Charging your EV at RV Parks/Campgrounds

Good news is EV Charging infrastructure is improving.  How ever most of the charging infrastructure tends to be in urban areas.  So how do you charge if you are out in the boonies, like a camping trip.

RV Parks/Campgrounds can be a great solution for charging off the beaten path.  Here are some tips.

Understanding Charging Outlets in RV Parks

Luckily most RV parks offer electrical hookups.  The hookups can be 30 amps or 50 amps.  See the images below.

For EV charging, it is preferred to have the 50 Amp – 240 volt outlet, also known as NEMA-14-50 in US.  Because they provide adequate power for charging EVs and most EV chargers have plugs into NEMA-14-50 outlets.

Keep in mind, RV Park chargers are ideal for charging over multiple hours / overnight.  These are not quick DC fast chargers, that can charge your car in an hour or so.  So if you are planning to use RV Park charger, plan on using them for charging overnights.

A typical electrical outlet in a RV park.  Cover is for protection from elements

An electrical outlet at RV park provides multiple outlets.  On left, NEMA 14-50 (50 amps / 240 v), in the middle TT-30 (30 amps / 120v)

Tip-1: What do you need to use RV Park Charger?

Remember, most RV Parks do not offer pluggable charge adapters; They only provide outlets.  So you need to bring your own portable Level-2 charger.  There are plenty of chargers you can buy.  They range in price from $300-700.

I have used Jekayla Level 2 32 Amp Portable Charger  (about $400 on Amazon) and it works really well.

 

Jekayla Level-2 32 Amp Portable charger

Jekayla charger alive. You can see the current flow at 32 amps

 

Here are some examples:

Essential Tip:  Please test your portable charger at home.  Most will plug into NEMA 14-50 outlet.

NEMA 14-50  receptacle

NEMA 14-50 plug

 

Beware of current / amperage draw

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 of outlet capacity.  So if the outlet can support 50A, the max charger draw would be 40A (80% of 50).  Most portable chargers are rated at 32A or 40 A.  So we are good with 50A outlets.

Some chargers allow to change the max-current settings.  Most do not.

Tip-2: Finding an RV Park

Do your search around your desired area of travel/camping to find an RV Park.

Some are listed in plugshare.  Here is an example of ‘High Sierra RV Park (Oakhurst, CA)‘ listing on plugshare.

Not all are listed here though.  You can use the following sites to find RVparks

When you search, specify search criteria to electrical outlets, preferably 50A

Tip-3: Call the RV Parks

Before you make a reservation, I would recommend calling the park to verify some basics.

  • Do they allow electric car charging?  (Some, surprisingly will only allow RVs).  Call to verify
  • Do they have 50A outlets available?  Remember due to max current settings (see above) 50A is a safe bet.
  • how much do they charge?  Some parks only charge for space.  Some charge extra ($10 – $20 / night) for EVs to cover the charging costs.
  • Do  they require reservations?

It is highly recommended to make reservations, as  RV parks near popular destinations can be busy. 

And you want to reserve a 50A spot.

Tip-4: Figure out your stay

If you are going to do overnight stay at RV Park, figure out your accommodations.

If the weather is nice, you can plug in your car and setup a tent.  Just like regular camping.

One thing to keep in mind, camping out among other RVs may not be, err, the most pleasant camping experience 🙂   I usually request a relatively isolated spot, if available.

If outside camping is not possible (e.g. cold weather) does the RV Park offer other accommodations?  Some RV Parks will have rooms, cabins available for rent.  Here is a nice railcar cabin from McCloud River RV Park.

Car camping: with tent outside

Railroad camping cabin

 

Enjoy your outdoor adventure

That’s it.  Have fun!

 

References

 

 

 

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