Everything You Want to Know About the Road Chief’s Electrical System
You probably know that the Bowlus Road Chief has the longest-lasting battery on the market. But did you know it has the most flexible charging options, as well? Here’s everything you want to know (and didn’t know you wanted to know) about the Road Chief’s electrical system.
The Bowlus Power Management System
We were the first travel trailer manufacturer to develop a lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) battery solution. The Bowlus Power Management System is noted for its usable capacity and cycle life. LiFePO4 battery can drop to 20% capacity. The traditional lead-acid batteries found in other RVs can only drop to 50% before inflicting damage on the battery. LiFePO4 batteries last 8-10 years; lead-acid batteries only last 2-5 years.
The LiFePO4 technology features integrated cell balancing and cell monitoring for optimum protection. In other words, you don’t have to worry about damaging the Road Chief’s battery because the battery is able to communicate with the Bowlus Power Management System. This system will dynamically manage charge, shutting off charging if necessary.
The Solar Energy
All Bowlus Road Chiefs come solar power enabled. Other travel trailers place solar power on the roof, but we don’t want to compromise the Road Chief’s aerodynamics. Instead, we recommend portable solar panels. This keeps the center of gravity low, and as a result, makes for better handling. The portable solar panels are about the size of a small suitcase and conveniently fold and store in the closet.
They’re also more flexible than rooftop solar. For instance, you can leave panels at home for shorter trips. Our panels can easily be turned toward the sun for maximum absorption. That also means you don’t have to leave your Road Chief in the sun. We love when we can park in the shade and run the solar panel out into the sun via the connection (it’s the best of both worlds!). Field testing shows that the solar panels can generate 30-50 AMPs, which is ample energy to—for instance—run the lights, operate the refrigerator/freezer and charge your laptop. Our appliances are incredibly efficient, so our customers have found that when its sunny, they can generate the amount of solar energy they would typically use in a day.
Our solar controller has maximum power tracking (MPPT), so these panels harvest much more energy than typical solar controllers. The solar controller can communicate with the LiFePO4 batteries because it’s integrated with the entire Bowlus Power Management System. You can even monitor your solar harvest with your cell phone.
The Charging Options
When it comes to charging, you have a host of charging options at your fingertips. You can easily charge your Road Chief from your tow vehicle via the 7-pin connector while you are en route to your destination. Additionally, a 15 AMP circuit is all you need to juice up. That means you can run all your appliances off of a basic household outlet. Of course, the Road Chief can easily be charged with 30A service, as well as with any of the outlets found at campsites. If you have plans to use a lot of energy (e.g., you want to run your A/C for an extended length of time off-grid), you can easily add a 2,000-watt generator to your Road Chief.
The Road Chief’s revolutionary electrical system is one of the components that make it such an incredible adventure companion. Most RV batteries will only give you a day or two off-grid. The Endless Highways Edition can give you up to two week off-grid! The Bowlus Power Management System makes it simple to monitor your energy, while options like the 7-pin connector and solar panels make it easy to generate more.
Take charge of your adventures,
Bowlus Road Chief