Is it time to build Hybrid and All-Electric RVs? [Op / Ed]

Balqon E450 Zero Emission Electric Chassis
Balqon E450 Zero Emission Electric Chassis

A few companies have toyed with the idea of producing Hybrid and All-Electric RVs, but with fuel being so cheap in the United States, no one has pushed for large-scale production. Sure, it makes sense; RVs with batteries are much heavier and would not have the awesome range of a diesel – which is what powers a huge majority of RVs. So, it’s an open-and-shut case for Hybrid and All-Electric RVs, right?

Maybe not.

Sure, the most important aspect of an RV’s mechanical ability (range) is difficult to match with an electric RV, that may not be the case for a hybrid RV. Think about this: what if the RV ran on a diesel powering a hybrid system? Unlike economy cars that need to be as light as possible, an RV can handle extra weight. That’s not to say it can be grossly overweight, but the extra weight penalty may be able to be offset.

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Let me explain my point: Mercedes-Benz has a diesel hybrid system on their S300 which uses a 20-kW electric motor/generator that’s located between the engine and transmission. The S300 BlueTec hybrid’s (European measurements) makes 228 bhp (combined) and 435 lb-ft of torque (combined). It can get 64.2 mpg which is about 53.4 mpg US. That’s incredible.

What if Mercedes-Benz put such a system in the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter? Think about it: the already excellent range of the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter could be extended by a massive margin. Granted, the price penalty would be pretty high, but I wager there are several RV owners who would be willing to pay extra for a diesel hybrid.

What do you think?

The question regarding Hybrid and All-Electric RVs is a logical one, even if the current batch of all-electric drive systems may not be the right choice for today’s RV – a diesel hybrid certainly does make sense.

Speaking of the new Mercedes-Benz Sprinter…

Nathan Adlen reviews vehicles from the cheapest to the most prestigious. His words, good humor and video are enjoyed  worldwide.
Nathan Adlen reviews vehicles from the cheapest to the most prestigious. His words, good humor and video are enjoyed
worldwide.
Easily amused by anything with four wheels, Nathan Adlen reviews vehicles from the cheapest to the most prestigious. Wrecking yards, dealer lots, garages, racetracks, professional automotive testing and automotive journalism - Nathan has experienced a wide range of the automotive spectrum. Brought up in the California car culture and educated in theater, childhood education, film, journalism and history, Nathan now lives with his family in Denver, CO. His words, good humor and video are enjoyed worldwide.