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KOA: how to use, etc.

I notice several mentioning KOA as a source for on-the-road charging. What are the specifics? Must one be a member (pay the annual fee)? How about specific campgrounds. Do some proprietors/owners get hinky about one pulling up for a charge? Is there a generally agreed upon fee for the service?


I believe they are all franchised, so there's no way to give you good answers for all of them. You will need to call the ones you plan to go to for specifics. However, there is no annual fee or membership to stay at a KOA. They have a club like system that's similar to frequent fliers for airlines, but it's not mandatory.

When it comes to charging at KOA or any RV site for that matter, the primary thing to request is a 50 amp hookup. Don't request a NEMA 14-50 as they won't know what that is. Reading other people's experiences, the reactions to charging have been very mixed. They include charging a few dollars an hour, a fixed fee, a full RV day rate (regardless of how long you are there) to flat out not allowing you to charge. Therefore it's critical to call ahead of any you plan to visit.

I just spent this last weekend camping at a KOA with my Tesla. I booked a 50 amp RV spot and made sure they were OK with me camping in an RV spot (normally not allowed but they were OK since I didn't actually bring an RV). They even lowered my rate to a standard electric camp site ($15 less per night). However, I ran into another issue which appears to be common. Even when I lowered my recharge rate to 30 amps, I blew the circuit breaker. Because they are exposed to the elements and heavily used, be prepared for issues. So it would be very wise to watch the charge status for awhile and don't just assume all is going well. I ended up charging at 26 amps. Not great, but still enough to fully charge overnight.

excellent advice and feedback.
As you imply: call ahead wherever possible. And check hours. You can't assume 24/7 booking offices.

I should add that I've never experienced or heard of any KOA refusing to allow an EV to charge. They also often offer cabins for rent that are sort of spartan hotel rooms that can be convenient places to stay over night.

The being denied access I mentioned came from an incident mentioned in TMC at a KOA in Forsyth, GA. An E-mail was sent to them by an owner asking about access and they replied back saying they do not allow EV charging at RV spots. Fortunately that does not appear to be a common issue.

Yes, they are franchises, and others have reported occasional refusals. Phone ahead.

I have found campgrounds and actually virtually everyone to be open to EVs and charging in general. That said one issue I had with a KOA is the NEMA 14-50 was really two 120V legs. I hear most RV's do not really use 240V but 120V split to the neutral. So this wiring can work for them. So with 120V showing on my meter the car would not charge as the Roadster expects 240V.

And they are franchised and prices and rules vary WIDELY.

These comments match my experiences in a recent round trip from the west coast to the east coast and back. We stayed at many KOAs, never refused unless they were closed for the season. Even one that was closed (an RV park not part of the KOA system)allowed us to plug in overnight in the otherwise empty park and leave a $20 bill in their mail box.

We had the experience of circuit breakers tripping but were able to avoid it by dialing down the amperage on the touchscreen to 36 amps.

The commenter here Peter7 is an EE who was part of a cross-country (xc) trip that used KOA etc. almost all the way. His edge was that he'd rigged up a snazzy "Multi-Input EVSE" that plugged into two 14-50s at once, and drew up to 80A! He seems to have thought better of publicizing his design, though. Too bad.

"RV's do not really use 240V but 120V split to the neutral"

Pretty sure that's normal... I've heard of 240v L-N but I've never seen it.

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