Is this the ultimate off-road camp kitchen?

Bomber2012

Well-Known Member
This sort of stuff is like a concept car , looks fantastic at a trade show but no one will ever buy one , would anyone here seriously consider buying one ?
I doubt it .
 

cam04

Well-Known Member
I was looking at a second generation Retreat ERV that was camped up next to us the other day and had the chance to have a good long chat to the owner. He had bought one of their first generation ones, which apparently had a fair few issues, but Retreat had just upgraded him to the latest at almost no cost.

He really liked the van, but his comments were:
  • The 2.4 kW of solar on the roof was heavy, making the van more top heavy than he would have liked, and left no room for installing something like a sat dish - in fact the a/c is actually mounted under-floor and ducted through the floor. This ha d led to some dust ingress through the ducts (so much for "proper dust proof van").
  • The 15 kWH (I think that's the right size) battery is heavy, really heavy - this limits the load carrying capacity of the van somewhat more than he would have liked and means that you need a tow vehicle with a true 3.5t towing capacity. On the plus side it does counterbalance the solar panels to some extent.
  • His experience has been that multiple days of cloudy, miserable weather (like Perth has been getting for the last few weeks) has him looking for a caravan park to pull up in to access power. This is mitigated somewhat by the reality that they can't carry enough water (see the point about heavy batteries) to go more than a few (3, maybe 4) days off-grid in any case. Black and grey water tank sizes also come into play here.
  • You do need to get up on the roof and clean the solar panels at least once a week or more.
At the end of the day he would buy another one, but he did say that the extra cost of this van would buy you a s#!t load of LPG refills.
Guys on the canopy forums are running 2000w inverters off 120ah lithium batteries and running single induction hot plates (and the usual fridge and lights and bloody coffee machines) successfully. The tech is moving quick at the moment. That van sounds like a small town. He might need to watch where his power all goes.
 

Gavo

4x4 Earth Contributer
Guys on the canopy forums are running 2000w inverters off 120ah lithium batteries and running single induction hot plates (and the usual fridge and lights and bloody coffee machines) successfully. The tech is moving quick at the moment. That van sounds like a small town. He might need to watch where his power all goes.

Rough maths, not taking into consideration inverter efficiency either....

Please someone correct me. But a 240v induction cooktop is say 1800watts. That's something like 160+ Amps at 12volt. So your 120ah lithium not going to last long running a cooker..
 

Chatty

Well-Known Member
I am surprised that a van with all that equipment wouldn’t have lithium to save on the weight
They are lithium batteries - but 15 kWH equates to about 1,250 AH of batteries - that's at least 10 of my 120 AH lithium at 12kg each - so at least 120 kg. The weight all adds up in a van...
 

Chatty

Well-Known Member
Guys on the canopy forums are running 2000w inverters off 120ah lithium batteries and running single induction hot plates (and the usual fridge and lights and bloody coffee machines) successfully. The tech is moving quick at the moment. That van sounds like a small town. He might need to watch where his power all goes.
I think the ERV vans run a 5,000W (!) inverter. It has to power the hot water system, electric BBQ, induction cooktop, electric oven, etc
 

cam04

Well-Known Member
Rough maths, not taking into consideration inverter efficiency either....

Please someone correct me. But a 240v induction cooktop is say 1800watts. That's something like 160+ Amps at 12volt. So your 120ah lithium not going to last long running a cooker..
Don’t need them to last long with decent solar on the roof and driving the car while touring. Guys are doing it. It is working for them. I’ll stick with gas for my Ute kitchen but I also have other kitchens. These guys use utes exclusively so cost benefit is better for them.

 
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cam04

Well-Known Member
Yeah, but 5kW is about 420 Amps - pretty scary stuff.
You can arc weld with less...
Yes there has to be a point where you run say the bbq and hot water on maybe diesel and give yourself some relief, not to mention redundancy. I know how dark and quiet my place is in a blackout. In a van up the scrub it’s get primitive pretty quick.
 

Chatty

Well-Known Member
Don’t need them to last long with decent solar on the roof and driving the car while touring.
I neglected to ask about whether it charges off the tow vehicle when driving - the solar puts out (in theory) 200 amps, that's some sort of DC-DC charger off the tow vehicle, plus the alternator to fuel it...
The owner intimated that the only choices are solar or mains - so I'm thinking that any charge off the tow vehicle is in the "really doesn't make much difference" category.
 

cam04

Well-Known Member
I neglected to ask about whether it charges off the tow vehicle when driving - the solar puts out (in theory) 200 amps, that's some sort of DC-DC charger off the tow vehicle, plus the alternator to fuel it...
The owner intimated that the only choices are solar or mains - so I'm thinking that any charge off the tow vehicle is in the "really doesn't make much difference" category.
There’s the redundancy. Might not be as fast but it is a Hail Mary option when the sun doesn’t shin and all you have is a fancy pod machine for the morning coffee. I’m not nice without coffee, but my old moka works on any source of fire or heat.
 

peterfermtech

Well-Known Member
Rough maths, not taking into consideration inverter efficiency either....

Please someone correct me. But a 240v induction cooktop is say 1800watts. That's something like 160+ Amps at 12volt. So your 120ah lithium not going to last long running a cooker..
Quick calculation I get about 15AH to bring 1 litre of water up to boil using induction so 120 AH is going to boil about 8 litres of water.
 

discomatt

Well-Known Member
I neglected to ask about whether it charges off the tow vehicle when driving - the solar puts out (in theory) 200 amps, that's some sort of DC-DC charger off the tow vehicle, plus the alternator to fuel it...
The owner intimated that the only choices are solar or mains - so I'm thinking that any charge off the tow vehicle is in the "really doesn't make much difference" category.
Surely with a set up like that he would have a genni stashed away somewhere, IMO you would be mental to rely so heavily on 12 volt and not have one
 

Albynsw

Well-Known Member
Earth cruiser Travel Trucks have dropped genies and run induction and AC on Lithium/ solar The battery setup is 20k option
 

Chatty

Well-Known Member
Surely with a set up like that he would have a genni stashed away somewhere, IMO you would be mental to rely so heavily on 12 volt and not have one
Ah yes, but you forget about the type of people who buy these vans - they're all about being all solar and not needing fuel of any kind to run their van - including petrol, diesel and LPG.
 

Chatty

Well-Known Member
Earth cruiser Travel Trucks have dropped genies and run induction and AC on Lithium/ solar The battery setup is 20k option
But they would be planning on the vehicle running most days when travelling or exploring.
 

cam04

Well-Known Member
Ah yes, but you forget about the type of people who buy these vans - they're all about being all solar and not needing fuel of any kind to run their van - including petrol, diesel and LPG.
A mate bought an Aussie Swag Ultra E - the E standing for electric. Granted, it was 10 years ago, but he thought he'd be the silent, green type. The facts are it is great in a caravan park with power, but up the scrub his hot water etc are never seen in use unless he fires up a genny.
 

cam04

Well-Known Member
Earth cruiser Travel Trucks have dropped genies and run induction and AC on Lithium/ solar The battery setup is 20k option
Yachts (Lagoon cats from France are one) are now offering electric propulsion systems based on solar/lithium. No doubt there will be an iron solar panel hidden in the depths of the hull for redundancy though.
An acquaintance has a MAN based SLRV truck - one of the ones featured on the website is theirs - its electricity systems and backups are rather impressive. I try not to look at it, I'm not jealous of a lot of things, but I most definitely covet that. A million bucks to go camping isn't something I see myself ever achieving though, and if I did it would be called a Buizen 48 yacht - maybe the 40 if I was feeling stingy.
 
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