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View Poll Results: Please select / vote for one of the following. Comments also welcome.
I would order / purchase my next fifth wheel with factory installed lithium batteries. 32 57.14%
I have NO interest in lithium and would stay with dealer installed lead acid batteries. 4 7.14%
I prefer no batteries in my next fifth wheel. I'll move the batteries I already own. 5 8.93%
I prefer an alternative battery: example 6 volt, Gel, etc. 15 26.79%
Voters: 56. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 12-01-2021, 03:25 PM   #1
mootana
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Poll: Lithium or Lead acid

I would appreciate your input.

Please make a selection on the poll. Comments are also welcome, put always vote.

With the popularity of lithium batteries, has the time come for Montana to offer them installed at the factory level?

There are several advantages to being factory installed. One being the cost can be financed in the overall purchase. No instant out of pocket cost to add them later.

I look forward to your insight.
 
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Old 12-01-2021, 03:30 PM   #2
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Sam,

As an option - yes but not standard.
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Old 12-01-2021, 04:20 PM   #3
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They will not offer lithium as standard. $$$$
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Old 12-01-2021, 10:27 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mootana View Post
I would appreciate your input.

Please make a selection on the poll. Comments are also welcome, put always vote.

With the popularity of lithium batteries, has the time come for Montana to offer them installed at the factory level?

There are several advantages to being factory installed. One being the cost can be financed in the overall purchase. No instant out of pocket cost to add them later.

I look forward to your insight.
Hey Sam,
As you know I already did make my decision and ordered the Super Solar package with the included lithium batteries.
I'm happy with my choice and believe it was a great option at a fair price.

Perhaps where the options could be expanded would be on a package that is between the Solar Flex (panels but no batteries), and the Super Solar Flex (full blown system with major panels, large lithium batteries, etc - that may be more than many want). Solar Flex Plus?

hth,
Brad
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Old 12-01-2021, 11:13 PM   #5
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I prefer AGM batteries for cost and ease of replacement while traveling. Lithiums are ok in certain situations where weight savings are necessary as with solar systems. When we boondocked it penciled out to run a small genny or two vs. solar. I can build a 1200 watt system for about $8k or two generators for $2500. With the generator we actually did well using one AGM battery although two would have been better.
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Old 12-02-2021, 01:30 PM   #6
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I don't understand why you would want to pay more for something by purchasing it from a third party with almost zero value add proposition...and to make matters worse you can pay additional finance interest on the already overpriced OEM branded versions of better retail products. I don't get the appeal especially with regards to drop in replacement batteries.
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Old 12-02-2021, 02:11 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by PNW Fireguy View Post
I don't understand why you would want to pay more for something by purchasing it from a third party with almost zero value add proposition...and to make matters worse you can pay additional finance interest on the already overpriced OEM branded versions of better retail products. I don't get the appeal especially with regards to drop in replacement batteries.
I can understand why the scenario above is not appealing. But, I would also say it is a generalization. In my research on the Super Solar Flex package, I found that the selling price of the package was very similar to buying the components separately and having them installed. And, the components are brand names like Magnum and Victron. So, your scenario definitely was not my experience with the SSF package.

And, as a bonus, I have had access to fantastic support from the Montana factory crew, including an email reply last week on the Thanksgiving holiday when I was having power issues. The reply was timely and I was walked through how to restore power while replacement parts are being shipped.
If I had assembled all of that myself, I would have had to chase down at least 3 vendors and I really doubt that any would have returned my email for several days over the long weekend.

So my experience? Similar price, bundled components that are brand name and known to work together, along with the best service I've experienced in over 20 years of owning RVs. In case any are wondering, I've become a fan

Brad
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Old 12-02-2021, 03:47 PM   #8
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I am glad to read that your experiences have been positive and that you are satisfied with the economics, performance and customer service you are getting from the manufacturer's. Despite my not being a proponent of the business model there is clearly a support for it within the vertical. It does appear from reading your response that perhaps the RV manufacturer's are either partnering with the Magnum's, Victron's, etc. to streamline support. The skillset was not previoulsy in house whether from a support or installation standpoint. They were performed by the vendor or third party distributors. Either way blurring those lines for the consumer is a win no matter. I still stand by my position and my experiences have resulted in confirming that I have gottten a lot more value add by sourcing my own goods. Since I am in the industry I recognize that I may be a bit biased or have an advantage over the general consumer.
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Old 12-02-2021, 05:27 PM   #9
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I bought SOB lithium.
In a few years iron based batteries look promising.
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Old 12-02-2021, 06:35 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by PNW Fireguy View Post
I am glad to read that your experiences have been positive and that you are satisfied with the economics, performance and customer service you are getting from the manufacturer's. Despite my not being a proponent of the business model there is clearly a support for it within the vertical. It does appear from reading your response that perhaps the RV manufacturer's are either partnering with the Magnum's, Victron's, etc. to streamline support. The skillset was not previoulsy in house whether from a support or installation standpoint. They were performed by the vendor or third party distributors. Either way blurring those lines for the consumer is a win no matter. I still stand by my position and my experiences have resulted in confirming that I have gottten a lot more value add by sourcing my own goods. Since I am in the industry I recognize that I may be a bit biased or have an advantage over the general consumer.
I have read some of your comments regarding electrical and solar, so I do value your opinion. It's clear you have a level of expertise beyond me or others on this forum.

Montana has chosen a different path, and I believe it may be unique in the industry.
They partnered with an outside solar specialist company, Future Sales. The FS team is experienced with solar installs, and still do that work. But, for Montana, they designed a "solar box". This box can get installed on the line, and the assembly workers only need to plug in some 50 amp connectors, and connect the 10ga wires from the panels from the roof. I think even I could install it

Then, Future Sales is part of the factory support team. That is who provided support for my issue.

So, I believe the team at Montana is trying to solve most of the common issues of something this complex - namely the system can successfully be installed by non expert factory workers, and it can be supported directly from an expert team contracted by Montana so that it removes the need for highly trained dealer techs.

So far, I believe it is working. It will be interesting to see if others copy the model.

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Old 12-02-2021, 07:34 PM   #11
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The Boeing manufacturing model works well for a lot of companies. Early in my career I struggled with finding ways to wire factory assembled structures with unskilled labor. Learned an awful lot about how people think or don't. I love to see the changes in the industry surrounding technology. The DIY community has put these technologies on the big corporation's maps and with regards to the industry it's a good thing. They have come a long way from "solar prep" connection in the convenience center that is just a 10 AWG bi-cable running to the battery compartment. Just look at the mom & pop shops in the Q from Dec to Mar. The big corps see these dollars and they are now going after them partnering with the larger installers that have partnered with BB/Drogonfly's. We'll see if the demand follows the available options. When we were searching for our last 5er we went to one of the highend custom builders and I a bit surprised to find out there werer things I asked for that they wouldn't even consider doing. They just did not have the technical expertise.



I am afraid that once the glut of RV's that have been built are up for resale, for less than half of their purchase price, that the historical demographic that the RV industry has targeted just won't find the value in the cost of the technology being offered at a premium price by the RV manufacturers. Add to that everybody's brother and neighbor now is a solar "expert" and doing side work.

Just my opinion, your milage may vary.

Your litmus test here in the forum may be a finger on the pulse.
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Old 12-09-2021, 08:13 AM   #12
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Poll choices don't work for me. Before going lithium, it makes sense to evaluate needs. If one is mainly boondocking, lithium AND solar makes a lot of sense. Otherwise, lead acid 6 or 12v batteries should prove more economical over the long-term. Also, lithium is more sensitive to wiring runs, temps and charging parameters.
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Old 12-09-2021, 07:52 PM   #13
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Batteries

Definitely would go with lithium phosphate batteries. Better power to weight ratio. Keep in mind that battery technology is changing…watch for graphine batteries.
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Old 12-09-2021, 11:31 PM   #14
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Definitely would go with lithium phosphate batteries. Better power to weight ratio. Keep in mind that battery technology is changing…watch for graphine batteries.
... and aluminum ion batteries. And likely many others we have not yet heard of.
I believe it's always wise to follow the money and the money seems to be flowing towards alternative energy and battery technologies.

Brad
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Old 12-10-2021, 12:18 AM   #15
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I converted to battle born batteries 2 100 amp with freeze protection. I love them. They charge much faster than my lead acid batteries. Boom docking I use a Honda 2000 gen. No solar.
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Old 12-10-2021, 10:04 AM   #16
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Lithium available or offered as an upgrade? Yes absolutely.
Lithium as standard? No.
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