News Home & Design Living Vehicle Gets Juiced With More Battery Power for Off-Grid Living The luxury trailer gets more interesting and more independent. By Lloyd Alter Design Editor University of Toronto Lloyd Alter is Design Editor for Treehugger and teaches Sustainable Design at Ryerson University in Toronto. our editorial process Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Lloyd Alter Updated September 03, 2020 LV with Electric Car. Living Vehicle Share Twitter Pinterest Email News Environment Business & Policy Science Animals Home & Design Current Events Treehugger Voices These are interesting times in the Recreational Vehicle business; they are flying off the lots as people look for ways to get their families out of the house safely. But most RVs have to be hooked up to shore power when they are not on the road and spend most of their nights in RV parks. The latest version of the Living Vehicle is different; they have just teamed up with Volta Power Systems to include the highest capacity lithium-ion system available in a luxury trailer. Cofounder of Living Vehicle Joanna Hofman acknowledges the changed world we live in, where people really want to be alone: To enjoy true off-grid living, access to reliable energy is a necessary and life-sustaining resource for safety, health and comfort. Our customers value the flexibility to avoid RV parks and stay anywhere with all the luxury comforts of shore power. Roof of LV. Living Vehicle The new power system offers up to 3080 watts of solar power and 47,600 watt-hours of energy storage, enough juice that it can be used to charge electric vehicles "at rates of up to 44 miles per charge-hour [*see note at end] using optional 240-volt exportable power." LV at Dusk. Living Vehicle When my colleague Kimberly Mok first described the Living Vehicle a few years ago, she described it as an "aluminum-clad home that looks like a cross between a futuristic trailer and a shipping container on wheels. The aim is to create durable, self-contained (and eventually self-sustaining) gem of a home out of materials with low environmental impact." It gets so much closer to that goal of being self-sustaining now. And if my biggest complaint before was that it is towed by a big honking gasoline-powered pickup truck, co-founder and architect/designer Matthew Hofman notes that this is changing too. Many of our customers have down-payments on electric trucks like Tesla’s Cybertruck or the Rivian, which require access to reliable charging for long-term off-grid use. With the ability to export high-voltage power from the Volta system, Living Vehicle models will be able to quickly and sustainably charge these tow vehicles or companion cars using stored energy. Home office setup. Living Vehicle Most of the comments on Kimberley's earlier post complain about the cost of the Living Vehicle. So we should just say right up front that this is a luxury vehicle, designed for the people who can work from anywhere with their elaborate twin monitors set up on a $20,000 Resource Furniture murphy bed that converts into a desk. Bedroom/ office with bed folded down. Living Vehicle Designer Matthew Hofman is a LEED-certified architect, and the Living Vehicle checks all those Treehugger buttons for a healthy environment. "The indoor air quality is free from solvents, chemicals and Volatile Organic Compounds." The design choices are interesting too. LV was designed with life in mind. Each space is highly functional and intuitive to use, some spaces taking on multiple functions so that you can get the most out of your home. Open up your space by placing the removable kitchen island outside where you can do cooking on the deck. Plan of unit. Living Vehicle It's always interesting to see the way designers distribute the space. Matthew Hofman has years of experience in RV living, going back to when he sold his house and moved into an Airstream trailer. LV Kitchen. Living Vehicle I would have thought that giving up over half of the 29 feet of length to the lavish bathroom and the kitchen, at the expense of the living and dining area was misplacing the priorities, but the island actually rolls out onto the wonderful fold-down deck and having the fully separate bedroom is nice, particularly when it turns into an office. Seating and living area. Living Vehicle The design of Living Vehicle exudes the feeling of home. It emphasizes the intuitive needs of the user to foster a connection with the things that matter most in life – the people and the world outside. In terms of services, it has everything; besides the solar and batteries, it has a clever solar awning that protects the deck and adds 1,320 watts of power. There are lots of options, from UV water purification to electric heat. See all the specifications here. Rear Deck Unfolded. Living Vehicle Joanna Hoffman describes their holistic approach to sustainability: LV is thoughtfully designed to foster an intentional lifestyle by supporting the fundamental needs of the user on a continuous basis. In our modern economic landscape, the adaptability of a mobile living space lends itself to increased personal autonomy. With the advent of technology, humans should no longer be limited to the resources of a fixed geographic location. We believe that the freedom to choose the scope and source of our means is the fabric of intentional living and the key to a better way of being. This approach got a big kick from the coronavirus, as more people get to work from home or wherever they are. LV Rear with deck. Living Vehicle The LV is not totally autonomous; the 100-gallon water tank has to be filled and the waste tanks emptied. But it is not a stretch, especially with the composting toilet option, to see how this might work totally off-grid. With their "ten-year goal is to incorporate technology for LV to produce its own water and food resources to achieve complete self-sustainability," this is such an interesting vision of the future. Parked LV. Living Vehicle *Note: "Miles per charge-hour" or "range per hour" (RPH) is a unit of measuring the power of a charger so that drivers can estimate how far they can go after plugging in. A charging equipment supplier says: "The amount of range a charging station can deliver depends on a number of things including but not limited to the car’s state of charge, its on-board charger and the battery’s temperature. RPH is just an estimate, but it can give you an idea of how many miles you’ll add during a charging session on different stations." It makes no sense to me because I would think it varies widely depending on the size and weight of the vehicle and the batteries needed to move it, so that a Leaf would get a lot more miles than a Rivian, but there you are.