ELKHART, Ind. – A new partnership between a power system supplier and an OEM will result in an increase in the number of generator-free RV offerings for consumers.
Jon Mulder, Volta vice president of sales, told RVBusiness his company views the relationship as aspirational.
“Obviously, they’re a great company. … Pete Liegl is legendary in the RV industry,” Mulder said. “We’ve always had our eye on them because they’ve got high volume and a whole bunch of different products in the Cs and the Bs. We started working with them a couple of years ago as demand for off-grid, non-idle solutions kept growing. Every year we get more and more people who don’t want a generator and want to keep their air conditioner on all night.”
He said Forest River was looking for an option for those consumers and that’s what Volta’s solution provides.
“We can’t wait for their buyers to experience the freedom and flexibility of one of our systems,” he said.
Volta will be an option on Mercedes platforms sold under Forest River including the Sunseeker, Forester and Solera brands. With 13,500 watt-hours of usable energy, buyers will be able to run their favorite high-power amenities — including all-night air conditioning — while eliminating the need for a generator or vehicle idling, according to information provided in a press release.
“We aim to align with how consumer preferences are evolving, which are increasingly sustainability-focused. These new motor coaches respond to that need with a simple, quiet, generator-free camping experience,” said Kary Katzenberger, sales and product manager for the Forest River Sunseeker brand. “We want each of our vehicles to feel like home away from home, and partnering with Volta on these Class C’s is one of the ways we’re providing that feeling to our customers.”
Three prototypes have been built and units will go into production in March.
Mulder said the stakes are high in this relationship from a quality and execution standpoint because, “we want to do long-term stuff with them. In even just their Cs they go across Ford, they go across Dodge, the Sprinters, which is what we’re starting with. It’s a huge opportunity and it’s a great group of people who we really like.”
In addition to the 13,500 watt-hours of energy storage, each vehicle features a 7,000-watt alternator that maximizes engine eﬃciency while driving to charge the Volta system, again, reducing reliance on shore power and eliminating the need for an auxiliary generator. The system also includes a 3,200-watt inverter that converts stored energy to safely power common appliances like the air conditioner, coﬀee maker, microwave, slow-cooker, TV and more, according to the release.
Vehicle owners will be able to charge their Volta systems in two ways, depending on their power needs and how they choose to travel. Charging options include plugging directly into
a shore power connection as well as the system’s secondary alternator that generates power oﬀ waste energy while the engine is running.
While Forest River is oﬀering the Volta system on their Mercedes-Benz sprinter chassis ﬁrst, they plan to oﬀer it on all models including the Dodge Ram. Forest River’s Volta-equipped Class C vehicles are already available for order and will be ready to ship beginning March of 2024. Forest River and Volta previewed the new vehicles at the 2024 Florida RV SuperShow in January, receiving positive feedback from retail customers, the release stated.