By Tony Barthel
Recently I was talking with another RV journalist about travel trailers and we were remarking on the fact that, while Class B RVs like the Winnebago Revel 44E have very advanced battery systems, there really doesn’t seem to be that sort of interest in travel trailers. I’ve never been happy to be so wrong, when I learned about the Palomino Revolve travel trailer.
Someone pointed me to the Palomino Revolve series, a line of four travel trailers that employ very advanced solar and battery systems and have no propane aboard at all.
The Palomino Revolve is electric!
Let’s start with what really sets these trailers apart – they’re completely electric. On board are four lithium batteries along with four 100-watt solar panels on the roof. There’s a Renogy 3,000-watt inverter to power the whole thing.
There are multiple ways to charge those batteries including the aforementioned solar, of course. You could also just plug into a 30-amp power pole at an RV park. There’s also a charging cable that you can attach to your vehicle if you want. So you could either get a small amount of power from the battery or use the vehicle’s alternator to charge the system. However, you should know your vehicle’s charging system if you’re going to do this, as running the engine at idle with a significant load can overwork and kill the alternator.
In addition to the 400 watts of solar on the roof, there are high-quality connectors at the very back of the trailer. There you can attach up to an additional 300 watts of solar. External solar panels are an option, or you could obviously just bring your own.
Monitoring the whole enchilada can be done in multiple places. The first is inside the entry door of the trailer. Palomino has fitted an Intellitronix monitoring panel here. With this you can see how much consumption or production is going on with the battery systems.
There is also a Renogy panel further back in the trailer where you can monitor the inverter. Additionally, there is a monitor panel right on the inverter if you choose to go outside and check it out.
Since there is no propane aboard this trailer, your first question might be how do they heat the thing? Palomino has provided an electric fireplace for that which will heat the coach. The fireplace’s “lights” can be disabled so it just runs as a heater – no flickering lights to keep you awake at night.
But, again, since there’s no propane aboard that means the water heater, too, is electric. And the fridge is electric. And there’s an induction cooktop. So there are a lot of ways to go through those four batteries… And I haven’t even gotten to the air conditioner yet.
Lithium batteries do have the advantage that you can run them almost completely to their reserve. So batteries that claim 400-amp-hours of power will deliver almost all of that, depending on the battery. Your typical lead-acid deep-cycle marine battery may say it provides 80-amp-hours of power, but you really only get about half of that in the real world before you start damaging the battery.
The Palomino Revolve itself
All four of the Palomino Revolve models are single-axle trailers that feature some good component usage like Dexter TorFlex suspensions, frameless windows and more. One of the first things I noticed is that I love the wood trim and hardware in these. It reminds me somewhat of a log cabin on a beach vacation.
These trailers feature a couch in the front. The couch doubles as a Murphy bed, but the way it’s activated is a bit odd. While Forest River’s Rockwood and Flagstaff brands have a first-rate Murphy bed system, this incorporates the couch as part of the base that the bed sits on. This means a folding mattress. If ever there were a bed that needed an RVSuperbag, this is it. It’s odd that they didn’t just call their friends at Rockwood and ask to use that mechanism.
The Palomino Revolve EV2 is the same floor plan as my own travel trailer, which is a Rockwood Mini Lite 1905, so I’m going to go with what’s most familiar to me.
One of the advantages of not using Rockwood’s Murphy bed is that there are cabinets over the bed as well as hanging closets on either side.
The galley in this kitchen shares the same limitations as mine, in that there is almost no counter space. Yeah, yeah, you can use the cover over the sink and the stovetop as counters. But what I’ve done is put a counter extension in. I did it by using the table that comes with the outdoor barbecue. I added another railing in which to slide it in.
The kitchen itself does have a huge sink and two-burner induction cooktop. If you haven’t used induction cooking yet, it’s fantastic.
Above the kitchen counter are a cabinet and the 24” 12-volt TV that can swing over so you can see it from the couch. To me, this would have been the ideal spot to put the convection microwave rather than below the induction cooktop, almost on the floor.
Next to that is a 12-volt compressor refrigerator. Across from that is a two-person dinette.
The bathroom of the Palomino Revolve takes up the entire back of the coach. This makes for a nice space to take care of business. There’s also a large cabinet here.
Some weird things of the Palomino Revolve
There are a couple of things that made me laugh when I saw them in the Palomino Revolve, and they’re due to regulation being so far behind reality.
The first of those things is that there’s a propane detector aboard. Now, it’s not a bad thing to have this. It’s just funny that it’s there. It is required by law, though – so that explains that. Honestly, if I had this trailer I might choose to use a small propane heater like a Mr. Heater. In that case, I’d be glad there was a propane and CO detector aboard – so there’s that.
Behind the cooktop are metal mini-blinds which are there, again, because of regulation. Since there’s no open flame at all, you don’t need venting. And you’re not going to worry about your curtains catching fire. But the law states that there shall be metal mini blinds – so there they are.
Speaking of vent fans, there are three in this little Palomino Revolve trailer. Each is of the pop-up variety – sort of like a shower stopper. But you can move a lot of air by running all three and, I believe, that’s the whole idea. You can open the windows and create quite a breeze in there. That means you won’t have to run the AC system unless it’s really hot outside.
There’s also a standard 12-volt flooded battery on the tongue of the trailer. This is there for the braking system and that sort of thing. But it just seems odd to me.
On the subject of batteries, all those pricey lithium-iron-phosphate batteries and that fancy inverter are well encapsulated in the trailer itself. That means you don’t have them on the tongue – where they can be easily removed.
I would think that you could very reasonably use this trailer in shoulder seasons where you don’t need the heat or air conditioner much, if at all. In that case, you’ll probably be just fine. You may even be able to use it very effectively in colder or warmer conditions, depending on how hot or cold things get.
Of course, if you spend your time in RV parks, then you’re totally fine. But why do that when you’ve spent a great deal of money on a top-notch solar and battery system?
I admire the fact that, finally, an RV company has provided a travel trailer that employs this kind of technology and truly embraces it. Clearly, Palomino is dipping its toes in the water rather than going full cannonball with a long line of coaches. But this is a great start.
I hope they’re tremendously successful with this, as I see this as the way things could go if they are.
I also admire the fact that they went all-in – no propane whatsoever. Honestly, this would be an easier thing to do if they heated the coach with propane and provided a propane-electric water heater. But, nope – they’re all in.
Be forewarned any time you change temperature with electricity you’re consuming a lot of power doing so. 400-amp-hours of power may seem like a lot until you’re heating a coach in the wintertime. That’s when the solar panels are only moderately effective.
One last thing. I can see nerds like me spending quite a bit of time looking at this Palomino Revolve trailer. I think there’s an opportunity for Palomino to really provide a great deal of information or videos or content of any sort that tells the story of this model. But there is little. Even contacting Renogy for details about the solar and charging system got me nowhere.
Oh, well. I still think this is a neat trailer with good basic functionality. It’s made for a geek’s delight, assuming you’re an RV geek like me, with an intriguing set of cutting edge systems.
These RV reviews are written based on information provided by the manufacturers along with our writer’s own research. 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.
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