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Old 05-07-2017, 07:18 AM   #61
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I am really looking forward to reading your experiences.

There's a huge drive towards electrical/solar/hybrid power everywhere - in the boating world, the first fully solar powered bluewater catamaran has just hit the market, with a sustained and unlimited cruising speed of 7 knots and a max speed of 18 knots, albeit with limited solar range - after running at that speed for four hours, the genset would need to kick in. Regardless, hat's huge news.

In the U.K., hybrid drives are making inroads with the very traditional canal boats they have over there - really the RVs of the water, with increasing numbers of people living in them full time and exploring 2200 miles of navigable canals and waterways. If you've got 50' of flat boat roof to play with, then panels can make a very measurable contribution indeed to battery charge.

I can't wait for this tech to hit the RV market.
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Old 06-21-2017, 06:45 PM   #62
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Hi Charlie,
As a fellow X5 40e (2016) owner I'm very curious to hear your experience with towing the 23D Airstream. The Mrs. and I are looking at a 23FB, but we're unsure how the bimmer will hold up to the weight of the Airstream.

Any insight you have and specifics on the hitch you had installed by Can-Am would be greatly appreciated.

Cheers
Matt
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Old 06-22-2017, 01:01 PM   #63
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Hi All,

Well we had a great experience, after flying to Spartanburg, SC, of taking delivery of our new X5 Xdrive40e at the BMW factory on our 41st wedding anniversary. We immediately headed north out of Greenville on Why 276 (with no trailer of course), which winds its tight twisty way up to the Blue Ridge Parkway to an elevation above 5000 ft. We were immediately impressed with this car. It's acceleration and handling performance completely outclasses that of the Xdrive35d diesel we owned for 5 1/2 years. We put on 5400 miles for our return to Seattle, visiting CanAm RV on the way for hitch installation and reinforcement and also visiting friends and family on our circuitous route home.

Yesterday I towed our 23D for the first time, after modifying our mirrors and adjusting the hitch. I only drove 8 1/2 miles round trip over moderate terrain to a flat, level parking lot where I could set up the spring bars for our WD hitch, as well as check ball height. I drove there with the bars off, and returned with them on and optimized. My first impression was to laugh at myself for ever doubting that this electric hybrid might tow our trailer. Of course I have yet to tackle a mountain pass or a freeway at 65 mph - stay tuned for those reports.

My experience so far:
- The rig is very stable at low speed (< 45 mph) even without bars. I think the 255-50-19 run flat tires and using the "Sport" driving mode (chassis only, not drivetrain) contribute to reducing the slight pitch and sway experienced (without WD bars) with our 2012 diesel. With the WD bars installed, this rig is poised and graceful up to 45 mph.
- I was keeping up with moderate traffic most of the way, with several traffic lights. The car was in all electric mode most of the way, with the gas engine coming on only twice for a few seconds. My brake controller is adjusted pretty low (i will sort this out later) so the trailer weight does add to battery charging from braking - to partially make up for the increased torque demand from acceleration. I estimate my all-electric range is reduced from about 15 to 18 mi down to maybe 10 mi when towing the 23D under these conditions.

Mashley,

I picked up the wiring harness and trailer module from the Parts counter at BMW dealer. CanAm RV installed these plus a Curt Class III hitch receiver, and they reinforced the hitch by welding on a structural steel tube from the receiver to the body structure at a point between the rear axel wishbones. The purpose of the reinforcement is to comfortably handle the pitch load imposed by using WD hitch. The WD is necessary for the 23D, which has higher tongue weight than the 23FB. While you might get by for a while without WD towing the 23FB, I highly recommend that you use WD. I will soon post more about the hitch, Andy Thompson and the rest of the great team at CanAM RV.

More to come, as we will take the A/S to Portland tomorrow, then out to the coast for a couple days.

Charlie
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Old 06-22-2017, 02:09 PM   #64
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Mashley - we tow the FB using a 35i and have experienced no problems. We rarely extend into the high end of the HP curve. Additionally, we find the rig's manouverability to be excellent. Nice to be able to turn around in a parking lot, make a u-turn at an intersection and not worry about backing into a nice site. Suspect you will work the 40e a bit harder on interstate entry, two lane passing and mountain climbs with the weight of 23FB, but I'll bet you'll make it if you practice a conservative approach. The use of battery as a boost sounds like the solution to making it all work.

If you assume the FB will have a lighter tongue weight than the D/CB, it does, but not without care in loading. You'll want to tow light to make the pull easier for the 40e, so carry only a little fresh water and make it a practice to dump before you move on. The FB has a lot of space under the bed frame, but use it sparingly or you will end up with a significant add to the tongue weight. You can tune the load out by moving batteries under the bed, changing out the steel LPG tanks to aluminum (only saves about 10 lbs) and traveling without the spare or carry it inside the coach.

If after you give it some thought you are still concerned, the 22 Sport is a very similar layout to the 23FB.

Good luck with your research. Pat
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Old 06-27-2017, 09:45 PM   #65
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Our hybrid did a great job of towing the 23D from Seattle to Portland, to the Oregon coast, then back through southwest Washington to Seattle for about 560 miles. The car is definitely NOT underpowered. Our gas mileage (towing the 23D) was comparable to our previous diesel. Towing at 55mph, no wind, A/C on, we got 18+ mpg. At 65mph, A/C on, this dropped to 16.5 mpg. Towing home with lots of (yuck) slow traffic, we got 15+ mpg.

With an overnight charge at Fort Stevens, our sightseeing trip (not towing) to Astoria got about 50 mpg.

Stability and ride quality were stress-free and confidence-inspiring - as we expect from the X5.

We camped at Fort Stevens State Park for two nights. The second night a ranger came by and apologetically informed us that Oregon State Park policy is no charging of electric vehicles. Has anyone encountered this in other locations? Hopefully this policy will change soon.

So far I would not hesitate to highly recommend this car for towing a trailer this size.

Charlie
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Old 06-27-2017, 10:55 PM   #66
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That is a very interesting policy. Can understand an increase in fees, but the exclusion is quite odd. Do you suppose there is a concern that significant EV charging would drive the need for electrical upgrades to keep the park's power grid out of overload? Pat
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Old 07-01-2017, 11:59 AM   #67
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Pat,

I have no idea, The X5 draws only 16 amps, and in Oregon would charge for a little over $1 in electricity. Some other vehicles might trip the breaker if not setup properly - I don't really know. This ranger was very polite and was apologetic, and he did not know the reason for the policy.

I am pretty sure that electric vehicles will become more prevalent in the future, and the opportunities for charging will increase. In this case, my stock charging cable was a bit short, so I was parked with front wheels off the paved pad - that is what attracted the ranger on his "drive by." I now have a heavy extension cord, so as not to draw attention to myself - I do not expect further trouble. But of course, if asked, I will gracefully comply with the rules.

My motivation for charging is it gives us about 10 free miles (towing, or maybe 15 mi not towing) without burning gas - so for a 200 mile towing trip our mileage would save 5% of fuel and emissions.

I will report further experiences in the future.

Charlie
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Old 07-01-2017, 01:13 PM   #68
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Thanks for the background. Sounds like it really is not a major problem for you, but certainly would require a extra stop for the all electric folks.

Travel safe. Pat
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Old 07-02-2017, 01:48 PM   #69
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Originally Posted by aircampr View Post
The second night a ranger came by and apologetically informed us that Oregon State Park policy is no charging of electric vehicles. Has anyone encountered this in other locations? Hopefully this policy will change soon.
This is bizarre, and in my opinion, short sighted. We stayed at La Pine State Park and a ranger came to chat with me while my X was charging. He didn't say anything about it.

If it's cost they're worried about, I'm happy to pay extra. Though, I look at the variety of campers and motorcoaches and think about the variety of electricity consumption that already exists.

I will reach out to the Oregon Parks department and get some clarity on this, as well as provide my feedback. Happy to add a $10 charge to camping or whatever. It's possible they're concerned about burned up breakers from EVs that don't dial down amperage.
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Old 07-06-2017, 08:41 PM   #70
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Would appreciate some clarity on the issue. Can't believe it is good policy long term. However, there may be a valid issue that should be addressed. Thanks for inquiring. Pat
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Old 07-13-2017, 11:59 AM   #71
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Would appreciate some clarity on the issue. Can't believe it is good policy long term. However, there may be a valid issue that should be addressed. Thanks for inquiring. Pat
I received a response from the Oregon State Parks department today. Here it is.

Quote:
Im not sure who you got your information from but let me assure you that there is no policy at Oregon State Parks that would prohibit a camper with an EV from charging it in the campsite. In fact Oregon State Parks encourages and fully supports the use of alternate energy sources. As you point out, the amperage of the power box at some campsites may limit the ability to charge a vehicle, but we have no policies that would stop a camper from plugging in. If you rent a hook-up site you can use the power for whatever you choose, including charging an EV. Thanks for asking and giving us a chance to clear up any misconceptions.
I'm happy to see this response.
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Old 07-13-2017, 09:19 PM   #72
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That is very good news. Certainly, makes for a much more positive image of the Oregon State Parks Department. Thanks for reaching out to them for clarification. Wonderful! Pat
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Old 07-24-2017, 06:31 PM   #73
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Thanks for following up, Ohmman. Glad to hear that our ranger must have been misinformed.

Charlie
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Old 07-24-2017, 06:43 PM   #74
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A further report: From home near Seattle we took the A/S over Snoqualmie pass, and several other long uphill grades, in a trip to the Horse Heaven Hills for wine tasting. Then we went to Madras, OR to scout eclipse viewing locations, returning over the Cascades on US26 to Portland and north back to Seattle.

At no time did we feel the X5 hybrid was lacking in power or performance. Our average towing mileage was 16.6 mpg, which is a bit better than our previous X5 diesel. Towing range was about 350 mi. And local mileage, not towing, with overnight charging, was from 40's to 70's mpg. As we anticipated, local driving at home burns very little gas (sometime none for days).

Charlie
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Old 07-24-2017, 06:45 PM   #75
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Great news. Thanks for the reports. It's a true benefit when the tow vehicle can be ultra efficient when used in its most common form - untethered.
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Old 08-10-2017, 11:56 AM   #76
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Hi Charlie:

Hybrids are great in city driving since the generator is used for braking. And that means that your batteries get recharged. But hybrids add very little in highway driving as they are mostly dead weight.

If you plan to tow in the city, with lots of stop and go's, then a hybrid, with the awesome torque, would be great. But if you will be towing on a highway, then you'll be driving with dead batteries and you won't like the torque of the base engine.

Just my 2 cents, Dave


I'm not familiar with the BMW hybrid but I can tell you that is NOT true of all hybrids. I have a Camry Hybrid (no. It's not used for towing). On the highway the electric side of the equation is very active. Every time you let off the gas- even a little- you're charging the batteries. When you get back on the gas, the electric motor kicks in. It provides great additional torque for passing. I'm told the Prius models are pretty anemic. Not so for the Camry Hybrid. I put a LOT of highway miles on mine.
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Old 08-12-2017, 01:57 PM   #77
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I'm not familiar with the BMW hybrid but I can tell you that is NOT true of all hybrids. I have a Camry Hybrid (no. It's not used for towing). On the highway the electric side of the equation is very active. Every time you let off the gas- even a little- you're charging the batteries. When you get back on the gas, the electric motor kicks in. It provides great additional torque for passing. I'm told the Prius models are pretty anemic. Not so for the Camry Hybrid. I put a LOT of highway miles on mine.
Yes the BMW benefits greatly from the electric drive system. The battery is never "dead" because it can be charged by braking/coasting and also direct from the gas engine (with smart and flexible software control). The motor boosts the torque of what would otherwise be an underpowered 4 cyl 2 liter engine. It also assists to reduce fuel consumption. For performance, this car wipes the road with our previous 6cyl diesel. It is true that mpg advantage diminishes with increasing range, but performance has never been lacking.

Dave, I shared similar misgivings when I started this thread. But they were unwarranted.

Charlie
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Old 08-13-2017, 06:31 AM   #78
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Yes the BMW benefits greatly from the electric drive system. The battery is never "dead" because it can be charged by braking/coasting and also direct from the gas engine (with smart and flexible software control). The motor boosts the torque of what would otherwise be an underpowered 4 cyl 2 liter engine. It also assists to reduce fuel consumption. For performance, this car wipes the road with our previous 6cyl diesel. It is true that mpg advantage diminishes with increasing range, but performance has never been lacking.

Dave, I shared similar misgivings when I started this thread. But they were unwarranted.

Charlie
is the BMW a plug-in hybrid?
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Old 08-13-2017, 10:22 AM   #79
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is the BMW a plug-in hybrid?
Yes, with a limited full-electric range.
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Old 08-13-2017, 11:04 AM   #80
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https://www.bmwusa.com/vehicles/bmwi.html

However, if you prefer all electric, they can help you with that solution too. Pat
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