By Mike Gast
My good friend Chuck Woodbury and I were talking recently about electric vehicles (EVs). (You may remember Chuck as the writer in this space for the past 1,000 issues!) How soon would it be, we wondered, until campground owners would be dealing with EV owners showing up, desperate to plug in for an electronic “refill” of their goofy e-car? We laughed about the possibility, in some distant future, of an electric vehicle towing its own RV.
Well, take a look at the photo at the top of this story. That’s a Tesla, towing an Airstream Bambi, pulling out of a campground recently just south of San Francisco. The future, I’m afraid, has already arrived and it’s looking for a place to plug in.
There are a few visionary RV park owners out there who have already installed standalone, pay-to-plug EV charging stations at their parks, generating a bit of a cashflow from the new Green Economy. Most of the dedicated EV charging stations can “rapid charge” a car from empty to full in about an hour-and-a-half. Most EV users are just passing through, and only using campgrounds as filling stations if it’s allowed.
Is charging up at a campground safe?
But most campground owners will soon be faced with the dilemma of deciding whether to allow more long-distance electronic vehicle owners to plug their fancy adapters into existing 50-amp site power pedestals. Doing so might tie up a site for several hours. With campgrounds bulging full this summer, there are bound to be conflicts.
The power pedestal folks are warning that charging EVs on traditional campground pedestals isn’t smart for the car or the campground. Both could be damaged if things aren’t done perfectly.
And imagine the turmoil when a 40-foot class A diesel pusher arrives with an electric vehicle in tow. That overnight RVer will certainly want to plug their EV into the 50-amp to recharge, and likely use a 30-amp adapter to draw power to their RV at the same time from the same pedestal to power those two air conditioners, umpteen televisions and an occasional burst from the microwave. Not many campground power grids will survive that amperage draw.
State governments, especially in California, are hot to entice more “green” development and e-charging stations by dispersing valuable “Green Credits” and other incentives. No doubt, the newly green Executive Branch in D.C. will also be sweetening the pot.
What new electric vehicles should you be on the lookout for?
Ford just unveiled an all-electric F-150 truck. Tesla is set to start producing their 250-mile-range pickup in 2022. And we know there are all-electric motorhomes on the drawing board. Winnebago unveiled their prototype way back in 2018, and Camping World has a partnership with Lordstown Motors to create an all-electric RV.
A German company called WOF began actually selling its Iridium EV RV in 2019 in Europe. That rig has a whopping range of 124 miles per full charge, which makes for a rather frustrating cross-country trip. But battery enhancements are happening every day. Campground owners ignore this electronic future at their own peril.
The issues brought on by electric vehicles for both RVers and campgrounds are many. How can you efficiently provide charging stations? When should you consider purchasing your own EV? When will we see all-electric RVs on the market? How far can you really expect to travel in a day with an EV?
The questions regarding electric vehicles and the future of RVing are endless. In the coming weeks, we’ll take a look at the stuff we think you should know on the subject. We also welcome your questions regarding EVs and the future, and we promise to do our best to provide you answers.
Stay tuned. We’ve got a lot to talk about.