Electric, Electric, Electric – it’s a top-of-mind story these days; particularly in the automotive world. So, don’t be surprised when I tell you that electric RVs are here, and more are on the way. However, the real practicality of more electric power in RVs has more to do with running all the vehicle systems off-grid – fully. What I’m about to share with you could easily replace the on-board generator in the next few years.
The Volta Power System is a lithium battery pack that fits in the same space as a genie (meaning no chassis redesign for manufacturers). It features two 3200Watt inverters, will produce 240V AC and generate a total charge of 36Kwh. In practical terms, it will allow you to go off-grid for a week or run your AC and microwave for 24 hours. These are things you can’t do with the current 12V tech, or even the solar systems we have in most trailers now. Until now, on-board power has always been a “partial” solution to your electrical needs. Now, with this Volta Power System, you can enjoy your unit out in the boonies the same as you would plugged into shore-power at a campground.
As for recharging, there is a 2,250Watt solar array on the roof for trickle charging and the system also includes a “nitro panel” which draws power from a 9,000Watt generator in your truck. This will have to be installed. It also adds a nitro panel to the truck bed with an extra long cable so you can leave the trailer hooked up to charge if needed.
Otherwise, the system charges a 40Kwh storage system as you drive. Another feature is a “juice box” power station installed in the RV garage. It has a long plug-in cord that will charge any number of electric vehicles or toys.
This Volta Power System has been installed in a Grand Design Momentum fifth wheel toy hauler. It’s paired with an HD diesel Ram. This partnership debuted at the SEMA show in Las Vegas last fall and is now making the rounds of RV shows in the States. It’s been touring all this winter and spring but costing for the system is not yet available. When it is, I believe it will be included in the price of the RV. The word is that pricing from Grand Design on this Momentum should be released this summer.
“Having a Volta-equipped trailer means all the power you need for off-grid adventures without sacrificing the comfort you want from your home base,” said Lance Lees, product manager for the Momentum brand at Grand Design. “Quiet power also enables our customers to sleep more peacefully and securely without running a noisy generator at night.”
The Momentum brand from Grand Design is a great choice for a demo rig as folks who own these toy haulers go off-grid more than most. Energy, in all its forms, is a vital component of a toy hauler.
Consider that the toy hauler RV pioneered the on-board refuelling station. Ride all day and gas up the toys on site right from the trailer. I remember when that came out it was a big deal. Furthermore, all larger toy haulers come with a built-in generator that usually draw fuel from the same on-board tank. Suddenly, in the face of this new innovative idea, the gas hungry toy hauler seems antiquated. Perhaps it is becoming just that.
The upside, as I mentioned above, is that switching to electric does not require major chassis changes – just swap out the generator for the lithium power system and add a few parts to truck and trailer. If you are like me, you are already seeing the possibilities of this system being scaled down and added to a variety of different RVs in the very near future. I do like a good news story.
Just for fun, I’ve included the specs, layout and a few pictures of the Grand Design Momentum (three floorplans available) so you can see what kind of RV that system is powering. Note on the layout the gas pump handle indicating the spot for refuelling. This may go away, but while we are in this cross-over phase of history, you could power the rig electrically and still carry gas for the toys you already own.
2022 Grand Design Momentum 397THS
- UVW: 16,250 lb
- Hitch Weight: 3,570 lb
- GVWR: 20,000 lb
- Length: 44′ 2″
- Height: 13′ 5″
- Fresh Water: 140 gal
- Grey Water: 104 gal
- Waste Water: 104 gal
- Fuel Capacity: 60 gal
- LP Capacity: 60 lbs
- Construction: Aluminum Cage
Founded in 2014, the Volta Power System provides lithium-ion energy storage solutions for small to midsize businesses, RV, marine and specialty vehicle OEMs.