Cummins RV hybrid energy concept boosts off-grid power, cuts emissions
Global power company Cummins is exploring how RVers can ease their reliance on gasoline while still enjoying all the off-grid power they need to run camping equipment and accessories at camp. Its new hybrid concept seamlessly blends battery storage and gas-driven generation to decrease noise and emissions while still offering days of power.
Much like RV makers themselves have been doing for years now, Cummins starts its electrical system with a large lithium-ion leisure battery designed to store ample energy for running a variety of onboard camper equipment, on or off grid. Instead of relying solely on solar panels and vehicle alternator charging to keep the 6.7-kWh battery topped off, however, Cummins adds in a 2.8-kW Onan QG 2800i gasoline generator for ensuring the batteries don't deplete to zero.
Cummins says the combination offers the same amount of overall power as a 5-kW generator but with less noise, emissions and vibration. The batteries operate silently, while the QG 2800i has been designed for efficient operation with less noise and vibration than larger generators. A comparison of spec sheets puts the sound level of the 2800i at 65 dB(A) compared to 69 dB(A) for the 5.5-kW Onan QG 5500 RV generator.
The third component of Cummins' concept is a power distribution hub that manages output and input from the dual power sources. It houses inverter, converter and charger hardware in a compact box. The system is also solar-compatible, supporting up to 500 watts of solar input.
Cummins does not mention specific plans to bring its hybrid system to market, framing it as part of its greater exploration of RV power solutions meant to push the market toward a net-zero future. It says the concept is compliant with 2024 California Air Resources Board (CARB) small off-road engine (SORE) requirements.
Approved in late 2021, the latest CARB SORE measures require that small "off-road" engines, such as those used for leaf blowers and lawn mowers, in new MY2024+ equipment sold in California produce zero emissions. The restrictions on portable generators, including those used for RVs, are not required to go completely zero-emissions by 2024, but they do need to meet more stringent emissions requirements than was previously true. Generator motors will need to meet zero-emissions standards by 2028 under the regulations.
Cummins debuted its new hybrid power concept at the 2023 Florida RV SuperShow, which wrapped up on Sunday. Cleaner RV power proved a central theme at the show, which also saw Winnebago introduce its latest all-electric camper van prototype, a vehicle that could become the first street-legal all-electric RV on the US market should it spawn a production version.