Proudly presenting: OffGrid!
Designed for both hardcore explorers and laid-back holidaymakers, vanlife isn’t just a fashion— it’s a way of life.
The Batteries Expert team decided to combine their passion for renewable energy and outdoor adventures to create their very own OffGrid van.
This unique vehicle allows you to visit places off the beaten track thanks to its built-in renewable energy system.
Dreaming of going solo?
If you’re thinking of converting your vehicle for an exciting project, the Batteries Expert team is here to make your dream a reality!
Whether you want to transform your vehicle into a chalet on wheels or spend a week in the wilderness, you can personalize your van to suit your needs. Bed? Lights? Bathroom? Kitchen? Storage? Desk? Despite space restrictions, everything is possible (or almost!) with an OffGrid vehicle.Contact our experts
When designing the OffGrid, we wanted to showcase the very latest tech products, push boundaries and make outdoor adventuring accessible to everyone.
The battery really is at the heart of this project. That’s why we used a Northstar battery with a bank of 660 Ah. The result? No water maintenance required, superior charging capacity, little space used and longer lifespan.
The 300 W Enerwatt solar panels that can be found on the roof provide around 20 A per hour when it’s sunny outside. They help recharge the batteries and also give the alternator a helping hand.
MPPT 30A EPEVER
The solar controller manages the power of the solar panels so they can recharge the batteries. The MPPT models allow you to make the very most of the energy provided by the solar panels and help optimize the charging process.
The inverter/charger has two roles: charge the batteries when connected to the 120 V and convert the 12 V to 120 V to allow you to charge your devices inside.
The compact model that’s installed in our OffGrid van is a pure sinus wave inverter that can power any device with 80 A of charge.
A must-have tool that allows your alternator to prioritize the charging of the battery when you’re driving.
The load relay on our OffGrid even allows you to boost your starting battery using the backup battery! After all, nobody wants to be stuck in the middle of nowhere…
Despite its many superpowers, the OffGrid still needs to be started up. Depending on the type of vehicle, we recommend you use an AGM battery: it can be recharged faster by the alternator and resists well to vibrations and battery discharge.
The bespoke BlueSea panel used for this project makes managing the van’s electrical circuit easy.
You can even use it to monitor the real-time state of your battery and its consumption.
All of the renewable energy components including the solar panels, battery and inverter were provided by Batteries Expert.
Our experts will help you find the best possible renewable energy system for your needs. They can even install it for you!
The interior has been cleverly designed to get the very most out of the space available. We’ve managed to fit a bed, kitchen and storage space inside the van. Oh, and how could we forget…we’ve even made a cozy corner for the dog!
Our partner AVX took care of the interior design and furniture. The AVX team will also be there to guide you throughout the process to help you build the interior of your dreams.
How does the battery charge?
For the van to be 100% independent, it’s really important that the battery remains well-charged and in good condition. That’s why we’ve equipped the OffGrid van with a bank of 660 Ah that can be recharged with a capacity of 60 to 180A (10% to 30%). Here are 3 ways to obtain that charging capacity:
Plug in the wall
With a charge of 80 amperes, an inverter/charger is the most efficient way to recharge your OffGrid vehicle. You simply have to connect it to a 120 volt plug before leaving or during one of your stop-offs on the road. Once the load relay is installed and the battery reserve charged, the system even charges the battery. The result? You’re always fully charged before going on an adventure!
Alternator while driving
Did you know that an alternator can also be used as a charger? You should ideally use the energy from the alternator to maintain your reserve batteries when you’re driving and to power your essential devices, such as a fridge.
Fun (and useful!) fact: You have to drive for between 6 and 8 hours to fully charge your reserve batteries. It’s therefore preferable to recharge the batteries before you leave if you’re not planning on going very far.
Despite space restrictions on the roof, the 300 W solar panels can provide around 20 amperes of charge per hour on a sunny day. The panels can therefore work together with the alternator to optimize the charging process when you’re driving or extend your time off-grid when it’s sunny outside.
Ready to build the van of your dreams?
Here are a few questions to think about…
Before getting started, think about how you’re going to use your van. This will help you figure out what kind of battery and charging system you’ll need.
- Duration of the trip and required energy:
How long are you going to be completely off-grid? One day? Two days? One week?
- Consumption of your on-board devices:
What devices do you need to use and for how long? Will you use a hot plate, microwave, television or coffee maker, for example?
Make a list of all the devices you think are necessary and take note of the average time you’ll use them per day and their consumption in watts (you can find the latter on the device).
- Type of services available:
Do you tend to visit sites that have water and electricity services? Or are you aiming for total independence?
- Are you visiting any risky places?
Planning on visiting isolated regions where network connection is limited, if inexistent? The good news is that special equipment is available for adventurous trips like yours!
- Need heating?
Heating requires a lot of energy and can drain your battery really quickly. For those who want to explore colder regions, we suggest you install a diesel or propane heating system.
Making the most of the space available is the key to success of this kind of project. Everything needs to fit in the vehicle, without making the space feel cramped up and uncomfortable. In addition to the electrical components, are you planning on installing furniture and storage in the van?
Turn your dream into a reality,
one step at a time
Don’t forget that your vehicle can evolve with your needs over time. No matter what your budget, we can help you plan your project and make a wise and sustainable investment.
Want to visit our OffGrid?
You’re more than welcome! We’ll be bringing the van along with us to our different Batteries Expert events. To find out where its next destination will be, take a look at the events calendar on our Facebook page.
Our experts will make your dream a reality!
Batteries Expert has more than 20 years of expertise in the field. Maximize your investment with a solar energy system adapted to your utilization and your energy consumption. Consult your expert, partner of all your projects!Contact our experts