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EV "Missionary" Work with KOA RV Sites

Many on this forum have provided insights on taking trips in the Model S. Out here in the Midwest, we have no Superchargers, and a sprinkling of Level 2 charging stations in our major cities.

It appears that the RV site route is the best solution for charging on a trip. I have made calls to various campgrounds, and get very different responses. They range from "no problem" and it will be $5 per hour for a 50 amp circuit to "nobody has every asked us about this, but we would have to charge you $40 for an overnight campsite.

I sent a note to KOA yesterday suggesting they actively market their RV to EV owners. If you own a park, why wouldn't you rent out an empty site for a few hours for $5 an hour or so? It would also be great PR and put a high tech, forward thinking spin on their brand.

If nothing else, KOA could send out an information bulletin to their site owners. They could also get listed with Plugshare and the DOE site.

It would be great if anyone on our forum has a contact at KOA corporate that could get this message up the chain.

$5 an hour means $5 for 31 miles of added charge.

Quite expensive (costlier than a gallon of gas assuming 31 mpg) but worth it, in light of there being no other options.

On a long trip (500+ miles each way)a couple of weeks after I got the car, I charged for 6 hours at a KOA campground. No choice. It was an experiment and the result of the experiment was that I wasn't going to go on trips that long again until there were more Superchargers. Six extra hours each way plus the extra time going 55 MPH made the trip very long timewise.

I think you are correct for a trip that long. I only need about an extra 60 miles of range, so I will only be charging for two hours.

Also, I recently took an overnight trip to a casino that only had a standard 110 outlet available. The campground nearby had a 14-50 outlet and a shuttle to and from the casino. I was able to park my car overnight with a full charge the next day.

Question to those who have had to leave their Model S parked at a KOA or other charge site for an extended period of time... aren't you worried that something is going to happen to your car when you're not there? A 20 minute charge at a supercharger can happen while you wait and while you are watching your car. How do you cope when you need to leave your car at a KOA or RV site for several hours while you are somewhere else - shopping, for example?

I am going to order my vehicle as soon as I hear back on the financing today. This is something that concerns me and keeps going through the back of my mind. The thought of leaving my Model S unattended for any extended period of time is worrisome. Maybe I'm paranoid? LOL

Charging at KOA works well when staying overnoght and I would use them in a snap if it were widely available. Charging at KOA along the way is just too slow, even though many brave people have done just that.

@AmpedRealtor:

"The thought of leaving my Model S unattended for any extended period of time is worrisome."

I agree but any nice car will draw the attention of both average people as well as ne'er-do-wells. It's something you'll learn to live with. Most people look at the car and seemingly discuss it with their families as a curiosity while they walk away.

Nevertheless your insurance will cover you if anything happens. In the meantime take solace in the fact that your EV is raising awareness of alternative fuels/vehicles while you're away.

I went out to Denver this past week and used KOA and other RV campgrounds for my charging between St. Louis and Denver. I actually found it relaxing. Now it did take longer. In a gas car I would have done the trip in 1 1/2 days, I took 2 1/2 days in the Model S. But I planned for that and had the time. I actually found the trip relaxing for the most part. I drove 65 to 70 just about the whole way and made 4 charging stops, 2 overnight and 2 - 5 hour midday stops (each way).

For the overnight stops I tried it two ways. One renting a cabin and 50 amp site (total with dog was $85 dollars KOA Oak Grove, MO). The other was just renting a 50amp site and sleeping the car, as the KOA at Wakeeney, KS wanted to charge me full price for both which would have been abour $100. I either won't do that again, or will get a twin blow up mattress for the back of the S (feel free to read by trip blog on Telsamotorclub.com for details).

For the midday stops I had identified RV campgrounds along the way to stop and charge at. On the way out it worked perfect, on the way back I had to find a alternate site for one stop as the KOA I'd planned to stop at was booked full for 50amp sites. Luckily, I called an hour before I got there to check and had a buffer charge. I located a RV campground 65 miles further up that was available (Mill Creek RV campground at Paxilla, KS very nice) and stopped at the alternate.

I brought with me an anti-gravity chair, a book, and my tablet. Also had my dog along. I spent the 5 hours charging relaxing, reading, and walking the dog. For me this was great as I rarely if ever get a chance to slow down during a normal day.

Granted this is not for everyone. But if you have the time available, plan the trip (with back up locations), and bring along things to entertain yourself, the trip is not that bad. Though yes it will be great when we have SuperChargers, but I'm not going to let the lack of SuperChargers stop me from traveling the country in my Model S.

I called a few KOA sites here in VA (when I was making my decision re: twin chargers). Received the same kind of feedback.

IMO you are spot on... I looked into becoming a station owner and was planning on reaching out to KOA to see about a partnership (I would install and manage the infrastructure, they would provide the real-estate)... but I wouldn't go down that road unless it was for DC Fast charge, and the challenges I found were:

1) Not enough demand
2) Tesla proprietary Fast Charge
3) Huge capex
4) Very long payback

Seems like 50A at KOA is the best short term option.

Another thought was to install HPWC at KOAs just for Tesla, but you still have a demand issue, and could be a management nightmare since they were not designed for commercial use...

my $0.02

@Liz G thanks for that. It's very helpful. What websites or apps do you recommend to find charging stations and RV sites?

I haven't done any roadtrips myself, but I've heard this is a handy app for finding RV sites.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/camp-rv-tent-camping-to-rv/id370820516?mt=8

For charging stations, try plugshare.com, recargo.com, and carstations.com

Oh, forgot to mention that plugshare and recargo are merging.

@paul_villasenor

I used KOA.com and then the apps RV Park Finder and RV Camps Locator.

KOA is usually the best bet for overnights as they normally have cabins you can rent as well as 50amp sites.

Always be sure to confirm that the 50amp sites are actually rigged for 240v (if they're not sure ask if the big RV's with a/c have any problems using the sites). KOAs are generally safe though, because of the KOA standards. I mention this because of a bad incident FlasherZ and I encountered in the Lake of the Ozarks where all but one of the 50amp sites at the RV park we were staying at was rigged with 120v. But thank goodness at least one had 240v.

If "Peter7" ever releases his design for the Multi-Input EVSE, you will be able to plug into 2 14-50s at once. If you have dual chargers.


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