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Old 08-01-2019, 11:35 AM   #1
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Future of Boondocking?

I'm looking forward to retiring some time in the next seven years and wondering what the 'state of the art' in boondocking might look like by then. Are the advances below feasible?

Electric RVs: Will we see something like the Tesla semi battery (~1000 kWh) in RVs? As that is designed to allow a fully loaded 80,000 lb truck to travel ~500 miles could an RV weighing less than half as much go 1,000? Could a battery like that also be used to run any/all internal appliances for months at a time?

Solar RVs: Toyota is currently testing 34% efficient thin film solar cells on their Prius. Will we see something like that for RVs? Could thin film solar like this be built in to pull-out awnings to increase surface area (and/or angle towards the Sun)? Could a boondocking RV with solar like this stopping for a couple weeks at a time charge enough that it never needs to be plugged in?

Water filters: There are already things like 'water makers' for filtering lake and stream water to drinkable levels. Will those become standard on boondock RVs? What about a system to similarly filter rainwater falling on the RV roof / awnings directly into the clean water tank? Could this prevent the need to hook up to fill water tanks?

Toilets: Will dry flush toilets like Laveo or Loowatt become common? Will larger electric batteries lead to use of incinerating toilets? In short, can we look forward to elimination of black water tanks?

Grey water evaporation: Will something like an evaporation table ever be built onto RVs so that you can slowly evaporate the contents of the grey water tank using sunlight (or electric heat)? Any other way that water dumping could be eliminated?

Would options like the above allow an RV to operate independently except for food coming in and garbage going out? Any way to make the RV self-sufficient on those issues as well?

Autonomous driving: There is a lot of debate about how far away this is. What about just highway autonomy? No stop signs, cross streets, pedestrians, etc... so should be much easier to automate. Could manual driving be reduced to relatively short distances on local streets while the RV could handle the longer trips on highways? Will you be able to go to sleep in Idaho and wake up with the RV having driven itself to New Mexico?

Other thoughts on coming changes?
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Old 08-01-2019, 12:02 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CBDunkerson View Post
I'm looking forward to retiring some time in the next seven years and wondering what the 'state of the art' in boondocking might look like by then. Are the advances below feasible?

Electric RVs: Will we see something like the Tesla semi battery (~1000 kWh) in RVs? As that is designed to allow a fully loaded 80,000 lb truck to travel ~500 miles could an RV weighing less than half as much go 1,000? Could a battery like that also be used to run any/all internal appliances for months at a time?

Solar RVs: Toyota is currently testing 34% efficient thin film solar cells on their Prius. Will we see something like that for RVs? Could thin film solar like this be built in to pull-out awnings to increase surface area (and/or angle towards the Sun)? Could a boondocking RV with solar like this stopping for a couple weeks at a time charge enough that it never needs to be plugged in?

Water filters: There are already things like 'water makers' for filtering lake and stream water to drinkable levels. Will those become standard on boondock RVs? What about a system to similarly filter rainwater falling on the RV roof / awnings directly into the clean water tank? Could this prevent the need to hook up to fill water tanks?

Toilets: Will dry flush toilets like Laveo or Loowatt become common? Will larger electric batteries lead to use of incinerating toilets? In short, can we look forward to elimination of black water tanks?

Grey water evaporation: Will something like an evaporation table ever be built onto RVs so that you can slowly evaporate the contents of the grey water tank using sunlight (or electric heat)? Any other way that water dumping could be eliminated?

Would options like the above allow an RV to operate independently except for food coming in and garbage going out? Any way to make the RV self-sufficient on those issues as well?

Autonomous driving: There is a lot of debate about how far away this is. What about just highway autonomy? No stop signs, cross streets, pedestrians, etc... so should be much easier to automate. Could manual driving be reduced to relatively short distances on local streets while the RV could handle the longer trips on highways? Will you be able to go to sleep in Idaho and wake up with the RV having driven itself to New Mexico?

Other thoughts on coming changes?
There's some pretty big ideas here, and I hope we see some of them. The solar on the awning is pretty decent!

On the water savings piece, I've wondered if it would be practical to have a separate stool-flushing pump. Something that pulls water out of the gray tank to flush the toilet. Obviously, that's peanuts in the overall water usage. But it seems like we'll eventually get to trying to reuse stuff more. I'd also be happy to see an aerobic septic system, at least for the gray water. Pump air into the gray tank for the microbes, then mix it with a small amount of bleach, and water the ground. Maybe something like a composting toilet for the black water.

Anyway, I hope they slowly make progress on this stuff.
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Old 08-01-2019, 12:24 PM   #3
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If you have 1000 watts on the roof, and you had full, overhead sun 10 hours every single day, how long would it take to recharge a 1000 kw battery?
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Old 08-01-2019, 01:04 PM   #4
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If you have 1000 watts on the roof, and you had full, overhead sun 10 hours every single day, how long would it take to recharge a 1000 kw battery?
1000 watts is 1 kw... which would be a very small amount for a full size RV even at 15% efficiency, let alone the 34% posited above. The tiny Toyota Prius they are testing has 860 watts. With a large RV roof and awnings covered in thin film you should be able to get ~10 kw.

In any case, 1 kw * 10 hours = 10 kWh per day. However, you're only likely to average the equivalent of about 5 hours of full sunlight.

From 10 kWh to 1000 kWh would then be 100 days.

Using the more likely 10 kw * 5 hours = 50 kWh it'd be 20 days to fully recharge from empty. So... drive a couple hundred miles, park for two weeks (BLM standard), and you're fully charged up to move on.
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Old 08-01-2019, 01:28 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CBDunkerson View Post
Electric RVs: Will we see something like the Tesla semi battery (~1000 kWh) in RVs? As that is designed to allow a fully loaded 80,000 lb truck to travel ~500 miles could an RV weighing less than half as much go 1,000? Could a battery like that also be used to run any/all internal appliances for months at a time?

Solar RVs: Toyota is currently testing 34% efficient thin film solar cells on their Prius. Will we see something like that for RVs? Could thin film solar like this be built in to pull-out awnings to increase surface area (and/or angle towards the Sun)? Could a boondocking RV with solar like this stopping for a couple weeks at a time charge enough that it never needs to be plugged in?
IMHO, neither if these will be "affordable" technologies in the next 10 years.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CBDunkerson View Post
Water filters: There are already things like 'water makers' for filtering lake and stream water to drinkable levels. Will those become standard on boondock RVs? What about a system to similarly filter rainwater falling on the RV roof / awnings directly into the clean water tank? Could this prevent the need to hook up to fill water tanks?
This exists NOW ! People who cruise the worlds oceans "make" their own water from sea water. Not likely to become "standard" on RV in the next 10 years because A) only a small percentage of RV owners boondock (except for overnight camping in a Walmart) and B) the reverse osmosis system are expensive and require a lot of power.

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Originally Posted by CBDunkerson View Post
Toilets: Will dry flush toilets like Laveo or Loowatt become common? Will larger electric batteries lead to use of incinerating toilets? In short, can we look forward to elimination of black water tanks?
Incinerating toilets exist now ! Expensive and bulky. I for one would prefer an RV without a black tank. Eithe a "composting" head or a cassette that can be emptied by hand into a rest room toilet. Most RVers, especially one that stay in on location for a long time, will not accept this inconvenience.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CBDunkerson View Post
Grey water evaporation: Will something like an evaporation table ever be built onto RVs so that you can slowly evaporate the contents of the grey water tank using sunlight (or electric heat)? Any other way that water dumping could be eliminated?
Not likely ! We consume too much water with washing things and ourselves !

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Originally Posted by CBDunkerson View Post
Autonomous driving: There is a lot of debate about how far away this is. What about just highway autonomy?
It is coming and on the highway in good weather, we are almost there !

The truck industry is currently testing "platooning" on some highways. The lead truck has the "command" driver. The second and third trucks have drivers, but they are not actually driving. Radar, sensors and radio signals have them following the lead truck.
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Old 08-01-2019, 01:39 PM   #6
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Personally, I would like to see improvements in build quality and materials. How about a 5 year "no leak" guarantee ? I have a 22 year old truck that does not leak !

Second, I think propane is "on the way out" ! With good solar, a decent size battery bank, use of modern, highly efficient DC compressors in A/C and refrigerators, inductive cook tops, microwave ovens and convection ovens (all available today) about the only "difficult" task to overcome is hot water. If you are boondocking in a warm climate, solar showers are a viable option.
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Old 08-01-2019, 01:48 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by CBDunkerson View Post
1000 watts is 1 kw... which would be a very small amount for a full size RV even at 15% efficiency, let alone the 34% posited above. The tiny Toyota Prius they are testing has 860 watts. With a large RV roof and awnings covered in thin film you should be able to get ~10 kw.

In any case, 1 kw * 10 hours = 10 kWh per day. However, you're only likely to average the equivalent of about 5 hours of full sunlight.

From 10 kWh to 1000 kWh would then be 100 days.

Using the more likely 10 kw * 5 hours = 50 kWh it'd be 20 days to fully recharge from empty. So... drive a couple hundred miles, park for two weeks (BLM standard), and you're fully charged up to move on.
I guess this assumes you do not use any electricity for camping purposes?
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Old 08-01-2019, 02:36 PM   #8
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I guess this assumes you do not use any electricity for camping purposes?
Shouldn't really be a major factor. Even if you somehow managed to use 10 kWh per day that'd still leave ~40 kWh * 14 days = ~560 kWh

If the assumption that reducing the vehicle weight by more than half would similarly decrease the energy needed to move it by half you'd be getting about 1 mile per kWh. So a two week stay on BLM land would generate enough electricity (over and above running internal appliances) for >500 miles of travel. Should be able to find another camping spot within that range.
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Old 08-01-2019, 02:45 PM   #9
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Don't park in the shade as you'll need full afternoon sun to feed those solar panels. And don't go north in the summer. Ahhh, I like to sweat!


Next, we should put screen doors on submarines. Everything's a good idea if you only think it an inch deep and have with unlimited money.
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Old 08-01-2019, 02:50 PM   #10
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Composting toilets are not without problems.
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Old 08-01-2019, 03:07 PM   #11
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Shouldn't really be a major factor. Even if you somehow managed to use 10 kWh per day that'd still leave ~40 kWh * 14 days = ~560 kWh

If the assumption that reducing the vehicle weight by more than half would similarly decrease the energy needed to move it by half you'd be getting about 1 mile per kWh. So a two week stay on BLM land would generate enough electricity (over and above running internal appliances) for >500 miles of travel. Should be able to find another camping spot within that range.
Sounds very feasible, provided you want to stay in one spot for 2 weeks and only travel 500 miles to the next spot, and of course rely on the sun shining every day. And you have tanks big enough to support that 2 week stay without moving the coach.
I am sure that would appeal to many people, But I like to move every couple of days so will wait till they have Megachargers in spots I like, before I go all electric.
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Old 08-01-2019, 04:14 PM   #12
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Composting toilets are not without problems.
...first and foremost, it makes the whole rig smell like somebody just pooped in a bucket, sooo...
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Old 08-01-2019, 06:02 PM   #13
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I don't think much will change that is boondocking specific. But the future of RV trailers could be for manufactures to sell more trailers.

People like to buy 1/2 ton trucks so the future might be for the RV trailer manufacturers to lighten the bigger trailers so people can open their wallet and buy the bigger and lighter trailers to fit their existing F-150.
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Old 08-01-2019, 06:12 PM   #14
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I'm looking forward to retiring some time in the next seven years and wondering what the 'state of the art' in boondocking might look like by then. Are the advances below feasible?

Electric RVs: Will we see something like the Tesla semi battery (~1000 kWh) in RVs? As that is designed to allow a fully loaded 80,000 lb truck to travel ~500 miles could an RV weighing less than half as much go 1,000? Could a battery like that also be used to run any/all internal appliances for months at a time?

Solar RVs: Toyota is currently testing 34% efficient thin film solar cells on their Prius. Will we see something like that for RVs? Could thin film solar like this be built in to pull-out awnings to increase surface area (and/or angle towards the Sun)? Could a boondocking RV with solar like this stopping for a couple weeks at a time charge enough that it never needs to be plugged in?

Water filters: There are already things like 'water makers' for filtering lake and stream water to drinkable levels. Will those become standard on boondock RVs? What about a system to similarly filter rainwater falling on the RV roof / awnings directly into the clean water tank? Could this prevent the need to hook up to fill water tanks?

Toilets: Will dry flush toilets like Laveo or Loowatt become common? Will larger electric batteries lead to use of incinerating toilets? In short, can we look forward to elimination of black water tanks?

Grey water evaporation: Will something like an evaporation table ever be built onto RVs so that you can slowly evaporate the contents of the grey water tank using sunlight (or electric heat)? Any other way that water dumping could be eliminated?

Would options like the above allow an RV to operate independently except for food coming in and garbage going out? Any way to make the RV self-sufficient on those issues as well?

Autonomous driving: There is a lot of debate about how far away this is. What about just highway autonomy? No stop signs, cross streets, pedestrians, etc... so should be much easier to automate. Could manual driving be reduced to relatively short distances on local streets while the RV could handle the longer trips on highways? Will you be able to go to sleep in Idaho and wake up with the RV having driven itself to New Mexico?

Other thoughts on coming changes?
Nice pipe dream: maybe in your grandkids lifetime.
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