Can RV Parks Meet the Electric Vehicle Challenge?

The National Association of RV parks and KOA sponsored this year’s biggest annual convention in Orlando Florida. The Outdoor Hospitality Conference and Expo pulled RV park owners from all over the country to discuss the elephant in the room, among other topics. Basically, how to charge customers for EV service for rigs and cars. More importantly, how can park owners provide EV service, what will it look like, and how can they collaborate with electric providers locally.

ARVC, a leader in the outdoor hospitality industry, is the only national association dedicated to representing the interests and needs of private RV parks and campgrounds in the US and Canada.

The association is fumbling for a profitable way to deal with the big wave of electric vehicles coming their way. They could advocate regular Level 2 charging stations that would only create a small investment of about $1,000 to buy and install. Or should they push the quick charge equipment that is commercial grade Level 3 at $20,000 plus.

So, how do they recoup their expenses? Absorb the cost as a goodwill loss-leader? Probably not. Since most states don’t allow resellers of electricity to make a profit, they can only pass on a small service charge to the customer. Park owners know that with 576,000 Electric Vehicles sold this year alone, EV is indeed coming their way. Although EV cars may be the only drag on the electrical system right now in their parks, the EV motorhome is on its way.

Now that highway EV fueling stations have joined the parade, including Kum & Go, Pilot and 7-Eleven, the 7.5 Billion dollars from the Infrastructure Bill passed in the Biden’s Administration should drive the point home.

The next thing you need to know as an EV RV or auto owner is what do you need to be able to use all these new or re-vamped electrical charge stations. And where are they?

PlugShare is one of the latest trip-planning software applications to provide charging station mapping software and EV charging station solutions. Since most RV Parks do not offer pluggable charge adapters only the outlets, the user provides their own portable Level-2 charger. There are plenty of chargers available to buy. Vendors are joining the cause to help you meet the challenge. They range in price from $300-700.

It would be wise to purchase charge adapters that are 40 Amp UL listed so they meet all the standards that will surely be posted at each charger. Keep in mind, the outlet has to support more amperage/current than what the charger will draw. 

For safety reasons, chargers are capped at 80% of current outlet capacity. If the outlet can support 50 Amp, the max charger draw would be 40 Amp (80% of 50). Most portable chargers are rated at 32 Amp or 40 Amp. This probably means that all RV parks must eventually upgrade to only 50 Amp outlets. Amazon has a wide selection of charge adapters for all types of vehicles. Included here is only one example.

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