Welcome to my J.A.M. (Just Ask Mike) Session, a weekly column where I answer your basic electrical questions. If you’re a newbie who’s never plugged in a shore power cord (or ask – what’s a shore power cord?), or wonder why your daughter’s hair dryer keeps tripping the circuit breaker, this column is for you. Send your questions to Mike Sokol at mike (at) noshockzone.org with the subject line – JAM. Today I’m discussing electric vehicles to be towed, and charging EVs at the campground.
We’ve been anxiously following your GoGreenRV postings about EVs for towing (maybe a few years in the future) and EV toads (possibly sooner rather than later). So my husband and I are really thinking about some kind of small EV for towing behind our Class C RV.
And what about charging them? Are any manufacturers designing them so your EV toad can be recharged while being towed?
How about charging them at a campground? Can you simply plug an EV into a pedestal outlet overnight? Any info would be great! —Millie and Dan
Dear Millie and Dan,
First of all, thanks for watching my EV adventures on the GoGreenRV Facebook group and YouTube channel. As you probably know, I’ve already done towing tests with a Volkswagen ID.4 EV and a Ford F-150 PowerBoost hybrid truck.
I have lots more tests and demonstrations planned this fall and winter, as soon as more EVs become available from the media pools.
What I don’t know…
Because a lot of what we’re seeing on television ads for EVs is basically vaporware, and there’s a tremendous shortage of silicon chips and other parts, the dates when these promised electric vehicles will hit the streets have been pushed back by a year or more.
So I can’t answer your questions about EV 4-down towing yet, nor will any manufacturer commit to an EV toad that can be charged while towing. But I keep asking for more info all the time. So stay tuned!
What I do know…
There’s a class of Level-2 EV chargers that are not only weather-resistant, they also come with a standard NEMA 14-50 plug. That’s right, this is the same connector found on 50-amp RV shore power cords and campground pedestals. Neat-o!
These Level-2 chargers all work on 240 volts (which is what any campground pedestal or home charger outlet should be wired for) and up to 40 amps of current (that’s 9,600 watts).
Now, if a campground will allow you to use the extra electricity (most likely with a surcharge), that suggests you could completely recharge a toad with a 75kWh battery from 0 to 100% SoC (State of Charge) in about 8 to 9 hours. So an overnight recharge would easily charge your EV-toad.
Do I have one to test?
You bet your sweet bippie I do. I just received a demo Level-2 EV charger from Mustart which has the appropriate NEMA 14-50 connector. This model has adjustable charging rates from 15 to 25, up to 40 amps at 240-volts. That’s great because you don’t have to overload your local power grid with a quick EV charge, when an overnight charge at lower amperage will suffice. I call that being a friendly EV neighbor.
In any event, a kWh is kWh so it will cost the campground (or you) the same amount of money from the power company no matter if you charge it at 40 amps or 15 amps. That’s just like filling up your ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) vehicle’s gas tank at a pump.
When will you test it?
Soon, but I’m not sure exactly when. I have a local campground I can try out, so I’m just waiting on another loaner RV for the experiment. So, as soon as I get an EV to try this out on, I’ll kick the tires and light the fires, as it were. If you can’t wait for me to test one, you can purchase one from Mustart on Amazon HERE.
I’m on the short list (I think…)
I’m on the short list of the Rivian, Ford, GM and Volkswagen EV media pools, so as soon as they can free one up for me for a week I’ll snag it and do a few mileage and charging tests. I REALLY want to test the Rivian, but the GM EV Hummer would be a real crowd pleaser.
However, beggars can’t be choosers, so I’ll take anything I can get to play with. Right now I’m at the tender mercies of the EV media departments, but I’m working on it!
OK, everyone. Remember that electricity is a useful and powerful force, so we all need to pay attention to safety precautions while using it.
Let’s play safe out there….
Mike Sokol is an electrical and professional sound expert with 50+ years in the industry. His excellent book RV Electrical Safety is available at Amazon.com. For more info on Mike’s qualifications as an electrical expert, click here.
And you don’t want to miss Mike’s webcasts on his YouTube channel.
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