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Charging at a campground in the hinterlands

I pick up my Model S (85, black, pano, black, obeche matte, tech) on Friday and on Monday I need to drive my kids about 170 miles from Chicago to eastern Iowa, drop them off, and then drive back home. There is just NO WAY I can consider doing that in my ICE car, but it's too far for a non-stop round trip in the S, so I have been using plugshare, KOA, rvparking, etc. to find some charging options en route. It's more difficult than it will be later since I do not yet have a "feel" for the car and the actual range I can expect from it. There are lots of 30A options, but that would make for a long stop. I found a couple of 50A options, which will drop my charging time down to about 3 to 3.5 hours, and so I tried to find one generally not out of the way that would give me something to do while the car charges.

Anyway, I found a campground with 50A outlets in a scenic area that offers geocaching, a lake, and a nice place to kill some time. I called the campground just to confirm. Now, this is NOT California; this is eastern Iowa. When I explained that I had an EV and that I would like to charge my car for a few hours, the poor woman was UTTERLY stymied. She finally got her head around what I wanted, went off and checked with her boss, and told me it would be fine, but I would have to rent a campsite for a night - $21. Oh well. I suppose it makes sense from their perspective. But maybe after my visit they will be more familiar with EVs and the next EV visitor there might get a better deal.

It's kind of fun to feel like a pioneer.

I'm in Tennessee and I'm hoping that Superchargers get here before I find myself having to hunt down an RV park. I'm one of the first Teslas in the area so I can only imagine what that conversation would be like. ;-)

I can empathize, I called a "new" RV park in Safford Arizona and they also were dumbfounded. Likewise they wanted to charge me a lot more than the $3.00 or so worth of power I would draw. I wound up plugging into a 110 circuit because I had the time available. I will probably have to pay them a visit in person to get the idea of simply paying a small fee for the power drawn which some profit added in for the convenience.

It isn't the amount of power you use - they need to make an operating profit to cover the thousands of dollars to install the plugs, breakers, electrical service, etc. A $20 or so charge isn't out of line, IMHO.

Maybe it is not the best to discuss over the phone the need for an EV... over the phone I would just ask for a 50A circut and a reservation. Once you are there in person it is much easier to explain.
Just an idea...

An RV park has the 50-amp service already installed for the RVs. When charging, you're taking up one of the spots, so if they're busy they need to charge you the full "slot rental" amount.

I found a RV park with 50 amp service and they said it would be $10.00 for up to two hrs of charging. Seems very fair.

Don't wander too far from your car for the first hour of charging at a campsite 50A. I made that mistake (went to sleep) and ended up with only 15 more miles added after 4 hours. The circuit heated up and tripped about 30 mins in. Moved it to another plug and the same thing happened 30 mins later. Dropped the amps to 25-30 and it charged no problem for the remainder of the night. YMMV.

I'm a RV dealer & campgrounds in my area have a reputation for poor electrical service. Over 50% of my service calls for electrical problems are solved over the phone by checking the voltage at the park.

Scoberly, Since I live in Marion IA I was interested in your post. Where in eastern IA are you headed? If you are near me you could use my 50 plug.

I had to travel to Chicago over the Memorial Day holiday and found a Nissan dealership in Dixon Il that charges at around 18 mph rate. It is in front of the dealership and they are VERY friendly there. Also if you use recargo/plugshare there is an individual near Galena who has a 50 amp plug outside near the end of his driveway.

@yonak Thanks, good advice. I'll state close or keep a close eye on my iPhone app.

@Theresa Thank you! I'm only going as far as Davenport. Hopefully the rv campground in Scott Park just north of Davenport works out. I saw that Nissan dealer in Dixon on the map and will keep that in mind as a plan B. on Friday, I head to North Liberty to fetch my kids. I'm going to stay overnight on Thursday south of CR at the Kirkwood; they supposedly have a charger at the hotel. If I charge all night I should be in fine shape to make it home.

Kirkwood is only about 15 miles from me. Yes they have a charger there. I have not personally used it but I am fairly certain it probably is in the 15-18 mph charge range.

My contact info is listed on plugshare so if you want to contact me login there.

@Theresa I see a Keith B. around there on plugshare. Is that you?

Yes. My husband and I own the car and he registered on plugshare.

A related question--Is RV 50A service 120V or 240V? Always? Thanks.

RV 50A service is 240 volts. Always.

Yes, and older RV parks will have 30A receptacles which is 120V always.

Shop, not only older RV parks have 30A, 120V receptacles. All parks have those because they need them for trailers and the Class-C motorhomes. None of those can take 240V.

We have to get golf courses to install these charging stations, get in a round and off you go again. I could easily travel cross-county like that!

The RV parks I have used have only 208V, not 240. I don't have twin chargers so am limited to 40A. As a result, I charge at about 22 miles range per hour of charging. I would determine how far it was to the next charging station, add 50 miles for safety and stay the appropriate time.

One park metered my use and charged $10 or metered at 12 cents/KwHr, which ever was more. Metered cost about $6 so I paid $10. Another park had no idea so I paid $10. Another one had done research on charging for EVs and their cost was $3/hour with a maximum of $6.

It does get boring sitting around for 6 hours waiting for the range to increase to where it needs to be.

Scoberly, How did your trip go? Did the charging location work out well?


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