Filed under: Campgrounds & RV Parks, Destination Camping & RV Resorts, Family Camping, RV Campgrounds, Technology & Camping
Grand Strand RV Park Offers EV Plug-Ins
Several months ago I reported that a handful of RV parks along the East and West Coast offer their 50-amp, 240-volt electric pedestals to electric vehicle (EV) owners in need of a refueling stop.
The first EV charging station along the Grand Strand and the coastal Carolinas recently opened (June 22) at Ocean Lakes Family Campground, a subsidiary of The Jackson Companies, in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
Ocean Lakes set up two Level 2 charging stations for EVs near the entrance of the mega oceanfront complex in Horry County, aiming to serve guests who tow their EVs to the beach and even non-guests in need of a charge, the Myrtle Beach Sun News reported.
There is no charge for RV park guests, while others will pay $5 to enter the campground and can use the snack bar, store, and other amenities while they wait the four hours for the charge.
Currently there are few EVs on Grand Strand roads, though some guests use EV cars to get around town. However, Ocean Lakes wanted to get ahead of the curve and be ready for the demand.
“We are just kind of planning ahead, setting the tone,” said Kevin McWhirter, Ocean Lakes’ maintenance and facilities manager. “It’s the up and coming.”
Ocean Lakes Family Campground invested about $3,000 in the two EV charging stations. Expenses included the asphalt parking pads, the outlet stations, the adapter cord, and signage.
The two stations are the first in the area, though more are expected to be installed by August through Plug In Carolina. Eight more stations are in the works for the county, including ones at Coastal Carolina University, Horry-Georgetown Technical College, Conway Library, and in North Myrtle Beach, said Jim Poch, executive director of Plug In Carolina, which promotes EVs and arranges for the installation of the charging stations.
“There is quite a bit of activity going on,” he said. “The vehicles are starting to hit the road on a national basis.”
Ocean Lakes is now one of only two locations east of I-95 in South Carolina that has EV stations available for public use. According to the U. S. Department of Energy, there are only 30 EV stations in South Carolina. The closest to the coast is at a convenience store in Monks Corner which is 77 miles southwest of Ocean Lakes or a Nissan dealership in Lumberton, North Carolina which is 95 miles north of Ocean Lakes.
For Ocean Lakes, the charging stations were an easy decision, spokeswoman Barb Krumm said. It fit with the campground’s desire to reduce its environmental impact and seemed like a natural for a business where plugs are everywhere. Ocean Lakes also aims to be a charging spot for drivers traveling long distances north and south through the coastal Carolinas.
Ocean Lakes has all 893 campsites equipped with 50 amp/240 volt service to operate camper appliances and air conditioners.
Upon learning that the Society of Automotive Engineers defines 240-volt AC charging as “Level 2” charging, management decided that they could affordably provide a site for someone to park on to charge an eco-friendly vehicle.
“It’s kind of a natural for campgrounds,” Krumm said. “It fits really well with our industry.”
Officials with other local campgrounds, including Pirateland Family Camping Resort and Myrtle Beach KOA, said they had no plans to set aside EV stations this summer, but were talking about possibly adding them at some point in the future. Lakewood Camping Resort would consider adding them if there was sufficient demand from guests, corporate manager Melissa Gause said.
Pirateland has received several requests for EV stations, according to front desk supervisor Vickie Carmody.
“As more and more people start to use them, then it may be something we implement,” she said. “Definitely as the trend grows it’s something we would seriously consider.”
Officials at Ocean Lakes and Plug In Carolina acknowledged that there aren’t many EVs on the roads yet, but said they are installing the stations now to be ready when there is more demand.
“EV drivers need assurances that they’ll have places to charge. It’s the chicken or the egg,” Poch said.
A few guests at Ocean Lakes said they didn’t have a need for the EV charging stations, but said it probably wouldn’t be that way in a few years.
Others asked about a filling stall for propane or natural gas powered vehicles or a station for recharging hydrogen fuel cells. Is transferring dependence from oil to electricity the answer, they wondered.
“Isn’t this great? We can now burn more coal and gas and oil to produce so-called clean electric energy,” one mused.
In the end the market will dictate.
May the joy of today, bring forth happiness for tomorrow.
From the archives
Criticism is something we can avoid easily by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.
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