Biodiesel Roadtrek_Main

Published on December 7th, 2013 | by Jo Borras

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Roadtrek Adds Solar Power, Biodiesel to Its RV Lineup

Roadtrek E-Trek Solar Camper

I’ve maintained for a while now that the best way to convince someone that nature is worth preserving is to get them out into it. It seems like the people at Roadtrek agree- and they’re going a step further by offering a new B+ class motorhome that not only uses recycled materials in its construction, but is capable of operating entirely free of fossil fuels!

Built on Mercedes’ Sprinter van platform, Roadtrek’s eco-friendly E-Trek is powered by a 3.0 liter Mercedes diesel engine that’s 100% bio-diesel capable. The diesel is used as the primary power plant to drive the RV, and is also capable of feeding the E-Trek’s electrical system and batteries. When parked, the diesel generates 3.5 KW of power that gets bumped up to 5.5 KW while it’s on the move. Still, that’s not the most visible “green” feature on the E-Trek- that award goes to the roof-mounted, 245 watt solar panel array that continuously charges a bank of 8 AGM batteries and a 5000 watt power inverter (you’ll need that to plug standard 110/220 appliances into the outlets).

Roadtrek calls the E-Trek “the most eco-friendly motor home in the universe”. It’s not just an empty claim, though- they back that up with the batteries, solar panels, biodiesel engine, and even the composite body of the RV, itself, which uses a recycled cotton and denim insulation to help regulate temperature and a recycled, paper-based material in the counters and cabinets. Roadtrek is helping cut back carbon emissions and push back against harmful fracking operations as well, by totally eliminating propane and natural gas (full-timer RV staples) from the E-Trek’s operations.

You can find out more about Roadtrek’s latest E-Trek motorhome, and find a local motorhome dealer, at Roadtrek.com. Check it out, then let us know what you think of the E-Trek in the comments, below.

 

This post was supported by the Motor Home Group, photos courtesy of Roadtrek ©, all rights reserved.


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About the Author

I've been involved in motorsports and tuning since 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the Important Media network. You can find me on Twitter, Skype (jo.borras) or Google+.



  • Jason Burroughs

    Glad to see there is another OEM supporting biodiesel! That being said, I have some comments:

    First, it is “biodiesel”, not “bio-diesel”. Although people in some foreign countries often use the dash, the EPA, National Biodiesel Board, and the ASTM all use the simple word biodiesel (no capital B or D).

    Second, when you say it is “100% biodiesel compatible”, you’re phrasing it in a way that is confusing to the end user, because of the nature of biodiesel blending and OEM support. I believe what you mean to say is that it is “compatible with 100% biodiesel (B100)”. When used casually by the media, “biodiesel” often means B5 or B20. A good example of this misuse of the word can be found at http://domesticfuel.com/2013/10/29/mercedes-offers-biodiesel-compatible-engines-again/ (and note the annoyed/sarcastic reply from someone in the know). The article implies that a blend of 5% biodiesel and 95% diesel is somehow “biodiesel”. That is no more the case than gasoline at your local pump, which contains up to 10% ethanol, should be called “ethanol” when you fill up with it. Please confirm with RoadTrek what they mean by “100% biodiesel compatible”.

    Finally, there is no such thing as a “biodiesel engine”. Phrases like this confuse the consumer; I get calls regularly asking me how to get a biodiesel vehicle, or how they “convert” their car to run on biodiesel. There are combustion engines, commonly called gas engines; and there are compression engines, commonly called diesel engines. Calling it a biodiesel engine will only cause more confusion.

    I recognize that I am often a thorn in your side – picking apart your words, calling you out when you exaggerate things or just get the facts wrong. Although I appreciate the content you aggregate, I’m reading as an industry participant and media watchdog. It’s hugely important for businesses like mine to ensure that our already complicated industry not be maligned falsely, lumped into the same boat as ethanol, etc. I’m not here to be your fan or your friend, but to keep you honest. I hope you take my comments and criticisms in that spirit.

    • http://www.insteading.com/ Jo Borras

      Jason- seriously, and from the bottom of my little blogger heart: you suck. You should never comment on anything.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=898600166 Kumar Plocher

        Mr. Burroughs, a biodiesel industry professional, is taking time out of his own schedule to assist you in getting your facts straight. In doing so, he even respectfully concedes that there is a “thorn in your side” element but he feels it is important to make sure the truth is held paramount. And you respond like this?! Flagged your comment because it’s unprofessional and trollworthy.

        • http://www.insteading.com/ Jo Borras

          Kumar, the beauty of the internet is that everyone is free to speak their mind. As for Mr. Burroughs, while he has every right to “assist me” in getting my facts “straight”, he has a history of posting condescending comments that take a noticeably “holier than thou” tone that, busy schedule or not, is not appreciated- certainly not by me, at the least, and I have every right to tell him so.

          As for “unprofessional and trollworthy”, thank you! I was hoping that display of my personal (rather than professional) opinion would be an effective means of getting my opinion re: Mr. Burroughs “assistance” across.

          Here’s hoping that’s the last of it …

          • greencon

            Mr. Boorishass…(Borras, for short?) You do nothing to add credibility to an industry rife with inaccuracies, half-truths, and outright lies. Greenies, and liberals in general, seem to be full of self-aggrandizing disregard for scientific, mathematical, technical, or critical accuracy…hence Barrack.

  • Stewart Eastman

    That’s a good point about the biodiesel capability. Most diesels are able to use 100% biodiesel but the manufacturers don’t warranty it. The original Sprinter diesel had only 5% recommended, later to 15%. I hope this newer engine really is warrantied to be used with 100% biodiesel because that’s what matters in making it green.

    • Stewart Eastman

      The Roadtrek site doesn’t give any detail on specifications and just points to the manufacturers sites. The Sprinter and biodiesel sites that I checked report that in North America the Mercedes engines are only approved for 5% biodiesel. That’s 95% dinodiesel, not green at all. They do make one that is compatible with high percentage biodiesel in Europe, but I doubt Roadtrek is using it.

      • http://www.insteading.com/ Jo Borras

        Like I said, I think it’s an aftermarket conversion- I was going off a “press sheet” that I was given. I’ll keep poking around for more … If it is aftermarket, I think plenty of fleets would be into it.

  • Rachel Burton

    I think it is misleading to state that a “3.0 liter Mercedes diesel engine that’s 100% bio-diesel capable.” Currently, Mercedes-Benz approves the use of B5 according to ASTM D975 (standard Ultra Low Sulphur Diesel (ULSD) with a maximum of up to 5 % biodiesel) in all Common Rail Injection (CDI) and BlueTEC diesel engines. It is important both to the OEM and the consumer that the media is clear about the approved blend of biodiesel.

    • http://www.insteading.com/ Jo Borras

      Excellent points- someone else brought that up further down the line. I’ve sent an email and am trying to reconcile a press release with MB’s site.

  • Graydon

    Mercedes Benz, maker of the Sprinter, only warranty’s up to 5% Biodiesel in the fuel used in their diesel engines (the Sprinter included). If you use 100% Biodiesel in a new Sprinter and it’s determined to have fuel related issues, you’ll be out of luck with Mercedes. http://www.mbusa.com/mercedes/benz/green/diesel_bluetec

    • http://www.insteading.com/ Jo Borras

      Yes- part of the E-Trek package is a biodiesel conversion. I’d be curious to know who warrants the engine at this point.

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