a time.
The E-trek isn't quite as "green" as its marketing might lead you to believe. The battery bank is awesome. However, to be really green, they would need to have a lot more solar than they can fit on the roof of a Class B. As it is, they are using diesel in place of propane for some off-grid functions including the re-charging of batteries using a non-traditional generator/alternator. That might be slightly more environmentally friendly, but not as much as they seem to indicate.
The E-trek is a great unit, but beware of some of the hype and buy for Roadtrek quality rather than for some massive environmental contribution. As usual, just my opinion. :)
Keystone Montana 3900 FB Fifth Wheel
Montana fifth wheels have been a top selling brand for several years. Actually, our Cambridge was built by the Montana division as an attempt to compete with more full-timing-type models. But after only a year, they abandoned the Cambridge.
Anyway, many Montana models and floorplans are very similar to ours. However, we were curious about the new 3900 FB floorplan that has a separate, full bathroom in the front of the rig.
Note: Photo from KeystoneRV.com website.
Usually, the bathroom is at the top of the steps either split with the shower on one side and the toilet and sink on the other side or all-in-one in a walled off room. In the 3900 FB, the bedroom is first and then there is a full bath in a separate room beyond that.
The bathroom is large as it takes up the full width of the rig between the bedroom and the full closet which remains in its usual spot. There is a corner shower, ....
and sinks on both sides.
Don't want guests walking through your bedroom to get to the bathroom? No problem, there is a half bath in the lower level.
Of course, there's always a trade-off. With the half-bath, you give up a lot of storage space and there are two black tanks to deal with. Looking at the tank capacities, it looks as if some fresh water tank capacity is sacrificed for the extra half bath.
We did like the island with the stainless sink, and the nice pantry (which is much like ours). We didn't care for what they pass off as a desk area.
We really liked the front bathroom concept, but could do without the half bath. Of course, there were several other things we would change.
If we have to ever purchase a new RV, we'll probably have to deal with the manufacturer directly and build our own. A salesperson would be sick of us after we pointed out all the things we would do differently on every model we would be shown. :)
Knowing what we know now, we would be a very, very tough sale. Linda was saying the other day, sometimes ignorance is bliss and it was when we bought our Cambridge back in 2005 as newbies. Fortunately, we got lucky in the overall purchase and we were able to make great upgrades over the years.
A lot of folks ask what brand fifth wheel we would buy if we had to. Well, I would have to go back and do my due diligence as I'm not really sure. But, we do know what we would want in another fifth wheel. One of these days, maybe we will design one and pitch it to the various manufacturers. :)