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Old 07-04-2022, 08:29 AM   #1
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Airstreams New E1 Package

Wow, here is a welcomed improvement and major change for Airstream Interstates. Good on you Airstream. Boxster1971 mentioned this and I decided to take a look.

Very impressive and about time! Hopefully itís not a bumpy rollout and they can get all the kinks worked out. No, not on the Volta side but on the Airstream install side like they did with the Lithium rollout.

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Old 07-04-2022, 08:38 AM   #2
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Price

From the New Atlas site:

The E1 package is available as an optional add-on that tacks US$24,700 onto Airstream touring coach base prices that range from $200,681 for the Interstate 19 to $289,911 for the Atlas motorhome. The package promises to be a particularly valuable addition for the off-road/off-grid-focused Interstate 24X adventure camper Airstream introduced last year.
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Old 07-04-2022, 10:01 AM   #3
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Sounds like they are finally moving into the 21st century with this power system, but bear in mind theyíve never built anything like this before at Airstream. Iím excited, and hereís hoping it goes well. OTOH, the price tag also gives me a cost to shoot for and beat if I have an existing coach upgraded to meet or beat these specs.
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Old 07-04-2022, 12:13 PM   #4
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Hi

This system ( the 56V alternator and 250AH 48V batteries) has been going into other vans for a while now. It appears that it works.

Tradeoff's involved:

1) The cost isn't exactly trivial

2) It's big and heavy. You loose the generator and propene to make room for it. Is that a net weight gain? In most implementations, the answer appears to be that it does add weight.

3) Charging off shore power (in some implementations) isn't exactly fast. They don't seem to say what they did in this department. I'd want to know a bit more there.

4) The Timberline heater stops working when the diesel fuel tank hits 1/4 full. Pulling into the campsite near empty and doing your fill up tomorrow ... not so much. I now have a *lot* of empirical data on this one

5) No more outlet to run propane to the grill

6) As with any Lithium setup, charging when it's really cold means heaters. Again, no details at this point on how they did that part.

7) Looking at the beast, they seem to plan to drop it in under the van right where the generator sits on previous models. What that does clearance wise or "rock damage" wise .... only time will tell. Good news is you don't loose a lot of internal space.

8) The power to spin that great big alternator is "non zero". You aren't going to go up hills any faster when it's trying to put 6.8KW into the battery .... Since it's fully independent, you also don't have all the nutty tradeoff's against the MB specs on their stock alternator.

So, who wants to be an alpha tester ... errr early adopter ... errr first victim . With the X, I am caulking up a lot of points in all those categories.

Bob
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Old 07-04-2022, 01:02 PM   #5
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Bob, as always very great points but I would 100% be an Alpha Tester (or first victim) for Airstream if they would actually welcome my feedback and make some changes to correct or improve things but chances are slim to none so ARV is still my choice as a replacement for now. However, love that Airstream is actually looking forward.

I can deal with most of the tradeoffs you listed. Losing the generator is probably the one that would bother me the most and make many others happy. I like having the additional option of charging my batteries via the generator. We don't use the propane two burner stove if ever. The wife actually wants me to put in an induction cooktop and remove the propane burner stovetop and I might very well do this MOD soon. I saw James from the Fit RV do it and I would kinda follow his lead. We now even have an electric Blackstone griddle with a ceramic top as our traveling grill that's easy to clean and love it. With the lithium bank we could afford to have it.

As for the heaters on the batteries, they should be able to get this worked out or
at the very least put in batteries with built in heaters.

And yes, not being able to to run your furnace or hot water heater at a campground would be a PITA but not if you're on the road or Boondocking as your planning ahead for this so that's not a real big deal for me.

Another biggy for me that's not mentioned is any type of four season protection for onboard tanks but I could be wrong. Again, IMHO Airstream not going for that complete dunk shot! However, they're trying to move forward so I'll give them a lot of credit for it.
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Old 07-04-2022, 01:31 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by StogieMan View Post
Bob, as always very great points but I would 100% be an Alpha Tester (or first victim) for Airstream if they would actually welcome my feedback and make some changes to correct or improve things but chances are slim to none so ARV is still my choice as a replacement for now. However, love that Airstream is actually looking forward.

I can deal with most of the tradeoffs you listed. Losing the generator is probably the one that would bother me the most and make many others happy. I like having the additional option of charging my batteries via the generator. We don't use the propane two burner stove if ever. The wife actually wants me to put in an induction cooktop and remove the propane burner stovetop and I might very well do this MOD soon. I saw James from the Fit RV do it and I would kinda follow his lead. We now even have an electric Blackstone griddle with a ceramic top as our traveling grill that's easy to clean and love it. With the lithium bank we could afford to have it.

As for the heaters on the batteries, they should be able to get this worked out or
at the very least put in batteries with built in heaters.

And yes, not being able to to run your furnace or hot water heater at a campground would be a PITA but not if you're on the road or Boondocking as your planning ahead for this so that's not a real big deal for me.

Another biggy for me that's not mentioned is any type of four season protection for onboard tanks but I could be wrong. Again, IMHO Airstream not going for that complete dunk shot! However, they're trying to move forward so I'll give them a lot of credit for it.
Hi

Alpha tester =

1) You get to see all the problems

2) You can report the problems if you wish

3) AS will incorporate the fixes a couple years down the road. It's up to you to deal with the issues that creates. The fixes will not retrofit to the van you have.

( I have a long list of "observations" in this department ).

Four season tanks? Not if it gets cold where you are camping. That's simply not in the cards for any van I've seen/

Battery heaters do exist. They typically give you another ten degrees of "room" for charging. Instead of charging stopping at 30 to 35 degrees it stops somewhere in the 20 to 25 degree range. Since the beast is hanging out under the van ( I assume ....), it's going to get the full blast of outside air. While you are moving down the road, that's a lot of air .... Other outfits put all the stuff inside the van. It takes up a lot of space the way they do it.

Bob
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Old 07-04-2022, 10:16 PM   #7
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Hi

Alpha tester =

1) You get to see all the problems

2) You can report the problems if you wish

3) AS will incorporate the fixes a couple years down the road. It's up to you to deal with the issues that creates. The fixes will not retrofit to the van you have.

( I have a long list of "observations" in this department ).

Four season tanks? Not if it gets cold where you are camping. That's simply not in the cards for any van I've seen/

Battery heaters do exist. They typically give you another ten degrees of "room" for charging. Instead of charging stopping at 30 to 35 degrees it stops somewhere in the 20 to 25 degree range. Since the beast is hanging out under the van ( I assume ....), it's going to get the full blast of outside air. While you are moving down the road, that's a lot of air .... Other outfits put all the stuff inside the van. It takes up a lot of space the way they do it.

Bob
Bob, that was my one caveat on being an Alpha tester on the repair work and getting it fixed. Not fixing them on my unit and waiting for a fix down the road on someone else's unit or me fixing them myself - nope, I'm tired of fixing their crap so I'll pass!
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Old 07-05-2022, 04:07 AM   #8
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This sounds very similar to the newer units being put in semi cabs to power the heat and a/c. I had one and thought it was great - quiet operation and I was usually able to run the a/c all night on the battery. Wonder if it will be set up to automatically start the engine when needed to recharge the batteries?
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Old 07-05-2022, 05:42 AM   #9
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GT with E1 and 4WD = $272,970 per their configuration web page. No option for air suspension (I declined the leveling option in the pick list).

If I were going to spend that kind of money, I'm not sure I'd pick Airstream as my builder.
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Old 07-05-2022, 07:29 AM   #10
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Do I understand this right: $25,000 for a system that might run the a/c for one night?
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Old 07-05-2022, 07:30 AM   #11
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Agreed. When the price point nearly cracks $300k, Iím thinking keep what I have, patiently shop- eventually buying something used and then upgrading it (again), or buy new from a company like ARV. In my book no Airstream product is worth that new price, even with a Volta system.
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Old 07-05-2022, 12:11 PM   #12
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Do I understand this right: $25,000 for a system that might run the a/c for one night?
Hi

How long it runs the A/C is highly dependent on the duty cycle. If the unit comes on for 10 minutes every three hours .... it'll run for a couple of days. If it's really hot and the unit runs and runs and runs, you probably will not make it through a day.

The same limit applies to running the A/C off a generator. Most of them have a very finite fuel supply.

As mentioned in another post: Some of these setups will fire up the van engine to recharge the system. Since that's idle time on the engine, this may or may not be an ideal thing to do. Some brands add that feature, others do not. Just what AS is going to do ... who knows .... Recharge is a couple hours of run time each "start up" so the idle hours could add up pretty fast.

Bob
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Old 07-05-2022, 12:57 PM   #13
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Hi

How long it runs the A/C is highly dependent on the duty cycle. If the unit comes on for 10 minutes every three hours .... it'll run for a couple of days. If it's really hot and the unit runs and runs and runs, you probably will not make it through a day.

The same limit applies to running the A/C off a generator. Most of them have a very finite fuel supply.

As mentioned in another post: Some of these setups will fire up the van engine to recharge the system. Since that's idle time on the engine, this may or may not be an ideal thing to do. Some brands add that feature, others do not. Just what AS is going to do ... who knows .... Recharge is a couple hours of run time each "start up" so the idle hours could add up pretty fast.

Bob
Thanks, that analysis is helpful. I am not familiar with the power requirements of the vans, but aside from the a/c demands, that setup would seem to run everything else off-grid for quite a long time.
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Old 07-05-2022, 03:13 PM   #14
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The video mentions a 6,900w alternator dedicated to this system. That's pretty robust and will be able to push quite a bit of charge to the batteries in short order. Wouldn't take all that much idle time to accomplish enough charge to keep things cool inside.
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Old 07-05-2022, 06:53 PM   #15
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The video mentions a 6,900w alternator dedicated to this system. That's pretty robust and will be able to push quite a bit of charge to the batteries in short order. Wouldn't take all that much idle time to accomplish enough charge to keep things cool inside.
Yeah, but it doesn't mention what RPMs are required to produce that 6900w, does it need 6000 RPM? How much can it produce at idle? 1000w, 2000w, I doubt 3000w. My guess would be 3000-4000w driving down the highway around 2000 RPMs.
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Old 07-05-2022, 07:08 PM   #16
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Yeah, but it doesn't mention what RPMs are required to produce that 6900w, does it need 6000 RPM? How much can it produce at idle? 1000w, 2000w, I doubt 3000w. My guess would be 3000-4000w driving down the highway around 2000 RPMs.
It doesn't say, but I'm going to guess that it's making power at a much lower RPM than that. There are alternators which produce their power at much lower RPMs and I suspect that that's what this second alternator will be. Doesn't make much sense to include an alternator dedicated to charging house batteries which can't charge them while camping.
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Old 07-06-2022, 06:00 AM   #17
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It doesn't say, but I'm going to guess that it's making power at a much lower RPM than that. There are alternators which produce their power at much lower RPMs and I suspect that that's what this second alternator will be. Doesn't make much sense to include an alternator dedicated to charging house batteries which can't charge them while camping.
Did some more reading and found this:

The aforementioned second 51-volt alternator allows for the batteries to be recharged to 30 percent capacity after just 20 minutes of driving and a full charge in just 2 hours.
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Old 07-06-2022, 06:16 AM   #18
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Any mention of charge rate at idle? Ir, possibly it has a fast idle setting for times charging is needed?
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Old 07-06-2022, 06:22 AM   #19
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Any mention of charge rate at idle? Ir, possibly it has a fast idle setting for times charging is needed?
No. Itís really hard to find the hard details. Just what Airstream put out thatís recycled across articles.

Iíll keep digging though.
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Old 07-06-2022, 07:28 AM   #20
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Airstreams New E1 Package

Iím not defending AS, but folks arenít thinking about real use cases for this system, just coming up with extreme examples in an effort to show that the existing truly terrible Class B power configurations are better than this one.

MB cautions against idling a Sprinter. That isnít new information.

However, a realistic Class B scenario should not include a toad or an assumption that the van sits in a campsite for days at a time like a trailer or a big Class C / A with a toad. It should instead include driving the van as part of the scenario, because anywhere one goes on adventures to reach trail heads or scenic destinations or even just grocery & laundry that donít involve getting there via a bicycle or a hike will involve driving, which will charge the van via that big alternator and any solar thatís on the roof.

If you prefer a pair of insufficient batteries, a noisy generator, a propane subsystem, RV parks with shore power, etc., then this isnít the system for you. If you prefer greater energy independence, no propane subsystem to worry about, etc. then this is the kind of system you should be demanding in whatever camper you consider. Itís that simple, really.
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