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 > Some musings on future power trains

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Groover

Pulaski, TN

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Posted: 12/07/20 07:54am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

As an owner of a 32ft DP with a Cummins 6.7 diesel and two F150 pickup trucks with 3.5 Ecoboost engines I have long felt that the Ecoboost outperforms the Cummins used in this application, is quieter and more responsive. I am not saying that the Cummins doesn't have its own merits, it gives great fuel economy and will probably outlast both me and the coach. Despite those Cummins advantages I have wondered how my coach would drive with an EcoBoost in the back in place of the Cummins. Then lately I have been reading reviews of the hybrid version (PowerBoost) and learned that it is a very capable, efficient and quiet generator as well as strong main powerplant. So what would my coach be like with a PowerBoost engine?

First off, you immediately lose 600lbs in engine weight.
Second, you wouldn't need the generator, that save an additional 420lbs and opens up a large storage area.
And, you would probably save $14,000 (serious EWAG here) in equipment costs, not including generator installation.

So what next?
The current version of my coach already comes with an induction cooktop and electric element in the water heater, leaving space heat the only required task for the propane. So lose the propane altogether, opening up more storage and eliminate another 100lbs or so. With only one engine it would be much simpler to use waste engine heat to heat both the cabin and hot water while boondocking or just driving down the road in cold weather.

Use some of the cost savings to invest in a 120V heat pump for the dash heat and air (you could still have the choice of engine heat there if you wanted too). Eliminate the engine driven AC compressor and have another AC available when parked. This shouldn't take anywhere near all of the space created by removing the generator.

Add a 10kwhr of more battery pack so that more efficient use of the hybrid and generator functions can be made, along with possible solar power and even a limited shore power supply. Note here that Elon expects to have battery cost below $100/kwhr soon, if not already.

You could also remove one starting battery and the DEF tank, saving several hundred more pounds and opening up more storage.

The rear axle could go back another foot or more for more stable handling and reduced rear drag.

There should be plenty of room to add 15% more gasoline if range is an issue.

All in all, the only problem I see potential durability issues but since I am only averaging 6,000 miles per year on the coach and my EcoBoost engines have proven very reliable I don't think that would be a problem. You could even detune the PowerBoost to the level of the Cummins if needed and still use the electric drive boost to outperform the current drive train.

Just food for thought. And maybe motivation for a next generation coach that is compatible with current infrastructure. Hopefully the hybrid options become more available and diverse.

garyemunson

Reno, Nevada

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Posted: 12/07/20 08:01am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

What I expect to see is once Tesla starts outputting their electric semis, electric Class As will appear. Probably first as an alternative to high end Diesels, then filtering down to gas units as the price decreases.

BB_TX

McKinney, Texas

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Posted: 12/07/20 08:45am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

garyemunson wrote:

What I expect to see is once Tesla starts outputting their electric semis, electric Class As will appear. Probably first as an alternative to high end Diesels, then filtering down to gas units as the price decreases.

I agree. It may take 20-30 years, but eventually most all vehicles, even the heavy haulers, will migrate to all electric.

dodge guy

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Posted: 12/07/20 09:00am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The little eco boost will not last long at 100% duty cycle! Those little turbos will be glowing red. There is a place for the little boosted motors, but in a full size MH is not one of them!


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Groover

Pulaski, TN

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Posted: 12/07/20 09:14am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

BB_TX wrote:

garyemunson wrote:

What I expect to see is once Tesla starts outputting their electric semis, electric Class As will appear. Probably first as an alternative to high end Diesels, then filtering down to gas units as the price decreases.

I agree. It may take 20-30 years, but eventually most all vehicles, even the heavy haulers, will migrate to all electric.


I am looking for something that could happen in my lifetime and for a reasonable price, maybe even a cost reduction. And it also would work in government parks and even boondocking. I don't foresee the feds or most other government parks shelling out the money for the required upgrades. My experience in most federal parks is that the vast majority of their campsites don't have any power run to them. Our political climate and preoccupation of providing for the poor seems to be preventing any campground upgrades, even for those willing to pay for them. I am trying not be political but federal campgrounds have been underfunded for years under all administrations and we have to be real. Finally, I enjoy boondocking and the Ecoboost is quieter than any generator that I have heard.

BurbMan

Islip, Long Island

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Posted: 12/07/20 09:19am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Current issue of RV Business is already showcasing some all-electric TTs. The addition of lithium batteries and solar make it workable. One mfr on the West coast is advertising "up to 2 weeks of boondocking or 2-3 nights of air conditioning" just from the inboard batteries and solar.

Some MHs have already gone all-electric with radiant in-floor hydronic heating and electric appliances...there's a already a genset on board so why do you need propane at all?

dodge guy wrote:

The little eco boost will not last long at 100% duty cycle! Those little turbos will be glowing red.


That's what we all said when the eco-boost came out years ago, but that hasn't proven to be the case. Look at all the guys towing big TTs with F-150s with that motor, the duty cycle is no different there than it would be in a Class A.

The advantage to an eco-boost design is that it allows the F-150 to get better fuel economy when not towing the weight of the trailer. In the Class A, it's effectively never unloaded like taht.

I don't know if the eco-boost produces enough torque to get a 30,000 lb MH moving though...


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Groover

Pulaski, TN

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Posted: 12/07/20 09:19am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

dodge guy wrote:

The little eco boost will not last long at 100% duty cycle! Those little turbos will be glowing red. There is a place for the little boosted motors, but in a full size MH is not one of them!


My Ecoboost motors have been used harder and with less trouble than my V10 or the older 460 that I had. I would be willing to try it as is but if detuned about 25% down to the power output of my Cummins it should hold up real well. If that doesn't work I still don't believe that the concept is invalid, it just might need an engine designed for that use.

Groover

Pulaski, TN

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Posted: 12/07/20 09:26am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

BurbMan wrote:

Current issue of RV Business is already showcasing some all-electric TTs. The addition of lithium batteries and solar make it workable. One mfr on the West coast is advertising "up to 2 weeks of boondocking or 2-3 nights of air conditioning" just from the inboard batteries and solar.

Some MHs have already gone all-electric with radiant in-floor hydronic heating and electric appliances...there's a already a genset on board so why do you need propane at all?

dodge guy wrote:

The little eco boost will not last long at 100% duty cycle! Those little turbos will be glowing red.


That's what we all said when the eco-boost came out years ago, but that hasn't proven to be the case. Look at all the guys towing big TTs with F-150s with that motor, the duty cycle is no different there than it would be in a Class A.

The advantage to an eco-boost design is that it allows the F-150 to get better fuel economy when not towing the weight of the trailer. In the Class A, it's effectively never unloaded like taht.

I don't know if the eco-boost produces enough torque to get a 30,000 lb MH moving though...


My DP is 30,000GCWR and the Cummins is detuned to 300hp and 600lb-ft of torque. It is not a hot rod but gets the job done.

The Ecoboost produces two thirds as much torque as the Cummins so a 50% increase in the rear axle ratio would solve the problem nicely. And it gets about 20% better fuel economy than my V10 did pulling the same horse trailer. About 20% less than a 2019 Powerstroke I used for a while pulling the same equipment trailer. So the cost per mile was less than the Powerstroke with the fuel prices in this area. In comparisons I did using the same 12,000lb trailer the Ecoboost was much faster from 0 to 10 than the Powerstroke. I actually prefer towing the trailer around the county with the Ecoboost.

* This post was edited 12/07/20 09:38am by Groover *

time2roll

Southern California

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Posted: 12/07/20 09:52am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I would like to see a hybrid that eliminates the transmission too. Ecoboost would be fine and would already be combined with a generator as part of the main drive.

Plug-in battery range of maybe 10 to 50 miles on electric only. This would run short errands and propel the RV from the campground to the highway. Very quiet for leaving early or arriving late.

On the highway the ecoboost would connect direct with a single clutch to run all day at speeds of 45 mph+. Lower speeds around the city would be powered by electric motor on battery power. Ecoboost would keep the battery up with the attached generator.

While climbing a hill the electric motor would assist in providing power. Likewise descending a hill the electric would control speed by recapturing energy back into the battery.

Of course this could be done with ecoboost or a smaller diesel. The main battery would also be used while camping off grid including running one air conditioner 3 to 5 days before recharging is needed.


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valhalla360

No paticular place.

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Posted: 12/07/20 10:11am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

There's a reason Ford doesn't put the ecoboost in the 3/4 and 1 ton trucks. The ecoboost works great for your typical grocery getter who occasionally pulls a small trailer. Most of the time, it uses very little boost except for a few seconds on hard acceleration, so you aren't really stressing it much and it gets plenty of time to cool down after a hard 0-60 run.

When towing, the MPG drops like a rock but most people don't tow 10,000lb with a 1/2 regularly, so as long as it holds up for a while it never reaches the point of failure.

Drop that in a big MH pulling a 4000lb SUV and it's going to be running max boost pretty much all the time. Fuel efficiency will be horrible and yes, you will see motors worn out very quickly.

Hybrid is a different subject and is more viable though you still aren't likely to see the ecoboost replacing the diesel in a diesel pusher. More likely, they will put in a diesel engine that is 30-40% smaller. On flat ground, you don't need 400hp to maintain 60-70mph but they put them in so you can get better acceleration from a stop and to keep speed up on steep grades. With a hybrid, you might drop back to a 200-250hp diesel which can handle the load on flat ground but when you climb a hill, the batteries feed enough extra power to maintain speed. For a big MH, this is still going to be a big battery bank. If you need an extra 130hp (100kw) to handle steep grades, a 10kwh battery bank isn't going to do much as you will run it down in 5 min climbing a grade. You are probably looking at at least a 100kwh battery bank for a hybrid drivetrain, so it can handle a long steep climb.

The only question is will the small diesel gain enough efficiency over the big one to justify the cost and complication...pickups may go from 4,500lb running empty to GCVW north of 15,000lb towing (more than 300% increase in base weight). This means the engine that is ideal running empty is not ideal fully loaded up. With a DP, the loading might vary between 35,000 not towing and 38,000 pulling a small car (11% variation). The result is they can dial in a DP motor much better to typical loading, so a hybrid may not offer nearly as much improvement in efficiency from going hybrid.

Of course, a hybrid with a 100kwh battery bank that can service the house loads while parked offers a real opportunity to live like you have a generator without having a generator. In many ways that may be the bigger selling point over fuel efficiency.


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