By Tony Barthel
I recently wrote about the groundbreaking, all-electric Palomino Revolve EV-2. As usual, the readers of RVTravel came through and led me to Roulotte ProLite in Quebec, Canada. Roulotte actually has two different all-electric travel trailers, one of which has been in production for a while now. But the ProLite E-Volt is brand-new.
New for 2021 is ProLite’s E-Volt Travel Trailer, which is quite a bit larger than their first foray into all-electric RVs, the 12V. This newer model carries some of the same credentials as the Palomino that I wrote about in that it’s all-electric – there is literally no propane aboard.
The tour of the ProLite E-Volt
The front of the trailer sports a two-person dinette that folds down to become a sleeping place for one. I like that they’ve put windows on the side of the dinette as well as a window in the front of the trailer. There’s lots of ambient light coming in while you’re enjoying your meals.
Next to the dinette is the electric heater and, beyond that, a wet bath. Since this trailer is all-electric that means the water heater is as well. If you have trouble with the typical RV six-gallon water heater, you’re going to be miserable with the 2.5-gallon model in this trailer.
A Navy shower might work here
But it really would be possible to take a full shower with this much hot water as RV water heaters heat the water to 140°F and an RV shower head typically delivers about two gallons per minute. If you pull the Navy shower trick to only have the water running while you’re soaking down to lather up or rinsing, you may be fine as you’re not going to run all hot water, and there will be a good bit of cold water mixed in.
My wife may as well have been in the Navy with how well she does RV showering. But when I told her about the size of this water heater I was met with comments that I just won’t share with you. Let’s just say they weren’t kind. The bathroom has a crazy small vent fan. This is forgivable only because they put a three-speed high-performance fan in the main body of the trailer. Still, I would swap that fan out on the first day I owned the trailer.
Towards the back of the ProLite E-Volt are the bed and bath
Beyond that is a couch at the back of the ProLite E-Volt. Again, there are windows on either side and there is the high-performance fan overhead. For nighttime, you can slide the couch bottom out and it becomes a large 72” X 74” bed. Since this is a convertible bed you might consider an RVSuperbag as the bedding. Making and unmaking that bed would make camping less relaxing… to me.
The kitchen is also all-electric, of course, with a single induction cooktop mounted to the counter of the trailer. There’s a bit of counter space between it and the sink. Below that are some drawers and a 3.2-cubic-foot 120vac bar fridge.
Since the electrical capability of this trailer is where the company hangs its hat, let’s look at that.
There are a total of 400 watts of flexible solar panels on the roof along with a 3,000-watt power inverter. Charging and batteries come from GoPower, and the company has chosen to install 250 amp hours of lithium (LiFePO4) batteries.
Honestly, I would like to see double the amount of battery power in this trailer since you’re heating the cabin and the water with purely electric power.
I think you’re going to see this from more manufacturers. As Roger Spalding wrote in the comments on the Palomino, “The first ones over the wall get the most bullets.” Yes, indeed.
I make no bones about the fact that I secretly would love to design RVs. If I did, I might think about doing something like this. But there are things I would absolutely do differently. For example, I would keep a propane heater just because liquid propane has so much energy and you can heat a trailer very efficiently with it.
Have you ever had one of “those meetings” at work where the boss closes the door and says, “We need to talk?” Yeah, I want to do that with ProLite for installing a 120vac fridge when there are plenty of 12-volt models available.
Having a 120vac fridge means you have to run the inverter in the trailer to operate the fridge. Inverters, especially a large 3,000-watt inverter that’s included in this trailer, consume a fair amount of energy themselves when you consider that you’re running on a limited supply.
What I would do is get one of those 12-volt coolers and put it on a sliding drawer-style mechanism. They’re efficient and they’re affordable. In addition, you can take it outside or even into the house to pack it up.
Another thing, the company touts that the ProLite E-Volt is a great trailer for finding a remote place and not needing any services. But with just 15 gallons of water aboard, you’re not going to be spending more than a day or, at the most, two off the grid.
I don’t think the ProLite E-Volt is quite ready for prime time
I remember driving an early prototype electric Ford Focus. It was a great first effort but trying to use it in the real world left a lot to be desired. I think that would be the case here. All that battery tech would be great off-grid until you run out of water after just a day’s use. So then you go to the campground and why pay for all that battery and solar if you’re going to be hooked to services? Then there’s the 120vac refrigerator adding insult to injury.
I applaud ProLite for this attempt. But I think someone from the company needs to spend real-world time using their products off-grid before this is quite ready for prime time.
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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