We've been getting queries about the Volta Power System for months, and it's finally time to dive deep into the details!
The Genesis of Our Project with Volta and Grand Design RV
Our journey with the Volta Power System began in January 2022 at the Tampa RV Super Show. Volta and Grand Design showcased a co-branded toy hauler equipped with the Volta system, including an electric ATV with a charging port and the Nitro Connect system. We teamed up with Grand Design on the 410TH floor plan, aiming to beta-test the Volta system in the real world.
However, at some point, Grand Design decided to go with a different power system from the factory, which leaves the fate of this powerful system as an after-market option in question.
This is where we need YOUR feedback! Watch the video, and if you think you are interested in a system like this, use THIS LINK to email Jon, the Vice President of Sales at Volta. If they get enough interest, I think we'll see this system available next year, as we'd love to see that!
The Volta Flex Pack Battery Bank
The Volta battery bank in our system boasts an impressive 18 kilowatt-hour capacity, equivalent to 15 standard lithium-ion batteries but with a much smaller footprint. This high capacity is a game-changer for energy storage in RVs.
The system operates at a nominal 51 volts (58 volts actual), allowing for more power with less amperage, which means smaller wires and less heat loss. This entire setup is housed in a robust steel container for added safety.
The Power Distribution Hub (PDH)
The PDH is more than just an inverter; it's a powerhouse that manages both DC-to-AC and AC-to-DC conversions. This prototype unit is conservatively rated at 7 kilowatts, with a surge of up to 21 kilowatts. However, our tests pushed it well beyond these limits, suggesting it could be rated higher in production. A key feature is its ability to deliver split-phase 240-volt power, similar to what you get from a 50-amp RV hookup.
Expanding Capabilities and Flexibility
The PDH allows for easy expansion with additional battery inputs and three solar inputs. The system can currently handle up to 1800 watts of solar, with future versions likely to support more. This setup eliminates the need for additional equipment, such as solar controllers, to build a complete system.
The Nitro Connect System: Power on the Go
One of the most intriguing aspects is the Nitro Connect system, which involves a special alternator in our truck providing additional power. This system allows us to run all appliances, including three ACs and the water heater, while on the move. However, it comes with limitations, such as noise at high idle and needing your truck to be available as your main generator.
Load Testing: Pushing the System to Its Limits
In our load test, we successfully pushed the system to 9.4 kilowatts without any issues, surpassing the official rating and showing the system's true potential. This test demonstrated the system's capability to handle intensive power demands effortlessly.
Wishlist for Future Improvements
While I'm thoroughly impressed with the system, there are a few areas where I see room for improvement:
- Power Share/Hybrid Mode: Essential for using limited available power efficiently, such as when only 30 amp power is available.
- Advanced Interface and Control: As a tech enthusiast, I would appreciate a more detailed interface to monitor power usage more closely. For example, in the current iteration, I have no idea how much power is being added from solar.
- Remote Access: The addition of wifi or cellular connectivity for remote monitoring and control would be a significant upgrade.
Pricing and Market Position
As for the cost, a ballpark figure of around $25,000 was mentioned for a setup with 18 kilowatt-hours, excluding the Nitro Connect system. While this might seem steep, when compared to building a similar system from scratch, it's quite competitive, especially given the compactness and efficiency it offers.
The Volta Power System is a revolutionary step in RV power technology. Its capacity, efficiency, and expandability make it an attractive option for high-end power needs in RVs. While there are areas for improvement, the potential and current capabilities of the system are truly impressive.
Stay tuned for more updates, and don't forget to share your thoughts and questions in the comments below!
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