What battery size would you need to go overlanding in an EV.

CappyJax

Member
I am planning a build of a truck camper with the goal of putting it on an EV truck someday. I was thinking about what battery size I would need to feel comfortable overlanding with EV. I think I would want around 500 miles of range. Without the help of solar, this would allow for a 200 mile trek out, comfortable use of the battery for heat, cooking, hot water, etc, and then 200 miles back. I expect to get around 10 MPG which would equate to around 1kWh/mi. That means I would need a 500kWh battery pack. That would be around a 4,200 pound pack at 260Wh/kg, which is doable for a Class 5 truck. It would still provide 9,300 lb payload for the camper.

I figure this would be around a $105,000 truck at present which is why they don't build it yet. I think batteries will need to be around $50/kWh before they start making them this size. This is expected to occur in 2025.

I am aiming for around at least 4,500W of solar on my camper. I figure with 70% efficiency, and if I can save half of it through the day, i'll get around 16-19 kWh, or 16-19 miles of free range every day I am parked in sunshine. How cool would that be!
 

Lovetheworld

Active member
You mean you want to build a sort of universal camper box and integrate the drive battery in that shell?
That means you will limit yourself to future electric trucks which are built up like typical trucks.
If some company makes an electric truck with those kind of battery sizes (and weights) it will be integrated into the truck frame for very good reasons.
The Tesla Semi will already feature the hardware that you require, at a slightly higher price point and not in the shape you want it :p

I think your calculations are nice and definitely relevant to your solar plans.
But apart from solar giving you daily driving range, you need to think of how you will use the truck in other ways.
Driving on solar power just moving around as is possible through solar, that is nice for a trip without time limits. Which would also mean you could work with a waaaay smaller battery pack.
If I read about 500 miles for a back and forth kind of idea, than this probably involves a fixed amount of time.
On the other hand, if you will do a 500 mile trip, chances are very high (at least in a few years) you will drive past a couple of fast chargers.

For example, now here in Europe we are getting small vans with 50 up to 100kWh batteries, which are convertible to campervans.
I think the 75 and 100kWh versions will already give you a decent range, with a nice couple of breaks a long the way, to get everywhere in a relaxed way.
This is because there are plenty of fast chargers already.
If you would have a 250kWh pack and plenty of fast chargers it would already be great. Unless you are trying to squeeze some huge roundtrip in a weekend.
 

CappyJax

Member
You mean you want to build a sort of universal camper box and integrate the drive battery in that shell?
That means you will limit yourself to future electric trucks which are built up like typical trucks.
If some company makes an electric truck with those kind of battery sizes (and weights) it will be integrated into the truck frame for very good reasons.
The Tesla Semi will already feature the hardware that you require, at a slightly higher price point and not in the shape you want it :p

I think your calculations are nice and definitely relevant to your solar plans.
But apart from solar giving you daily driving range, you need to think of how you will use the truck in other ways.
Driving on solar power just moving around as is possible through solar, that is nice for a trip without time limits. Which would also mean you could work with a waaaay smaller battery pack.
If I read about 500 miles for a back and forth kind of idea, than this probably involves a fixed amount of time.
On the other hand, if you will do a 500 mile trip, chances are very high (at least in a few years) you will drive past a couple of fast chargers.

For example, now here in Europe we are getting small vans with 50 up to 100kWh batteries, which are convertible to campervans.
I think the 75 and 100kWh versions will already give you a decent range, with a nice couple of breaks a long the way, to get everywhere in a relaxed way.
This is because there are plenty of fast chargers already.
If you would have a 250kWh pack and plenty of fast chargers it would already be great. Unless you are trying to squeeze some huge roundtrip in a weekend.
No, I want to build a camper box that can go on any future pickup including electric. I plan to build it with some batteries, but if I put it on an electric vehicle, I can eliminate the house batteries and just use power from the chassis batteries.

This will be an overlander, so I don't expect to find many fast chargers in a lot of the places I would want to take it. So that means charging via solar , or in some cases with 240V 50A.
 

calicamper

Expedition Leader
Ok so my House!!! Has 8200watts on it. I’m in CA. From about April to June perfect day I can see 30-40kwh in a days charge that’s typically about 25-40amp load. July perfect conditions meaning cool coastal temps and clear Sunny day I can do 54kwh in a day.

Your camper would need a huge roof like massive to support 4500watts of panels. Talking like 40ft semi trailer roof. A EV vehicle moving a giant brick will have a lousy range even with a massive battery.

Go smaller for example
The Tesla X towing a Hiker trailer was taking a 50-60% hit to its range 100-120 mile range on about 60kwh of battery. So with my 8200watt system 29 full sized panels no idea how those would be carried would do about 50kwh in July at Latitude 38 in a full days charge. So 120 miles and 8200watts of solar and a ideal latitude/ solar day your still short 10kwh if every drop of juice goes into the EV..
 

T-Willy

Well-known member
I am planning a build of a truck camper with the goal of putting it on an EV truck someday. I was thinking about what battery size I would need to feel comfortable overlanding with EV. I think I would want around 500 miles of range. Without the help of solar, this would allow for a 200 mile trek out, comfortable use of the battery for heat, cooking, hot water, etc, and then 200 miles back. I expect to get around 10 MPG which would equate to around 1kWh/mi. That means I would need a 500kWh battery pack. That would be around a 4,200 pound pack at 260Wh/kg, which is doable for a Class 5 truck. It would still provide 9,300 lb payload for the camper.

I figure this would be around a $105,000 truck at present which is why they don't build it yet. I think batteries will need to be around $50/kWh before they start making them this size. This is expected to occur in 2025.

I am aiming for around at least 4,500W of solar on my camper. I figure with 70% efficiency, and if I can save half of it through the day, i'll get around 16-19 kWh, or 16-19 miles of free range every day I am parked in sunshine. How cool would that be!
What about supplementing with a few 3000 W portable wind turbines?
 

CappyJax

Member
Ok so my House!!! Has 8200watts on it. I’m in CA. From about April to June perfect day I can see 30-40kwh in a days charge that’s typically about 25-40amp load. July perfect conditions meaning cool coastal temps and clear Sunny day I can do 54kwh in a day.

Your camper would need a huge roof like massive to support 4500watts of panels. Talking like 40ft semi trailer roof. A EV vehicle moving a giant brick will have a lousy range even with a massive battery.

Go smaller for example
The Tesla X towing a Hiker trailer was taking a 50-60% hit to its range 100-120 mile range on about 60kwh of battery. So with my 8200watt system 29 full sized panels no idea how those would be carried would do about 50kwh in July at Latitude 38 in a full days charge. So 120 miles and 8200watts of solar and a ideal latitude/ solar day your still short 10kwh if every drop of juice goes into the EV..
I am going to have a system like this.
 

calicamper

Expedition Leader
I have been looking at various wind turbines. Most get very bad reviews.

I am keeping my eye on the Power Pod. https://www.halcium.com/
Yeah I race Sailboats like big stuff. The wind turbines even the very best are really loud like more than the Quiet inverter generators. Plus when mounted to something other than the ground they vibrate also. Plus they are quite costly for the good ones.

The issue is the amount of power he wants. Even the big powerful racing yachts with multiple live satellite systems and electric driven hydraulic keel and foil systems are on a power diet and also will supplement solar with water generators and even Typically use a fuel cell technology as a backup source for lower power hungry stuff ie the safety backup for nav gear and basic comms gear.

4500watts of solar even a folding system is going to very large and heavy, not counting the vehicle and typical overlanding gear.
 

Verkstad

Raggarkung
For fun I will share my bad review.
My Sailboat friend gave me his 400W wind turbine and was happy to be rid of it.
I Installed at my offgrid cabin. In fairness, it does work. But to get useful power from a small turbine the wind has to blow hard and steady. Dunno what RPM that hard wind spins it upto, but its fast and audibly screaming.
Of course wind is never really very steady, so its sounds like a air raid siren as the pitch rises and falls.
In short, its anoying as hell when it is running at a speed where it generates something useful.
When I am there, I leave it switched off for peace & quiet. The neighbor 200 yards or so away can sometimes hear it if conditions are right.
I have been looking at various wind turbines. Most get very bad reviews.
I am keeping my eye on the Power Pod. https://www.halcium.com/
 
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CappyJax

Member
Yeah I race Sailboats like big stuff. The wind turbines even the very best are really loud like more than the Quiet inverter generators. Plus when mounted to something other than the ground they vibrate also. Plus they are quite costly for the good ones.

The issue is the amount of power he wants. Even the big powerful racing yachts with multiple live satellite systems and electric driven hydraulic keel and foil systems are on a power diet and also will supplement solar with water generators and even Typically use a fuel cell technology as a backup source for lower power hungry stuff ie the safety backup for nav gear and basic comms gear.

4500watts of solar even a folding system is going to very large and heavy, not counting the vehicle and typical overlanding gear.
About 650 pounds.
 

billiebob

Well-known member
No, I want to build a camper box that can go on any future pickup including electric. I plan to build it with some batteries, but if I put it on an electric vehicle, I can eliminate the house batteries and just use power from the chassis batteries.

This will be an overlander, so I don't expect to find many fast chargers in a lot of the places I would want to take it. So that means charging via solar , or in some cases with 240V 50A.
impossible to predict the future of electric vehicles. technology will make huuge leaps in the next 10 years. think Smart Phone vs cell Phone. LED TV vs Smart TV. Think technology 20 years ago, a cell phone, PDA. Laptop, Digital Camera, Video Recorder, GPS, which have been replaced by todays iphone. Not to mention banking. Plan for today, forget trying to guess where tomorrow might go.

This comic writer from the 1960s should be a billionaire.

********-Tracy-Wrist-Phone-1-800x435-500x435.jpg
 

Hellwinger

New member
Interesting stuff...

Cappyjax, how did you arrive at 1kwH/mi?

Verkstad has an interesting point. I've run the Primus Air Silent X type 400W windmill at a sometimes very windy desert site. It was indeed a bit screamy when the windspeed got up there. It lasted about a year. Returned to maintain the site and found it free-wheeling. The rectifier diodes had burned out. I'm wondering if it's worthwhile to rebuild it and make it part of the kit for my rig. The 200W of flat roof solar panels I have seem to keep my 300Ah of AGMs charged nicely. As well, the batts charge while on the road or at an RV park, so for a typical 1000mi 2-3week road trip with a few days of boondocking mixed in, no worries. So maybe a windmill for the RV is just a fun project. I have not seen a lot of them out in the bush, either. Might be a reason for that . . .

I agree with billiebob. No telling what the future brings. There is certainly economic pressure (money to be made) in the energy sector competing with the cost, and convenience, of fossil fuels. So, I am hopeful.

Haha Lovetheworld. Disappointing how many folks think that'd work. Discussion of such can be turned into a learning moment, tho.

- Hellwinger
 

grizzlyj

Tea pot tester
My whole truck roof is solar and theoretically I can't fit that much output on, let alone actual solar production.
Some UK Army hobnob was recently quoted as saying EV armoured vehicles were being looked at. Someone worked out to mirror the performance of a Challenger 2 it would need a 35 ton battery :)
Will you be allowing for cold weather performance also?
 
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