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Old 02-17-2023, 11:18 AM   #1
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Thoughts on building a fully electric class A RV

Just starting some research but with a 200k budget for parts do you think it would be possible to build an RV frame/chassis only thats fully electric and capable of 500 miles?

The plan is to build a 35-40ft rig that has all 6 wheel drive and the ability to add/remove battery banks using a custom cart. This would allow me to save weight when I don't plan on long trips and even possibly carry extra banks if I need a much longer trip.

Most CG's seem to have a 220v 50amp plug, a 120v 30amp plug and a 15amp plug so I could utilize all 3 of these for charging and camping while I wait for the batteries to charge. This along with rooftop solar and a onboard generator would also work to increase charging or maximize distance.

One of the biggest issues with current RVs is we really have a need for a liftgate and would like to store a vehicle in the rear of the rig, thus eliminate the need for a trailer. Running full electric will remove the need for a rear DP engine so this is easily obtainable. I'm also thinking it'll help with the ability to store an electric vehicle that supports 2 way charging so I could utilize its battery banks to increase my distance.

I'd think having a much better distributed weight would dramatically improve ride quality and performance. I'm unsure if the weight would be more or less than traditional DP class A RV's. The plan is to develop the chassis and build it all myself then build the frame, slides and interior. The entire coach would utilize quality components like mini splits and actual insulation to maximize efficiency from the ground up.

I believe that even though its an RV it'll still apply as a kit car license so I can get it registered in my state. Need to look into the legality of all that.

Any thoughts? anything I'm missing?
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Old 02-17-2023, 11:38 AM   #2
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A joke right? $200,000 budget? You need a chassis, body, motors, massive batteries, and you would need to completely engineer all individual components to make everything function in synchronization since such a rig has never been built. . I think you’re two or three zeros short on budget.
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Old 02-17-2023, 12:15 PM   #3
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A joke right? $200,000 budget? You need a chassis, body, motors, massive batteries, and you would need to completely engineer all individual components to make everything function in synchronization since such a rig has never been built. . I think youíre two or three zeros short on budget.
You're saying it takes 10million to build a single electric RV? Where are your numbers coming from?

This is not including body or anything interior just chassis components.

Lets break it down.

Steel frame 30k
Steering and suspension components 20k
front electric drive engines 30k
Rear electric drive engines 50k
misc electrical 10k
misc other 10k

That gives me 50k for batteries. Tesla semi has 850kWh and most car EVs have 100kWh. 500kWh should be more than plenty and would cost right about $50k. I can start with 100kWh then add packs as I go.


There's not much synchronization or difference for a car vs RV and in reality I could just go with a dual motor setup in the rear. I don't need to engineer anything different than what ZF has already built and sold for multiple EV delivery trucks.

RV's don't have the issue that commercial trucks do with needing to refuel constantly. They're prime for EV... its just the industry is 10 years behind on everything.
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Old 02-17-2023, 12:15 PM   #4
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Here you are. You can get this one for 2.4 million. Itís not all electric but for another 200k, you could possibly remove the motor and drag an extra battery. I donít believe most CG will let you charge on their nickel. Have fun.
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Old 02-17-2023, 12:49 PM   #5
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Just a few random thoughts:

1) Seems strange to me to create a mostly electric RV that has a generator (diesel??) to charge its batteries. Why not replace the generator with more batteries?
2) Seems like overkill to have 6 wheel drive, I'd stick with 2 wheel drive to require less battery capacity, lower the weight and make the build much simpler. Seems like the front steering axle would be much easier without motors attached.
3) Charging the RV from an electric car that you carry? I'd stick with towing the car, there simply is not enough room to carry it and if you use the car's battery to run the RV then when you get to your destination the car battery is exhausted and you sit there.
4) I doubt campgrounds will let you charge that rig and even if they do I'm not sure you could hook up to all three receptacles at the same time without overloading the box.
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Old 02-17-2023, 12:50 PM   #6
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If all the components you needed were off the shelf and ready to go, you MIGHT be able to build one for $200K. However, you're talking all custom parts. Just the time/labor to convert a truck chassis, add wiring and weld up battery bays would run $200K.

I don't know enough about electric vehicles, but I have a pretty simple idea. Take a coach like mine, a diesel pusher with an 8K or 10K generator, remove the engine and rear end and install electric motors on the rear duals and fill the area where the engine was located with a battery bank. Use the batteries until they start to deplete and then run the generator to recharge them. It wouldn't be an electric vehicle but would probably get pretty good mileage as a hybrid. Who knows, maybe 20mpg.
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Old 02-17-2023, 12:55 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Dutch Star Don View Post
If all the components you needed were off the shelf and ready to go, you MIGHT be able to build one for $200K. However, you're talking all custom parts. Just the time/labor to convert a truck chassis, add wiring and weld up battery bays would run $200K.

I don't know enough about electric vehicles, but I have a pretty simple idea. Take a coach like mine, a diesel pusher with an 8K or 10K generator, remove the engine and rear end and install electric motors on the rear duals and fill the area where the engine was located with a battery bank. Use the batteries until they start to deplete and then run the generator to recharge them. It wouldn't be an electric vehicle but would probably get pretty good mileage as a hybrid. Who knows, maybe 20mpg.
This seems much more logical. Kinda like the classic car electric conversions some are doing.
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Old 02-17-2023, 12:56 PM   #8
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Please let us know how it turns out.
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Old 02-17-2023, 01:07 PM   #9
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Can't speak the construction question but a red flag went up at this part: "Most CG's seem to have a 220v 50amp plug, a 120v 30amp plug and a 15amp plug so I could utilize all 3 of these for charging and camping while I wait for the batteries to charge."

The big unknown is exactly how these plugs are tied together so by using all three you may risk overloading the pedestal. I've also seen campgrounds with signs on the power box restricting outlet use to one outlet only. Just a couple FYIs.
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Old 02-17-2023, 01:16 PM   #10
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Here you are. You can get this one for 2.4 million. Itís not all electric but for another 200k, you could possibly remove the motor and drag an extra battery. I donít believe most CG will let you charge on their nickel. Have fun.
They'd have to let me charge, its no different than if I was using shore for daily use, as long as I don't trip the breakers I'll be good. Now I don't know if they actually allow all 3 breakers to be used or if its just 240v/50a max server with different breakers for different conections. Even a 240/50a allows 12kWh per hour so 288kWh for 24 hours.

My real question is about how much kWh is it per 100 miles for a 20,000 lb RV?
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Old 02-17-2023, 01:23 PM   #11
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The first time a campground gets the bill for charging a massive RV battery will be the last time that happens. More than likely you’d have to charge at a metered station designed to charge a massive battery that size. Which doesn’t exist, so good luck with that. I’ve no doubt that ev’s are in our future but I think we’re getting the cart out in front of the horse. Let’s get the urban/local thing solved first. As it is, outside of CA. and a few other areas a long trip in an ev isn’t happening.
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Old 02-17-2023, 01:25 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by burgmark View Post
Just a few random thoughts:

1) Seems strange to me to create a mostly electric RV that has a generator (diesel??) to charge its batteries. Why not replace the generator with more batteries?
2) Seems like overkill to have 6 wheel drive, I'd stick with 2 wheel drive to require less battery capacity, lower the weight and make the build much simpler. Seems like the front steering axle would be much easier without motors attached.
3) Charging the RV from an electric car that you carry? I'd stick with towing the car, there simply is not enough room to carry it and if you use the car's battery to run the RV then when you get to your destination the car battery is exhausted and you sit there.
4) I doubt campgrounds will let you charge that rig and even if they do I'm not sure you could hook up to all three receptacles at the same time without overloading the box.
thank you so much.
1. Genny allows me to boondock and charge while driving. Also if I run low on range I could stop at a rest area for sometime (overnight or so) and get enough charge. Also another question is am I able to get enough power from the genny to drive unlimited miles using diesel (I used to have a Chevy Volt and this is kinda how it operates).
2. yes but I'm thinking I could use smaller motors since I'll have 4 and might be a TON more expensive to have only 1/2 motors instead of just using 4 Tesla motors.
3. This is more for my specific needs. I typically day trip and use an enclosed trailer to haul items, so having a liftgate and garage in the rear fits my needs better. Plus having the vehicle in the RV keeps me under 40ft which many CG's have a limit of.
4. i think you're right with overloading the box. haven't tested but they still can't stop me and wouldn't really even know. I've seen multiple people charge their EV cars at CGs. Even follow a couple people who use a Rivian as their tow vehicle
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Old 02-17-2023, 01:28 PM   #13
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Sounds like a project. Let use know how it comes together.
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Old 02-17-2023, 01:30 PM   #14
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The first time a campground gets the bill for charging a massive RV battery will be the last time that happens. More than likely youíd have to charge at a metered station designed to charge a massive battery that size. Which doesnít exist, so good luck with that. Iíve no doubt that evís are in our future but I think weíre getting the cart out in front of the horse. Letís get the urban/local thing solved first. As it is, outside of CA. and a few other areas a long trip in an ev isnít happening.
How is a CG going to know I'm EV or using large amounts of power? They don't meter every pedestal and I'm only making this for ME and I figure i have a good decade before others start making it and it becomes an issue.

BTW charging 100kWh at normal east cost electricty rates $.10 is only $10. so 500kWh full charge would be $50. I doubt a CG would notice this at all
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