Model X

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Charging at an RV park

edited August 2017 in Model X
We are in New Mexico and there are some holes in the super charger grid as they build it out. We are planning a camping trip and we can probably find an RV park to charge up but are new owners with zero experience doing this. I wondered what the experience was and what to prepare for. Thanks


  • edited November -1
    you will be looking for an RV park with 50 amp RV hook up (30 amp will work but 50 is better). You will need the NEMA 14-50 plug that the mobile charger that came with you car was delivered with - I tend to look for an RV park that will be close to the hotel I'm staying at - since a full charge for a 90 kWh battery will take upwards of 8 hours…to predict exact charge time we'd need to know your model of car and your estimated remaining battery when you arrive at the RV park.

    for road tripping in general I consider the following items must haves to maximize my ability to charge at any location:

    heavy duty NEMA 5-20 extension cord (good for out of the way trickle charging at hotels)
    NEMA 5-20 to NEMA 5-15 adapter
    NEMA 14-50 extension cord
    full range of Tesla Adapters for your Universal Mobile Charge (UMC) that came with the car (it comes with NEMA 5-15 plug-, and a NEMA 14-50 plug - the NEMA 5-15 is normal household plug)

    J-1772 adapter that came with the car
    NEMA 14-30 - let's you charge from Waterheater/Dryer outlets
    NEMA 5-20 (engin blocker heater plug - 50% faster than normal NEMA 5-15 but still slow)
    NEMA 6-50 (welder hook ups often found in mechanic's shops for an arc welder - same charge rate as a RV hookup - 50 AMP breaker, 40 AMP charge rate)

    and the Chademo Adapter ($499) so you can use non-Tesla Chademo chargers - charges at about half the rate of a Tesla supercharger but way faster than an RV hookup. You can use plug-share to determine if there are any chademo chargers in New Mexico.

    the following software is essential for lowering the stress level of finding a charger:

    evtripplanner to model your trip showing you estimated usage and battery levels
    Plug-Share app on a tablet or phone to find all chargers

    I also have accounts with all the major Charging networks so I can charge at any particular charger I might encounter in my travels: ChargePoint, Blink, evGo chargers

    plan ahead and contact the RV park you've chosen and rent a space - they normally charge a tolerable rate in exchange for parking there for 8-12 hours.

    there are lots of resources on the internet I recommend doing some searching.
  • edited November -1 Model S Adapter Inventory 1.2.pdf?dl=0 Tesla Adapters 1.0.jpg?dl=0

    please see shop's excellent document (referenced by my document) as to the sorts of the adapter that you can use for various charging scenarios.
  • edited November -1
    adapters I have actually used while traveling "in the wild"

    NEMA 5-15 - common house hold plug
    NEMA 5-20 - less common 20 amp house hold plug
    NEMA 14-50 - RV hook up
    NEMA 6-50 - welder hook up
    NEMA 14-30 - electric dryer or water heater hook up
    NEMA TT-30P - common 30 AMP RV park hook up
    NEMA SS2-50P - Marine shore power hookup - 50 amp hook - marina's and outdoor venue high power hookups - must more common than I would have ever bet - adapter referenced in my document converts these plugs into NEMA 14-50 hook ups
    NEMA 10-30 - tire warmer hook ups at Laguna Seca in their garages

    this site is very useful -
  • edited November -1
    to be clear to charge at an RV park - all you need is the Tesla UMC and the NEMA 14-50 that came with the car - nothing else is needed - what I reference above is the "Boy Scout" approach - always be prepared…

    but the NEMA 14-50 will get you there most of the time with no additional gear required.
  • edited November -1
    Wow, that's...a lot. I just wouldn't want to overwhelm a new person.

    The resources of Plugshare is good to show all charging resources that people have mapped out. But some RV parks just haven't been tried or added to Plugshare yet.

    Camping sites like or have state by state maps of all of the campgrounds and RV parks. Check for the ones that list "50 Amp" service, or call and ask them about it. That is the 14-50 outlet that comes with your Tesla charging cable. That should be all you need.
  • edited August 2017
    Thank you doctor for the wealth of information on charging options. I have bookmarked.
    But for a newcomer with zero experience this must be totally overwhelming :)
  • edited August 2017
    Doctor has clearly done a bunch of RV charging. :-)

    I will just restate (for emphasis) what Rocky said... As essential as Plugshare is, it's doesn't have much for this category... Use the apps from the sites Rocky suggested, or just KOA on the web.
  • edited November -1
    I agree with using RV sites/apps to find RV parking - I was suggesting plug-share because sometimes it shows chargers you didn't know where there - but yes I agree plug-share is _NOT_ the place to find RV parks for charging.
  • edited August 2017
    Relevant: @mathwhiz and I were just using these sites to help someone find a campground or RV park near Tamworth New Hampshire to have some charging on a road trip, although it was after the fact.
  • edited August 2017
    Here is an interesting follow on question, do you ever have a problem where the RV park does not know what to charge or do they all have meters?
  • edited November -1
    typically I've been charged a "flat" fee - all the RV parks I've arranged to charge at have invoiced me for $10-$20…space rental - to date no one has "measured" the amount of electricity I used.
  • edited August 2017
    when charging while traveling I avoid figuring out the per-kWh cost because it would drive me nuts and probably be really really really expensive - rather I ask myself "is it worth $xx to have the car fully charged tomorrow morning - so far the answer has always been yes ;-)
  • edited August 2017
    We just did this in New Mexico at the KOA in Carlsbad. Since we had also rented a cabin to spend the night in, they didn't charge us to use the RV slip outside of the cabin. I had asked after making th cabin reservation if I needed to make a RV spot reservation as well and they threw it in for free. It was a great experience. Apparently the KOA owner is a Tesla owner as well.
  • edited November -1
    @janandmona, Generally none of them have individual meters on those, or at least they don't apply any metering to the fees. Their general business model is just that there is a rate for rental of a space, and whatever amenities they have are behind the scenes, figured into that rate. So some places will be around $25 to $35 per night for a big RV spot. That includes overall use of the facilities, like the electric and water hookup, sewage dump station, bathrooms or showers in the main building at some places, etc. Sometimes, you may be able to discount an overnight a little since you're not using their water or dump station facilities.

    What you can sometimes do, though, it negotiate if you don't need an overnight. I first called a place in 2014 when I got my car, and I offered to pay a full night on the first direction of my trip, since I was going to spend the night and car camp anyway, but then I asked if I could do a partial on the way back, since I only needed a few hours. She offered a four hour window of time for $12, which sounded good to me. I added those details on Plugshare, and a few other Tesla drivers used it during the next couple of years until Superchargers came along there.

    Some places, if they want to be supportive of EVs will have lower fees like $5 or $10.
  • We pre-ordered a Tesla Cybertruck today (YAY!). We plan on using it to tow the camper trailer. My question is can you run both the 50amp and 30amp on the campground electric pole at the same time? It'd be grand if I can use the 30amp for the camper and the 50amp to charge the Tesla.
  • edited November 2019
    In my RV experience I find more RV hook up poles that have the 30-TT or the 14-50 one or the other. If it come with both you should be able to use both. Almost all poles come with a 15 amp 120 volt in addition to the RV outlet. The 15 amp should work ok for your Trailer, I use 15 amp with my 30' class A motor home from time to time.
  • edited April 2020
    Will a 50 amp circuit at an RV park actually give you close to the 6 kW per hour charge rate? At home by 120 V outlet only gave me 5 mph but my 240 V gives me about 35.
  • edited November -1
    @aytchr - A 50 amp circuit means you can pull 80% or 40 amps. 40 * 240 = 9.6 kW. I thought many RV parks only have 30 amp connections, which means you can draw 24 amps. 24 * 240 = 5.76 kW.

    You need to know both the voltage and current to determine the power and speed of charging. Only specifying a voltage or current by itself doesn't tell you enough to know the power available.
  • edited April 2020
    The 30 amp outlets that you generally find at an RV Park are NEMA TT-30. The TT stands for "Travel Trailer". The TT-30 is a 120 volt outlet so charging speed would be 24 X 120 = 2.880 kW if you have the correct adapter.
  • edited May 2020
    A bit to add from a former RV’er:

    First off, campgrounds are GREAT! Most offer a good experience, community, and are far safer than sleeping in a parking lot... plus you have electric power and charge all night!

    That said, campgrounds vary greatly in terms of character, amenities, and quality as well as the type of people that they serve. Some are very family oriented, others quiet and rural. Some have mostly retirees, others have full-timers (mostly good folks that live the RV lifestyle), while a few others might have less desirable groups of “long-term residents” etc.

    Be very careful arriving after dark! While our Teslas are smaller than RVs, there can still be dirt roads, rocks, hills, tight spaces, trees, fences etc. (Be careful of ground clearance and protecting your vital battery packs!)

    LOOK AROUND! Don’t go driving into the hilly woods, on dirt roads, especially at night. GET OUT AND LOOK 10 TIMES while backing into a camp site! (No joke.)

    Other campgrounds are well-lit, paved, flat and wide open. Easy-peasy!

    * Disney’s Fort Wilderness in Orlando is literally a full resort for RV campers, plus cabins. They aren’t cheep and are usually booked by reservation, but I’d LOVE to hear if they accommodate “Tesla Campers” when space is available. Bring a tent if you like.

    KOA is a great resource when you aren’t familiar with an area. Although KOA campground quality will vary, it’s unlikely that it will be an “unsafe dump.” KOA’s are franchised “member” campgrounds, I believe.

    Don’t be daunted by the electrical setup... it’s really easy once you’ve done it once or twice.
    1) Plug into the power box at the campsite.
    2) Flip the breaker switch on the Power box “ON” (The Tesla manual recommends power on the plug BEFORE plugging into the vehicle.)
    3) Then plug into your Tesla.

    Campground staff are usually more than happy to help a newbie setup. Some even escort you to you camping spot with a golf cart.

    Once you get the hang of campgrounds you’ll find them to offer amazing experiences.
  • edited May 2020
    * Some campground power supplies can be “buggy” (less “clean power”)
    Does anyone have experience in using RV power conditioners (surge protectors) with Tesla?
  • You can also install some EV chargers. The most common car you will get is a Tesla, and Tesla will give you their $500 charging station free in manycases.
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