Host Industries recently announced big upgrades to its three lithium off-grid battery systems, the largest of which offers a whopping 1,080 amp hours total capacity. According to the Oregon-based company, these off-grid systems are powerful enough to run a coffee pot, a microwave, a toaster, and even an air conditioner depending on the size of the system. These upgrades place the company firmly in the lead in the truck camper marketplace when it comes to overall battery size and system capability.
What makes these big upgrades possible is Expion360’s brand-new 360 amp hour lithium LiFePO4 battery. Called the VPR 4Ever Platinum 360 or “cube” for short, this battery boasts the most amp hours in the smallest battery footprint available on the market. The new 360 amp hour battery measures only 13.0 x 14.8 x 10.4 inches, weighs only 95 pounds, and features an improved Battery Monitoring System (BMS) that prevents charging below 32 degrees. This is the same battery being used by Truck Camper Adventure.
As before, three off-grid systems are currently being offered by Host. The upgraded “Basic” off-grid package consists of a single Expion360 cube battery, three Zamp 170 watt solar panels (510 watts total), and a 2,000 watt pure sine wave inverter. The upgraded “Extreme” off-grid package comes with two Expion360 cube batteries (720 amp hours total), four Zamp 170 watt solar panels (680 watt total), and a 3,000 watt inverter, while the upgraded “Extreme Plus” package features three lithium cube batteries (1,080 amp hours total), four Zamp 170 watt solar panels (680 watts total), and a 3,000 watt inverter. Each off-grid system comes with an Expion360 battery monitor that not only provides the real time voltage and overall state of charge (SOC) of each system, but also the real time charge rate and wattage use.
Previous off-grid systems offered by Host featured a smaller 120 amp hour lithium battery with only 240, 480, and 720 amp hours each for the Basic, Extreme, and Extreme Plus systems respectively.
“Which package you buy really depends on how you’re going to use it,” explained Randal Pozzi, Host General Manager. “If you’re in a hot climate and you’re going to run the air conditioner a fair amount, then you’re going to need a pretty big system like the Extreme or Extreme Plus, but if you’re up in Alaska where you hardly need an air conditioner, then you don’t need that big of a system. It just really depends on what you’re trying to do with it. But all of them work really, really well. They’re selling like hotcakes!”
The 2,000 watt and 3,000 watt inverters used by Host are made by Go Power, a company based out of Canada. Each is a true inverter-charger, a three-in-one system combining an inverter, a 125 amp battery charger, and an automatic transfer switch. This approach not only saves on space, but also simplifies installation by reducing the number of devices and cables to install. And while most inverter-chargers offer only a 30 amp transfer switch, the Go Power’s inverters provide two 50 amp legs. That means when you’re connected to 50 amp shore power (240 volts), you can draw up to 12,000 watts of power! Each inverter is also compatible with 30 amp service. Each Go Power inverter comes with a remote control unit making operation and control of the unit easy.
Standard equipment is used by Host to facilitate customer service and troubleshooting unlike other companies, which install a wide-variety of equipment made by different manufacturers. This approach, according to the company, makes customer support easier, which in turn keeps the company’s customers happy.
“We like to keep things simple because we have a lot of customers who really have no clue how this stuff works,” Pozzi explained. “Occasionally, we’ll get a guy who says, ‘hey, I want to use a BattleBorn battery! And I say, ‘why? We’re putting in a better one.’ Or ‘I want to use Victron’s Battery Monitor and this and that.’ My response is, ‘no, we only use this particular one.’ The reason for this isn’t because Victron doesn’t make a good unit, it’s because we’re putting in hundreds of these things and people are calling me up and asking, ‘how do I operate this or how do I change that?’ Right now I can give them answers because we know how this equipment works. That’s why we have only one brand of solar controller, inverter, battery, etc. We can’t give service over the phone if we don’t know about the equipment.”
Host’s upgraded lithium off-grid systems are a perfect compliment for the company’s complete lineup of luxury truck campers, which feature as many as three slide-outs and amenities like reclining seats, a gas fireplace, a full-size wet-bath, and a king-size bed.
“Chevrolet builds a lot more cars than Ferrari, but I’d still rather have a Ferrari. That’s kind of how we feel about us. There are guys who make a lot more campers, but nobody makes a better one than Host. We’re usually the guy who’s leading the way with cutting edge designs and features. Our Off-Grid Systems is another fine example of that,” Pozzi said.