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Old 03-22-2015, 12:56 PM   #1
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Default New videos from Sterling RV / Great West Vans

Two new videos from Sterling RV / Great West Vans

[youtube:dyy7j5fs]dSXADdIiz9Q[/youtube:dyy7j5fs]

[youtube:dyy7j5fs]5FXEjBvz8UQ[/youtube:dyy7j5fs]
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Old 03-28-2015, 01:59 PM   #2
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Default Re: New videos from Sterling RV / Great West Vans

Another new video from Sterling RV / Great West Vans:

[youtube:1p8ryy7r]ZPOYBmum4Uo[/youtube:1p8ryy7r]

The RV featured in it has an electric stove top and it has a diesel generator. There is no propane on-board. That makes it a single fuel unit.

It looks like we may settle in to 3 options for no-propane / mostly electric Class B RV's.

- batteries and engine idling
- mega sized battery bank rarely needing to idle
- batteries and diesel genset (could be gas genset in gas engined rig)

The batteries and diesel genset would be familiar technology to Class A owners who are looking to downsize. Ideally, the diesel generator needs to be quiet. I was parked in a very tight campground a few years ago right next to older but high quality Class A. The almost-on-the-beach sites were really close together. There was space for your rig with the awning extended and that was it. I could just about hear the diesel genset in my neighbor's rig running if I focused on it.
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Old 03-28-2015, 02:36 PM   #3
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Default Re: New videos from Sterling RV / Great West Vans

We have number 2 mega sized battery bank, no propane, no generator of any kind. Though we have keyless automatic auto start we pretty much know that will probably never happen with us now. Nor will we have to invoke high idle engine charging while in a campground.

One thing we opted for was a portable induction cooktop rather than a built in cooktop they show. Advanced RV will install either way. Why? For one, a built in cooktop kills the possibility of drawer space underneath it and that is where we keep our induction cooktop along with a lot of other bonus stuff. That keeps our counter top cleaner. Also, we found if the weather was good we would cook outside every chance we could. We will quit carrying our portable Coleman two burner propane grill as a result. With the mega batteries we have been using our convection oven more and more in conjunction with the cooktop in meal prep. We haven't been plugged into shore power since February 23 including in campgrounds where we have access to shore power. By not being plugged in we have found it easier to come and go during the day giving true advantage of having a Class B.

It is kind of a no-brainer way of living. The B is the same in operation whether plugged into shore power or not and there has been little attention to the batteries other than my extreme curiosity of status. Dumb me. I should read the manuals. We have been parked for a week now and Wednesday I did decide to drive to a restaurant out in the country for lunch primarily to charge the batteries. We can go 4 days parked with all systems active. The manual says when parked, just turn the inverter off at the Silverleaf screen if not using the 115v systems. The lights, heater, fans, water pump and refrigerator are on 12v and continue to operate directly from the batteries. 12v too can be turned off separately if desired.

I think lithium ion mega battery, propaneless, and no generator will be the future. Advanced RV and Roadtrek seem to think so. Great West Van is getting there. The resistance seems to come from the dealer networks and their conservative traditional sales ways to match competition such as there is no resale value without a generator, an air conditioner, electric sofa, etc.. It seems when the Roadtrek Zion was first announced Roadtrek had more ambition for it that seemingly got knocked down by dealer whinings.
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Old 03-28-2015, 03:04 PM   #4
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Default Re: New videos from Sterling RV / Great West Vans

I agree that option #2 will be the endgame. It is just going to take time. I have little doubt that, like DavyDD, our next (third) B-van will be all-electric. I think of our current GWV Legend as kind of a transitional vehicle. The only things that use propane are the cooktop and the rarely-used genset. After 9 months of usage, we are still at 83% on our first tank of propane. We could easily have eliminated propane, and seriously considered it. But, in the end, we decided that the residual benefits of retaining the propane system greatly exceeded the meager costs. It is there when we need the odd off-grid A/C and we forget about it otherwise. It was certainly vastly cheaper than getting an equivalent mega-battery system and (more importantly to us), it had much less technical risk. We just didn't want to be the pioneers with the arrows in our back WRT a Li battery system. This was a major issue 15 months ago when we were making our decisions. Would I choose differently today? Not sure. Things are a lot clearer now, and we have existence proof of practical systems. However, we are still waiting for the dust to settle, standards to be established and costs to fall. We are getting close. In the mean time, we have an almost completely 12V rig--we only use the inverter for the microwave, the Keurig, and an occasional short shot of A/C. If I can find a good 12VDC A/C retrofit, I will probably lose the genset and replace it with a Li battery, if it makes cost-effectiveness sense at the time. I am guessing two more years. We'll see.
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Old 03-29-2015, 06:37 PM   #5
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Default Re: New videos from Sterling RV / Great West Vans

Let me ask a stupid question here. Did Great West sell out, or get a new investor? Where's the Sterling RV come from? I know they are in Alabama now....
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Old 03-29-2015, 07:03 PM   #6
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Default Re: New videos from Sterling RV / Great West Vans

Quote:
Originally Posted by bobojay
Let me ask a stupid question here. Did Great West sell out, or get a new investor? Where's the Sterling RV come from? I know they are in Alabama now....
Yes, Great West was acquired from the old owner Martin H. Guertz, by Sterling Group (owned by Dave DeBraga) in 2012, when Guertz retired. Sterling was/is a manufacturer of fiberglass panels, and was a supplier to the old Great West.
http://community.fmca.com/blog/592/e...new-ownership/

DeBraga moved both companies from Winnipeg to Alabama in the Winter of 2014.

http://rv-pro.com/news/canadian-clas...ing-to-alabama

We own the very first American-made Legend.
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Old 03-29-2015, 11:03 PM   #7
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Default Re: New videos from Sterling RV / Great West Vans

I heard that Martin has health issues and that is why he sold out. Sad really because he was younger than me. But I know that he had been considering a sale or merger even before this. It is hard for small, private manufacturers to expand on their own. But I hear only good things about the new owner Dave. He is certainly willing and eager to innovate.

The move to the US confuses me. I know that a couple very bad winters up in Winnipeg started them thinking of making the move, but I wonder why they didn't head to Vancouver. So many differences between both climate and doing business, and Alabama has little history in the RV market, so limited staffing possibilities I would think. Seems rather far off the beaten path over there on the East Coast of the southern US.

But... what do I know?
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Old 03-29-2015, 11:30 PM   #8
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Default Re: New videos from Sterling RV / Great West Vans

I think that currently, option 2 is going to lead the way, but I am not so sure for how long. I don't think batteries will go away, but it could be that you would not need megasized banks unless you would be running air conditioning a lot off of batteries, and then you would need much more than is offered most places today.

I would not be surprised to see a couple of different versions of fuel cells, or other semi-mini power generating systems. Even a 120 watt generator will do 240ah per day, and if a bit larger and coupled with solar, could easily support even a total electric like Davydd has, and never need to be driven. As long as the system ran on the vehicle fuel, it could be silent, unseen, and keep you off grid as long as your fuel lasted, rain or shine. All you would need for batteries would be enough for a buffer against use. An engine generator or alternator could be the fail safe backup if other systems failed, but it would not need to be huge like the current setups.

Give me a 200watt thermal generator (or other silent mini generator that runs on vehicle fuel), 500 watts of solar, and 400ah of battery and I would be one happy camper, so to speak.

It just seems to make more sense to generate unseen, unheard,low amounts of power efficiently, to recoup your buffer, for longer times, than to generate huge amounts of power for shorter times with major systems like the van engine or a stand alone generator. Everything gets easier.
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Old 03-29-2015, 11:51 PM   #9
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Default Re: New videos from Sterling RV / Great West Vans

Quote:
Originally Posted by mumkin
I heard that Martin has health issues and that is why he sold out. Sad really because he was younger than me. But I know that he had been considering a sale or merger even before this. It is hard for small, private manufacturers to expand on their own. But I hear only good things about the new owner Dave. He is certainly willing and eager to innovate.

The move to the US confuses me. I know that a couple very bad winters up in Winnipeg started them thinking of making the move, but I wonder why they didn't head to Vancouver. So many differences between both climate and doing business, and Alabama has little history in the RV market, so limited staffing possibilities I would think. Seems rather far off the beaten path over there on the East Coast of the southern US.

But... what do I know?
Better (cheaper? non-union?) labor situation, and it's physically closer to Ladson, SC where the MB Sprinters are made in North America, might be 2 of the reasons. Different climate as mentioned might also have figured. Some existing staff might have moved with the company. I know I would. Bigger market in the States, so the chassis import to Canada issue is removed, as is the cross border component acquisition in and finished product out complexities. Overall probably much easier to manufacture a motorhome south of the border.
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Old 03-29-2015, 11:52 PM   #10
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Default Re: New videos from Sterling RV / Great West Vans

Well, I think that the long-run will be determined, not by rational market forces within the RV industry, but rather by the evolution of zero-emission cars. The RV world is a flea on the behind of the automotive elephant. The technologies will be determined by the elephant, and it will only make sense for the RV world to follow.

Right now, it looks like Tesla has the momentum, which means batteries. Elon calls fuel cells "fool cells". I'm not sure he is right, but I would think twice before I bet against him. If one of the fuel cell technologies really breaks out, the path to the future will change. Should be fun to watch.
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