Opinion: Try EV Charging at Your RV Park
Editor's Note: The following post first appeared on www.CampgroundsConnect.com and was written by Jeff Loper, editor of that website and founder of Mount Juliet, Tenn.-based Campgrounds Connect. For more information, visit www.campgroundsconnect.com or call Loper at (615) 310-6440.
Last week I saw an interesting article fly by in my Google Reader account from Woodall’s Campground Management. Well, it wasn’t really an article, but rather a forum discussion pulled from the Tesla Motors website. Tesla is a manufacturer of high-end electric vehicles (EVs). The forum discussion was on the topic of recharging EVs at RV parks.
We are in a different day and age now, aren’t we? The world around us is going electric. We’re surrounded by electronic gadgets everywhere and now the throaty exhaust sound of a V-6 is slowly being replaced by a virtually noiseless electric motor. While EVs have been on the roads for several years now, they still aren’t huge. However, there’s promise and they’re growing in popularity with each passing day. Especially as gas prices continue to rise as they are right now. I, for one, have considered trading in the pump for the plug.
Whenever a new product comes along that becomes even remotely successful there also other industries that benefit. When the happening new shoes, Crocs, hit the market accessory manufacturers made fancy little do-hickeys that kids could stick in the holy shoe’s holes to give them some bling. When iPods, iPhones, and iPads entered everyones hands, manufacturers developing cases, keyboards, and screen protectors sprung up out of seemingly nowhere. These are just two more known examples, but the fact of the matter is that new business breeds new business.
The EV Transformation
With the EV transformation taking place there are bound to be industries that will benefit. And with proper voltage systems already in place at many, could the campground and RV park industry be one? It’s an unconventional thought, but think about it. Pure EVs, those that are only electric, can’t go very far on a charge. We’re talking anywhere from 75 (Nissan Leaf) to 300 (Tesla Model S) miles per charge. Granted, no one is probably going to drive crosscountry in one of these vehicles anytime soon, but I would certainly not think twice about hopping in a Nissan Leaf to drive to Chattanooga from my home in Nashville if I know I could stop and recharge my EV easily along the way. Problem is, there aren’t a whole lot of options right now.
Some Cracker Barrel restaurants offer the option, but I don’t want to eat every 75 miles. There are others as well, but could a campground EV charging service be part of the mix? They could provide a solution to need that is arising and make some additional revenue at the same time? As I see it, campgrounds along interstates or major thoroughfares stand to benefit the most.
Campground EV Charging Service – What It Could Look Like
Campgrounds could provide an excellent place for families to stop, have a picnic, play on the playground, etc., while they wait for their vehicle to charge. Not only that, they could make their way into your campground store to make a food or beverage purchase for the road. Of course, the charging service shouldn’t be free. Pricing would be up to each individual campground, but $10 for an hour worth of electricity sounds reasonable and a heck of a lot cheaper than a tank of gas.
As for marketing a campground EV charging service, here are some ideas:
- Add the EV charging service to your marketing materials. Especially your roadside signs, as well as your brochures and website. At some point RVers that pull extra vehicles are also going to make the switch to EVs if you haven’t seen them already. They would be comforted to know that they can charge at your campground for a nominal fee.
- See about having your campground or RV park added to the list of gas stations posted at interstate exits.
- Add your business to sites like CarStations.com, ChargePoint, or PlugShare. It appears as though they are FREE to join and all three have mobile apps making it easy for drivers to search for locations on the go.
- Talk about it on social media.
Campground EV charging isn’t for everyone, but for those where it makes sense, why not give it a go? Don’t spend a lot of money and effort on it in the initial phases, but you might as well add it to the things you’re already doing as suggested above. A little extra income here and there never hurts. While you’re making a little extra, the traveler is getting deal. And you never know, by inviting them in to charge their car you might see them again, but next time as a camper.
What do you think? Would you consider adding a campground EV charging service to your business? Let us know below or we’ve added the topic to our forums for ongoing discussion.