Know Before You Buy: Not all battery systems are created equal
Over our nearly 90 year history, numerous wannabes have tried to build a lightweight riveted aluminum travel trailer. However, there’s nothing like the original, baby, especially when we continue to be the leader. When you buy a copy or a knockoff, you are buying just that – poor design, cheap parts, lack of innovation, and ultimately a wasted expenditure.
In 2016, we were the first to develop an integrated power management system with lithium power to make adventures endlessly, easy, and worry-free. The system has been incredibly successful, and the Bowlus is hailed as the ultimate RV.
The advanced way we integrate both 120V and 12V power in the Endless Highway and Endless Highways Performance is an excellent example of our leadership. The Bowlus Power System has about six times the useful power of other systems. It integrates all the power inputs and outputs with an amazingly simple but powerful user-friendly interface.
The Bowlus Power Management System has three objectives:
- To deliver an easily understandable holistic system that cleverly integrates electrical usage and battery charge.
- To eliminate “power anxiety”-Will I run out of power?” and allow you to spend more time adventuring.
- To protect your investment in the highest quality of lithium iron phosphate batteries and integrated systems from any possible damage for the best long term investment.
Our system is continuously analyzing both user demand for power and the power available both from shore power and battery storage. It delivers user-friendly information directly to you – the user. Behind the scenes, the system enables and disables charging and discharging to provide the power you need while at the same time protecting your lithium iron phosphate batteries.
While the service tech at the counter of your local RV dealer likes to make it seem like all lithium batteries are the same, they are not. So don’t be sucked into someone who hasn’t spent years understanding and testing systems or worse left their questionable knowledge for all to share on the internet stand-in for your product knowledge. We use industrial-strength lithium iron phosphate batteries, the best in class of chargers, and inverters used in extensive solar systems. Others in the RV industry use batteries, chargers, and inverters that would never be found in industrial power systems and are sourced purely based upon the lowest price and are generally very low quality.
While superior high capacity lithium iron phosphate batteries are the center of our system, it is the integration of all parts of the system that is key to its fantastic functionality. The integration of the lithium iron phosphate batteries, the battery management controller, the charger, the inverter, the solar charger, the battery monitor, and the tow vehicle input all work together to give the system the flexibility and power you can depend on.
Our system has sensors in every battery cell that sense voltage and temperature and communicates these parameters to the entire system on a battery level. The Bowlus Power Management System communicates via three networks to the charger, inverter, tow vehicle input, solar charger, battery monitor, 12V power, and 120V input and outputs. When other RV users replace their normal lead-acid batteries with a “drop-in” lithium battery, these do not communicate outside their battery, and so each part works separately and, as a result, poorly. Remember this technology isn’t the “plug and play” people love to suggest it is, so you really need an integrated system.
Even when all the systems parts communicate with one another, it is the users’ experience that is key. The interface of the Bowlus Power Management System is simple and very easy to understand and can be viewed via a smartphone app. For the Performance Edition, the Bowlus connects through its built-in router to a private internet site, which then is accessible from anywhere. To do this, the Bowlus Power Management System integrates a Unix computer, which takes all these various inputs and displays the results in an easy to understand way on your smartphone, laptop, or computer. A key part of keeping the interface simple is the calculation of “state of charge.” This shows users how much battery power is left as a percentage of total power on board. In addition, we have programmed a number of alarms and warnings to ensure you do not run out of power while camping without shore power. For the Performance Edition, you can even have email alerts in case the batteries get low, and you are away from your Bowlus. And our favorite, the entire system is four seasons ready. Easy, simple, and very user-friendly.
Additionally, The Bowlus Power Management System incorporates four more exclusive features, “Power Assist,” “Charging Assist,” and “Integrated Solar,” and “Integrated Vehicle Charging.”
The system’s “Power Assist” feature allows 120V shore power to be seamlessly augmented by lithium iron phosphate batteries’ power. This means if you are camping with a normal 15A plug outlet, but need to draw more than 15A in your Bowlus, the “Power Assist” can make up those extra amps from the power stored in the lithium iron phosphate batteries. This means you can use the A/C and a blow dryer at the same time and not blow a circuit breaker.
The system also incorporates “Charging Assist” so that users can easily change the charging rates from amazing fast charging (think Tesla supercharging) to quiet no-fan charging of your lithium batteries.
“Integrated Solar” is the solar charging part of the system. Since the high capacity solar charger is fully integrated into the system, it allows for the correct level of charging of the lithium iron phosphate batteries and the ability to safely shut off the charging based upon communication from the batteries. It even allows you to connect two of the solar panels to get up to 260W of charging sun power.
Lastly, “Integrated Vehicle Charging” allows the tow vehicle to charge lithium iron phosphate batteries safely when you are driving. This subsystem automatically checks the batteries’ level of charge and temperature and can shut down tow vehicle charging to ensure there is no damage to your batteries. Copycat systems do not have any of this functionality.
High-quality lithium iron phosphate batteries are expensive, so you do not want to replace them every year or two as many do with lead-acid batteries. The lithium iron phosphate batteries in the Bowlus system are fully protected. Due to the top quality components, advanced communication, and superior integration, there is no risk in charging or discharging, which will destroy your batteries.
The best in class design leads to carefree adventures. Easy, carefree power management is what you need – and you can only find that in a Bowlus.