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Recharge Your EV at Campgrounds

April 10, 2011 by Rex Vogel · 42 Comments  
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It is not a stretch to see campgrounds with charging stations, in addition to national parks, state parks, Camping World, and other places where RVers travel. And of course, the bottom line is, that if charging does become ubiquitous then an Electric Vehicle (EV) as a dinghy becomes a viable decision, wrote Bob Difley in dinghytowing.rvtravel.com.

A sign of the times. Image courtesy pluginrecharge.com

A sign of the times. Image courtesy pluginrecharge.com

“Costs of charging would be passed on to the driver, as are regular fuel costs, but if utility companies continue with reduced rates for overnight use, then charging your EV toad in your campground while you sleep would be not only efficient but cheaper. Meters on the charging stations would calculate costs and add to your campground charges,” added Difley.

Two short months later it’s a reality!

EV Owners Getting a Charge at Campgrounds

Across the country, campground operators are reporting a gradual uptick in inquiries from EV owners who are considering using campgrounds as refueling stops on long-haul trips. Travelers who do this typically have adapters that enable them to plug into 50-amp, 240-volt electric pedestals that campgrounds often provide with their RV sites, reports Edmunds.com.

“We’ve been getting quite a few calls from people wanting to charge their vehicles at our park,” said Russ Yates, owner of Holiday Park Campground in Greensboro, Maryland, adding that he’s installed a separate 50-amp/240 volt plug on the side of the campground office so that people can recharge their vehicles without having to park in a campsite. He charges $8.50 for a four-hour charge.

“Most people who come to our park to recharge their vehicles come up to our store and buy snacks. Or they get on their laptops and send email. But most of them simply take a nap in their vehicle or they walk around our park and sit by the river,” Yates said.

EV owners can charge their cars at Cherry Hill RV Park in College Park, Maryland. Photo courtesy Edmunds.com

EV owners can charge their cars at Cherry Hill RV Park in College Park, Maryland. Photo courtesy Edmunds.com

Cherry Hill Park in College Park, Maryland, has been one of the greenest campgrounds in the country for several years, having made substantial investments in solar panels for water heating and power generation. And then there’s the campground’s electric-vehicle charger, something EV drivers are not accustomed to seeing at campgrounds.

Mike Gurevich, owner of Cherry Hill Park, the closest campground to Washington, D.C., recently recalled a proud moment two years ago: “This guy knocked on the door and said, ‘Can I charge my car?’ I said, ‘Absolutely.’ ”
Using the campground’s 50-amp, 240-volt electric hookups, EV owners with special adapters can charge their cars at Cherry Hill Park in about four hours. While their cars get juiced up, the owners typically “just hang out. Some sit at our picnic tables and work on their computers, using our Wi-Fi system. Others eat lunch at our cafe,” Gurevich said.
Only a handful of electric-car owners have used Cherry Hill Park for refueling purposes so date, but Gurevich plans to market the feature in coming weeks in an effort to increase his business. He charges $10 for a four-hour charge.

On the West Coast the Ciudad del Rey Motel & Trailer Park is a mandatory stop to charge on trips from Los Angeles to San Francisco if you only have 100 something mile range.

Patrick Stone, owner of Mountain Gate RV Park in Redding, California, said he’s also had several people stop by his park to recharge their vehicles. “Normally,” he said, “they’re on their way north or south and they need a pretty good charge to get over the mountains.”

RV sites have also bailed EV owners out from a defective charge station. When the chargers at the Long Beach Convention Center turned out to be inoperative the Golden Shore RV Park, a mile to the west, helped drivers out with parking, charging, and a bike rental to explore the area.

Getting juiced up! Photo courtesy inhabitat.com

Getting juiced up! Photo courtesy inhabitat.com

While the idea of using campgrounds as refueling stops for electric vehicles is enticing for many park operators, campgrounds may need to install dedicated chargers so as not to tie up too many camping hookups if the EV-charging idea takes off, said Wade Elliott, president and CEO of Utility Supply Group, an RV and EV pedestal supplier based in Preston, Washington. That will be particularly true as more EVs and plug-in hybrids hit the streets.

To continue reading, click here.

Happy Trails. Life is an adventure. Enjoy your journey.

Worth Pondering…
Shoot for the moon, Even if you miss it you will land among the stars.

—Les Brown

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If you enjoy these articles and want to read more on RV travels and lifestyle, visit my website: Vogel Talks RVing.

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42 Responses to “Recharge Your EV at Campgrounds”

  1. Geoffrey Pruett on April 10th, 2011 5:46 pm

    The charging stations are a natural for RV camp grounds although those in remote locations may find the utility grumbling about usage amounts. The service aspect is a natural and can open up new retail possiblities for the store. What this will do only in spots is improve air quality, most of the USA recieves power from burning fuel, not hydro or nukes and thus only shifts the location of the pollutants. That said the logic behind electic transport is just dawning as the hard ware involved is still in the infant stage, storage batteries at the top of this list. Lithium batteries produce amazing recharge/delivery times and are getting better almost daily and are already considered “old” technology. The down side is that the larger companies investing in new ideas are not American. Thank you corporate greed!

  2. Bruce Schmidt on April 10th, 2011 7:01 pm

    I find the charging stations interesting. I know RV places need to make money but wonder about their surcharges for charging. $10 for 4 hours or so sounds like a rip. Kind of like my pet peeve of the surcharge for 50 amp service where I’m paying for the electricity. Think if you went to a gas station and there was a surcharge to use the premium gas on top of the price of it. Well, I guess if you want economy, you have to pay for it. Let’s see $10 to go 100 miles. That is about the same as 2-1/2 gallons of gas to go 100 MILES AT 40MPG. Of course the electric car cost 2-3 times more than my 40 mpg gas car. But maybe there is some shifting of the “green” other than money. Maybe someday it will make sense to go electric.

  3. Dan Rambow on April 10th, 2011 10:51 pm

    Just some thoughts regarding Bruce’s comments. I don’t know about getting a surcharge for 50amp vs 30amp service, but if 30amp service is included in a space rent, I can understand the surcharge. From my own monitoring, when hooked to 30amp service, my power-center jumps the power all over the place to various appliances to keep use under the 30amp source. But when plugged into 50amp, everything can and does run at the same time. Causing me to use more electricity. Thus a surcharge could be justified over the base rent that includes 30amp service.

    On the other side of the coin, I agree that if you are metered for your electric use, the only justification for a surcharge for 50amp, is if the park is doing something extra or different to provide the 50amp power.

    And I believe that when visiting any gas station, there is always a surcharge on premium vs regular, that’s why it costs more for premium.

    Now the price to charge a car to go 100 miles, might be high, but you are buying a small quantity as a one-time shot, most things do cost more that way. If you go to a bar, and order one drink, you are certainly paying more than going to the liqour store and buying a bottle, then making your own drink. You are paying for the convience of that small, one-time shot of electricity.

  4. joe on April 11th, 2011 1:31 am

    In addition to the non-economy that Bruce points out, having to stop for 4 hours on a 200 mile trip just turned my 3 hour drive into a 7 hour trek. Instead of arriving for lunch, I’ll be there for dinner.

    Sorry, I don’t see this turning into a widespread trend for RV parks. I can only see it as attractive in the oddest of circumstances (a park that happens to be halfway between San Diego and San Francisco, for example).

  5. G Shea on April 11th, 2011 2:06 am

    As the shift from gas and diesel slowly moves forward there will always be those who think it won’t happen or it is impractical . The big advantages of electric is it can be made in the USA from clean sources like solar, wind, or nuke. The range issue will improve over time, and many who use electric now have found them to be perfect for the short trips most of us take daily. I don’t see driving one to Disneyland, but to work each day, absolutely.The costs will adjust and so will the grid to provide for these vehicles over time. Standing in the way of real progress that will reduce our need for foreign oil doesn’t make sense to me. As electric, CNG, and Bio diesel use increase, demand for foreign oil will go down and one day we will look back and wonder why we didn’t switch long ago.
    G Shea

  6. Manuel Enos on April 11th, 2011 8:28 am

    I agree with Bruce – Paying 60 or 70k for a lean, green gotta charge every 100 miles or so is really only for those tree huggers who live in cities. I live in the country about 45 miles from any big city or large town. Driving the so called Obamanation to town for groceries and then having to wait hours before I can drive it home is not for me at this stage of the game. I will stick with my 40mpg rice rocket…Thanks…

  7. John on April 14th, 2011 2:25 pm

    Hi Rex,
    Thanks for some interesting articles. Been reading your articles and also Peter Mercers’ as well.
    Have a question and am hoping you may help. I’ve been trying to find out what has happened with Peter Mercer (Lug_Nut)? I have sent email request to RV.net, and no replies. He authored many class a motorhome articles for RV.net.
    The last one I read was in the fall of 2010.

    Please keep your articles coming.
    Cheers,
    John

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