If you look at the trends in the RV marketplace, one of the areas that hasn’t experienced much fluctuation even as RV sales slow down is the Class B marketplace. There are certainly a number of reasons for this, but one of those is that Class B van supplies were constrained during the pandemic yet demand was high. Now that you can actually buy the Class B aka van chassis, RV companies can address the pent-up demand.
One of the Class B vans that’s new to the market comes from the people at Entegra Coach in the form of the Entegra Expanse Li. This line of Class B vans is based on the Ford Transit 4X4 chassis and, as the name may imply, sports a lithium battery system.
As with some of the other Class B vans I’ve seen recently, this one has no propane whatsoever. Instead, there is the battery and that’s it.
Lithium battery system
Since the heart of the system is that lithium power package, let’s look at that first. Essentially what we have here is a Renogy system at the heart of which is a 48-volt, 210 amp-hour lithium power system.
I have been talking to a number of folks, including our own Mike Sokol, about 48-volt RV power systems, and it seems that we have one here. In terms of how much usable power this system has, think about this as about nine regular lithium batteries like what you might have on the tongue of a travel trailer.
In the video I’ve attached here, the Entegra rep indicated that with this system you could, theoretically, run the air conditioner for 8-10 hours. Of course there are more asterisks on that than an RV finance contract, but it’s still impressive.
There are essentially three main ways to replenish that reserve. There are 200 watts of solar panels on the roof, although that’s not a lot, quite frankly. Fortunately, there is also the option of adding freestanding solar panels to the side of the coach like the Go Power! DuraLite 100 solar suitcases I have.
Of course, if you’re in a place with shore power you can plug in, but where’s the fun in that? If you’re going to pay as much as some have paid for their homes on a van and it has lots of battery power, you’re going to want to use it, I assume.
The third main way to recharge the power bank is with a second alternator in the van. This can be accomplished by going somewhere or just sitting there with the van’s engine running. So, effectively, you get to have a built-in version of the CarGenerator.
Wait, no propane?
The question some might have about this rig stems from the fact that the company advertises that there is no propane aboard. So then, how does it all work?
Simple. The biggest consumer of energy is any system that changes temperature. Well, sort of. So the temperature you’re going to want to change the most is the one you’ll be feeling if you’re camping anywhere north of Mexico around this time of year. Yep, you’ll want a heater.
The way they accomplish this is with a Timberline hydronic heating system. This heats both the water and the space and uses the gasoline aboard the Transit.
What’s inside the Entegra Expanse Li
As for cooking, there’s a single portable induction cooktop aboard, as well as a convection microwave.
Since we’re here in the kitchen, you might be surprised by how large the fridge is for a Class B RV.
And there are a decent number of cabinets that form a halo around the interior as well as a space opposite the kitchen that could be either your pantry or your hanging space. Or, I suppose you could figure out how to hang your dry goods if that’s something you want to do.
Entegra was quite proud of the fact that the fancy cabinetry in this came from an Italian company.
When it’s time to sit down and get some RV articles done, or whatever occupies your time at camp, there is a bench across the back of this van. You can also swivel the front seats around to face the rear, and Entegra has provided tables that flip down so you can use this for eating or working or whatever.
While there are seats on either side of the van in the back, these are really more for making the space more accommodating as a sleeping surface when the rear bench seat is folded flat. Incidentally, that seat is a power seat mechanism.
Some observations on the Entegra Expanse Li
While I think the objective here is to make this a fancy pants van, there seem to be a lot of things that I would do very, very differently if I were building a van.
First of all, the Nautilus water system is behind the camp side rear door. That would be okay if it were accessible from the outside, but it’s not. You have to have the door open to make changes to this system. Yes, there’s an outside city water connection on the side, but this is truly ludicrous.
Second, this sports Ford’s four-wheel-drive system so you could theoretically go off-road. But these high-gloss cabinets and fancy interior tell a very different story. Someone at Entegra seemed more anxious to check boxes than they did to actually go out, use the van and come back with something that’s a better total package.
Lastly, you all seemed to love my take on the Great American V8 pickup last week. Let’s be honest, here. This thing has an MSRP of $200,000. I can buy a nice travel trailer and a brand-new 3/4 ton pickup at full MSRP for both and still have tens of thousands of dollars left over.
In fact, my own travel trailer has more solar panels and a bigger lithium battery package—and I don’t have a wet bath. In fact, I have twice as a much water storage and much more interior space. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t get it.
I do like things like the Embassy RV Traveler and the Vanaholic kits. And I can see a few other Class B RVs that make a lot of sense. If you really want elaborately fancy that’s also well-designed, there’s always the Grech RV line.
What am I missing?
If you’re RV shopping here are some tips on RV shopping from a former RV salesperson—me!
These RV reviews are written based on information provided by the manufacturers along with our writer’s own research. They are based on information from a single unit and may not reflect your actual experience. Shop your RV and dealership carefully before making a buying decision. We receive no money or other financial benefits from these reviews. They are intended only as a brief overview of the vehicle, not a comprehensive critique, which would require a thorough inspection and/or test drive.