EV Camping: Questions answered!

EV Camping: Questions answered!

It seems everywhere anyone looked this summer, two topics popped up for EVs: solid-state batteries and camping! Maybe it’s the state of the world or just a hot summer. Either way, practically everyone wanted a little spot in the woods to call their own. Camping with an EV poses certain challenges, though. Given range anxiety and worries about finding available charging stations, it makes sense to be a little nervous. But never fear! This summer offered a range of options to improve the EV camping experience!

RANGE AND CAMPING: HOW FAR CAN I GO?

Camping with an EV is more than feasible. However, it’s easier if you already live somewhere close to nature and campgrounds. That said, newer vehicles have much greater range than older ones. A few EVs even have specs specifically for towing. Look to the Audi E-Tron, Tesla Model X, and even VW ID.4. Electric crossovers are the current option for towing. However, don’t expect that to remain true next summer. That’s when Rivian’s R1T (with that optional retractable camp kitchen!), GMC’s Hummer, and (maybe) the Tesla Cybertruck will all be available. For now, your choice is a crossover.

HIGHWAY FAST CHARGING STOPS

If you’re going to go camping with your EV, it’s vital to take that extra minute and chart out the EV charging stops along the way. Most importantly, make sure to locate the DC fast charging stations along your route. If you can find one at a pretty rest stop or a restaurant where you might grab a quick lunch, even better! Get to know your EV and what its fast charging capabilities are. Then, find DC fast chargers that meet those abilities.

ELECTRIC CORRIDOR: I-5/HWY 101

EV corridors are becoming more and more common as states and the federal government continue to work on expanding EV infrastructure. Additionally, many of these corridors create great routes toward beautiful spots in nature for the individual or family with an EV and a dream! For example, the West Coast Electric Highway can take you from the wild beauty of British Columbia all the way to southern California.

RANGE ANXIETY FOR EV TOWING

If you want to trade in your tent for a towed camper, you might find yourself having those range worries. Can EVs really tow campers? What happens to your range when you’re pulling a teardrop? 

First, it’s important to note that all vehicles lose range when they’re towing. This is true for gas-powered pickup trucks and for your Tesla Model X. While electric pickups haven’t really hit the market yet, they’re coming soon! Until then, it’s worth looking at what kinds of EVs can tow your family camper.

Youtuber Frugal Tesla Guy did a great breakdown on his experience towing a classic teardrop camper with his Tesla Model 3. He says the feel of having the trailer behind him was minimal at most and guessed that he should be able to do about 150 miles with the trailer behind before needing a recharge. Obviously, you’ll need to know where those charging points are along the route, but EV camping with a trailer is clearly far from impossible!

Finally, it’s important to note that some campsites do offer charging. While not all (or many yet) have chargers, a number will allow an EV to charge at the RV plugs. There was even a great thread about it on Reddit back in 2018!

EV CAMPING SOLUTIONS

Finally, it’s time to look at some of the exciting and innovative EV solutions announced or released this summer. It looks like a few companies are ready to shake things up with what’s possible for an EV.

THE BOULDER

Announced at the end of the summer, The Boulder is an exciting towable electric camper that sports its own battery. Stop to charge your EV, and you can charge The Boulder as well. This little camper from Colorado Teardrops has a 75 kWh battery and a CCS connector that allows it to fast transfer at up to 60 kW from its battery to the car. This means extending EV årange and even leaving some extra juice to run the camper itself. It sleeps up to 4 and sports a fully-specced galley, everything you need for fresh eggs or oatmeal to enhance your EV camping experience!

The Boulder™ EV - Colorado Teardrop Campers

DETHLEFFS E.HOME CARAVAN

Not to be outdone, this German company has its own battery pack on wheels! Dethleffs’ E.Home Caravan is still a prototype, but its charging ability helped the company conduct a test drive from Germany to Italy up and over the alps without a single charging stop! This is because of the camper’s 80 kWh built-in battery. The biggest difference, however, seems to be the trailer’s built-in motor that allows it to offer towing assistance to EVs and less-powerful towing vehicles. While it’s not yet available, this EV camping option still has our interest piqued!

LIVING VEHICLE TRAILER

Looking for something a little less compact? Living Vehicle has the answer for you and plans to release it in 2022. While not specifically built for EVs, the trailer’s abundance of solar panels means that your vehicle can charge up right at the campsite. 

THE BOTTOM LINE

EV camping? Totally an option. It might take a little more planning to find those DC fast chargers along the way, but there’s no reason to give up camping just because you’re driving a Tesla. Grab your tent or teardrop trailer and get ready for some rest and relaxation out in nature!

HONORABLE MENTION

Range-extended Camper Van: LEVC e-Camper 

FURTHER READING