• Apr 15th 2011 at 1:00PM
  • 18
Change is inevitable and, with gas prices rising, industries related to the RV world are reinventing themselves in order to keep up with the evolving demands of the market. Even the so-called "RV Capital of the World," Elkhart, IN, is trying to change its ways. It seems the push there is to now become known for making EVs, starting with the Think City. But this isn't the only tie between RVs and EVs.
Last year, we wrote about electric vehicle advocate Chad Schwitters driving his Tesla Roadster from Washington state to San Diego, CA. As we're all aware, our public EV charging infrastructure is pretty dismal, making such a long journey might be unthinkable to less-creative EV drivers. Schwitters, though, employed some out-of-the-box thinking to charge up at RV parks along the way.

With more EVs on the roads and with gas consumption at about 7-10 miles per gallon for those compact homes on wheels, RV parks are - probably experiencing lower occupancy - are reinventing themselves. Savvy park operators around the country are making it known that EVs are welcome. Maryland campground owner Russ Yates has had such high demand that he had an EV charger installed just outside his office. He offers a four-hour charge for $8.50 on 240 volt, 50 amp power which would get a Nissan Leaf mostly charged up (unless your battery is completely drained, then you'd have about a seven-hour wait). During charging, EV travelers may take advantage of the snack shop (more income for Yates), internet access, and the park grounds.

Perhaps in the near future, the ubiquitous "RV Park" signs we see along the lonely highways will read "EV + RV Park." In that case, leisurely EV road trip, anyone?

[Source: Wired | Image:jamesfischer - C.C. License 2.0]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      Let's not forget that unless that 240 V, 50 A charger is outputting DC power and is CHAdeMO compliant, this is going to go through the AC Level 2 port. The on-board charger is 3.3 kW, so there is no way for the current Leaf to make use of this power. The 2nd Gen is likely to get a 6.6 kW on-board charger like the Coda and Focus EV, but for now, 3.3 kW and not 12 kW is all that can be had.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I've called a few local state and county parks and received extremely warm receptions, welcoming me to come and charge on any available outlet for the low-low cost of free. A lot of our parks have 240 volt RV camping too.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Can you plug a leaf into a regular 240 outlet? I didn't think you could.
        • 4 Years Ago
        As long as you have a J1772 adapter for that outlet (such an adapter would also need a special box in it to do the J1772 handshake required for level 2 charging). But as mentioned by jeffwishart, the onboard charger is only 3.3kW (basically 240V@15amps) so it can't use the faster 50 amp anyways.

        Don't know if it is out yet, but there's a EVSE that you can "install" just by plugging it into a socket. You can use that as an "adapter".
      • 4 Years Ago
      Somebody check my arithmetic. If we assume 50 miles range for the $8.50 charge cited in the article, this is 17 cents per mile. When I first got my Prius ten years ago, I kept records for the first 25,000 miles and averaged 43 mpg. Even assuming $4 gas, this is 9.3 cents per mile. Why should it cost twice as much to drive a Leaf as a Prius?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Well, 4 hours at 240v and 50A is 12KWh, which is about half of the Leaf's pack.

        Which means he's charging a whopping $0.708 per KWh.

        My electric bill at home is more like $0.08 per KWh. $0.20 to $0.30 per KWh would generally be considered to be "gouging" by the vast majority of consumers, if they were paying that at home. Any industrial or commercial location would raise a serious political stink over that kind of pricing. His prices are a complete ripoff.
        • 4 Years Ago
        You're also paying for use of amenities that may include a swimming pool, picnic area, internet access, etc.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Ernie; You forgot the 4 hours.
        240V @ 50A = 12 kW.

        12 kW for 4 hours gets you (up to) 48 kWh. That's $0.17/kWh. That's still high, and Yates is not losing money, but it's not a bad deal.

        If you have the ability to charge at that rate, and the battery capacity, 48 kWh should move you something like 150-200 miles. (We generally assume 300 Wh/mile in our eBoxes).

        Of course if you can only charge at 3.3 kW like the standard Leaf, then the most you can get is 13.2 kWh in 4 hours.
        • 4 Years Ago
        You're paying for the convience of an available charge port. If you are 40 miles from home with a near dead battery, how much is that 4 hour charge worth? The park owner is not forcing anyone to use his charger.
      • 4 Years Ago
      For the Volt, LEAF and i-MiEV that works out to 64 cents per kWh. The Focus EV would be 32 cents per kWh and the Tesla Roadster(max draw 40 amp on a 50 circuit) 22 cents per kWh. Not bad for the Tesla, a little pricey for the Focus EV, but way too much for the others.
        • 4 Years Ago
        If anyone is wondering about my math, this is how I calculated it.
        (Volt, LEAF, i-MiEV) $8.50/(3.3kW x 4hr) = $0.64/kWh
        (Focus EV) $8.50/(6.6kW x 4hr) = $0.32/kWh
        (Tesla) $8.50/(40A x 240V x 4hr) = $0.22/kWh
      • 4 Years Ago
      You are also getting use of the campgrounds for that time. So go hiking or like it mentioned you get 4 hours of Wireless High Speed Internet. Its not free everywhere.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Hopefully RV parks can build a few cabins to rent out for those who want to charge overnight or want to stop for lunch and a siesta.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Personally, I *might* consider $5 for a 400V quick-charge, but I'd be seriously wary of anything more than that.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Leisurely road trip indeed:

      • 4 Years Ago
      $8.50 for a 4 hour charge?... Instead of being hosed by Gas Stations, people are being hosed by Charging Stations. I guess they're taking advantage of foolish Leaf owners who may wander too far from home. And by too far, I mean 45 minutes one way on a good day..
      • 4 Years Ago
      $8.50 / 12kWhr charge = $0.70/kWhr or equivalent to about 22mpg if gas is $3.60/gal.

      It is good that it is available at all, so a small premium is to be expected. When there is more competition, the price will come down.
      • 4 Years Ago
      The obvious thing to do is put electric chargers at all rest stops on interstate highways. It could be done at a profit to the installer while keeping prices to the user reasonable. The total price would be relatively small and this would make national travel possible with the currently available electric cars.
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