Global energy company Cummins is investigating how RVs can reduce their reliance on gasoline while harnessing all the off-grid power they need to run camping equipment and supplies around camp. Its new hybrid concept seamlessly combines battery storage and gas-fired power generation to reduce noise and emissions while providing power for days.
Much like RV manufacturers have done themselves for years, Cummins starts its electrical system with a large lithium-ion recreational battery designed to store enough energy to operate a variety of on-board camper equipment on or off the grid. Rather than relying solely on solar panels and charging the vehicle alternator to keep the 6.7kWh battery topped up, Cummins adds a 2.8kW Onan QG 2800i petrol generator to ensure the batteries don’t run out be discharged.
According to Cummins, the combination offers the same overall performance as a 5kW generator, but with less noise, emissions and vibration. The batteries operate silently, while the QG 2800i has been designed to run efficiently with less noise and vibration than larger generators. A spec sheet comparison puts the noise level of the 2800i at 65 dB(A) compared to 69 dB(A) for the 5.5 kW Onan QG 5500 RV generator set.
The third component of the Cummins concept is a power distribution hub that manages the output and input from the dual power sources. It houses inverters, converters and charging hardware in a compact housing. The system is also solar compatible, supporting up to 500 watts of solar input.
Cummins doesn’t mention any specific plans to launch its hybrid system, framing it as part of its broader exploration of RV power solutions designed to propel the market toward a net-zero future. The concept meets the 2024 California Air Resources Board (CARB) requirements for small off-road engines (SORE).
The latest CARB SORE measures, approved in late 2021, require that small “off-road” engines, such as those used in leaf blowers and lawnmowers, produce zero emissions in new MY2024+ units sold in California. Restrictions on portable generators, including those used for RVs, don’t need to be completely zero-emissions by 2024, but they do need to meet tighter emissions requirements than have been the case to date. Generator engines must meet zero emissions standards by 2028, according to regulations.
Cummins unveiled its new hybrid powertrain concept at the 2023 Florida RV SuperShow, which ended Sunday. Cleaner power supply for mobile homes proved to be a central theme at the fair, where Winnebago also presented its latest model all-electric RV prototypea vehicle that could become the first street-legal all-electric RV in the US should it yield a production version.