when the apocalypse comes, why shouldn't you hunker down in the height of american-engineered, minimalist luxury? after a long day of fighting zombies and maniacal guzzoline-obsessed warlords, you deserve to enjoy satellite internet from a memory foam king bed cloaked in sustainable linen after padding around on heated floors. really, it's the bare minimum you should ask for when society crumbles and you have to haul your travel trailer into the depths of the wilderness, never to return to the comforts of suburbia again.
that's why luxury rv company bowlus designed their newest model: the volterra. bowlus claims the volterra is the first production all-electric rv in the world, and with its solar panel–battery setup, bowlus ceo geneva long says the volterra lets you "live off-grid indefinitely."
now, that's a bold claim, and it comes courtesy of two built-in 240w solar panels and two optional 240w solar panels, totaling 480w of aerosolar power, along with an mppt solar controller (the most efficient type of controller). this directly charges a 17-kwh battery, the largest in the bowlus family. using some quick math and a handful of assumptions, that means that the solar panels would take around 46 peak-sun hours to charge the battery from 0% to 100%.
while this doesn't account for passive charging while in use, nighttime, or pesky acid rain clouds blowing in, it does give the sense that to live off-grid indefinitely, you would need to limit your power consumption—especially the a/c—which bowlus concedes. a small price to pay for microwave privileges as the world ends.
so maybe the volterra isn't quite up for the trials and tribulations of an apocalypse. i mean, who among us? however, the volterra does offer the opportunity for the luxe off-grid living of many people's vanlife fantasies and, at its core, a compelling zero-emissions adventure.
though there is an optional propane backup, the volterra is meant to be experienced electrically. not only is the rv itself a contained ecosystem, but it can be recharged by an ev while you drive, and it can give your electric car up to 60 miles of emergency recharge using a 20a outlet.
it also takes advantage of starlink, tesla ceo elon musk's satellite internet venture, to give owners 250 mbps of remote download speeds anywhere in the u.s. or canada, with an lte sim card available as a backup. meanwhile, the volterra's kitchen features an induction cooktop, an electric stove that, in addition to being safer than normal stovetops, also creates significantly less ambient heat, reducing your need to crank the a/c in a tight space.
other features of the volterra include a backup camera, over-air software updates, built-in pet features, and increased water capacity, amounting to 50 gallons of fresh water and 31 gallons of grey water.
otherwise, the rest of the volterra is pure bowlus. the aluminum monocoque body is nearly indistinguishable from the brand's endless highways and terra firma models, and the interior follows the same floorplan, including a convertible king bed, a large bathroom, a galley, and generous seating. the volterra, though, comes with a new, lush finish dubbed la cumbre, which brings linen duvets (plus throw pillows, drapes, you name it), vegan upholstery, and a california sunset-inspired color palette to the table.
so how much will a pampered trip into the great outdoors cost you? well, the volterra starts at $310,000, making it the most expensive bowlus by $25,000, and putting it on the pricer end of travel trailers as a whole. however, it represents the ways that rving can be improved by ev technology and shows some of the innovations making off-grid life more comfortable, fun, and sustainable. while it will hopefully be a long time before we all retreat into the wilderness to escape evil robot overlords, in the meantime, as bowlus's ceo says, the volterra is a great way to "preserve the great outdoors while you enjoy its splendor.”