National Park Charging System?

National Park Charging System?

Those of you who have experience with charging your Tesla within the National Park System can help me with this question. I am waiting for my MX but trying to plan ahead for some travel. The question is, since most, if not all, of our National Parks have RV camping hook-ups, and therefore access to high-voltage electrical terminals, is it possible to find charging within the NP system or is it only at the campsites?

A few years ago I took my 3 oldest grand-kids on a wonderful trip from the Flagstaff area to the Grand Canyon, on North to Lake Powell (Glenn Canyon area) stopped at Kanab at the Best Friends Animal Rescue Area, on to Zions and Bryce Canyon NP's. That same trip is presently impossible to do with my younger 3 grand-kids without being able to charge at the NP's. Certain areas like the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, Escanlante, Zion's NP and Bryce NP can't be accessed as far as I can tell. Zion's NP can be accessed by way of St. George, UT, SC but the North Rim of the Grand Canyon is out of the question without charging in the NP system. Do any of you have information on this?

I checked with the Marriott Courtyard in Page, AZ, and they have no charging facilities nor do they have any planned. Eastern Utah is covered pretty well with Tesla's SC locations but Western Utah, Northern AZ, and access to Yellowstone, the Tetons, and Glacier are practically inaccessible by EV, unless you can charge within the NP system.

Earl and Nagin ... | 20/04/2015

By far the best resource for charging beyond the Supercharger network is is more accurate since they verify all crowd-sourced information but plugshare is more complete because it gets updated faster and easier.
Charging in the National Parks is challenging but they are becoming aware of the problem and I suspect we'll see improvements in the future as long as not too many EV drivers complain because they feel entitled to free charging. Someone is going to have to pay for the construction of charging infrastructure in the parks and much of the cost will fall upon the early EV adopters.
Please contact any parks you're interested in and request that they install charging capability.

ken | 20/04/2015

In support of our National Park System, it seems only fair to pay for the charging facilities in our National Parks. It also seems that they would want to promote clean energy vehicles to lessen the pollution within the parks. However, if National and State Parks were to make charging available it would certainly help because as far as I can tell some NP's are not available to Tesla, like the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Glacier NP, and others. Additionally, some NP's have restricted cars entirely because of their pollution. Do any of the restricted areas allow all electric vehicles?

Madatgascar | 20/04/2015

For the north rim of the Grand Canyon and Utah canyon lands you can use the destination charger at Amangiri. However it will be the most expensive charge you ever get.

ken | 20/04/2015

@tbouquet, Thanks for the info. I assume you mean the cost of Amangiri for an overnight stay? It seems that with all of the KOA's around those areas that they would have charging available without a full nights stay at one of their campsites.

Bikezion | 20/04/2015

Zion no S. Unless you take a Tesla there.

Rumor has it they have a level 2.

carlgo2 | 20/04/2015

Putting in destination chargers near parks would be a high profile move by Tesla, well worth the effort for both utility and publicity. It is the only way Teslas will be able to access many parks without drama.

Earl and Nagin ... | 20/04/2015

I know that the folks who put the chargers at Yosemite ran into huge challenges because of restrictions on any construction in the parks. Among the anecdotes I heard was that any excavation required the presence of an archeologist to ensure they weren't digging up any native burial grounds.
I suspect the same sort of problems will exist in any national parks.
Unfortunately, I guess that when "development" has been identified as a bad thing, even good developments or improvements will face challenges.

JeffreyR | 20/04/2015


I posted some ideas on destination traveling for @MountainVoyageur too.

I agree this would be a great boost for EV/Tesla owners. @Earl and Nagin have set a great example for their work getting charging installed. Maybe we could start a Kickstarter (or similar) campaign.

ken | 21/04/2015

@JeffreyR, I think that is a good idea. How about another petition to the White House? The last one that was done was met with Obama handing it off to the states and saying that it was their issue. However, the National Parks System is clearly under the his control and having the Interior Department/Forest Service/ Bureau of Land Management, etc. given the directive to protect our National Parks and lands under their control by the support of EV's seems to be a cause that is worth the effort. Thoughts?

Red Sage ca us | 21/04/2015

I would presume you are speaking of:

Kampgrounds of America (KOA)

...for the uninitiated, such as myself.

carlgo2 | 21/04/2015

The only real solution is to have fast chargers, Superchargers hopefully, placed in communities outside park entrances just as gas stations are located. You can charge up quickly coming in or out on the way home.

Many in our present Congress would label in-park chargers as elitist and would never sign on to that for political reasons.

If by chance they were installed, you can bet they would be small in number and of the all-day charge variety. Assuming they were not already occupied, you would have to park there all day. Not a good way to visit a park. Just because a charge is available doesn't make it all good!

ken | 21/04/2015

@RedSage, yes KOA's are available at, or near, the entrances to almost every National Park, many State Parks, some wild life areas, etc. Their clients are RV's, tent campers, and often they offer cabins for rent. Some of these are in remote areas, especially here in the Western US, but almost all of them have at least 50Amp service for their RV customers. It would be very easy for them to install charging facilities for EV's, and charge accordingly. Since they almost all have grocery stores, some with eating establishments, etc. the income to them would be for both charging and other items while stopped. The EV's would not take up overnight space and would provide extra income to the KOA.

@carlgo2, as explained above almost all of the NP's have at least 50AMP service which is not the ideal situation but if located in the NP gift and services area could serve to top off the charging and if staying overnight, could produce a substantial charge for the next day. Super chargers would be ideal but are probably a long way off. As far as getting around in many of the NP's there are shuttle trams that can, and in some cases, must be used especially during the heavy tourist activity. Just a small step toward the protection of the National Parks.

Red Sage ca us | 21/04/2015

So... Tesla Motors should set up Tesla Depot locations near National Parks. Works for me!

ken | 21/04/2015

Why not, and the introduction of the Model E≡ certainly takes it out of the elite status group. If the overall goal is to help clean up the NP carbon emissions then it should be supported by the Forest Service/BLM/and NP's. If it was adopted by the NP system, then it is reasonable to assume that the State Parks will follow suit. By the way, not just at National Parks but at the many, many offices of the BLM, Forest Service, and other government agencies. Dreaming? Maybe, but we should push for this type of clean-air initiative. It is clearly in the best interest of our health and that of our grandchildren.

Earl and Nagin ... | 21/04/2015

While I agree that faster is always better for the user, the high currents it requires may not make it economically viable all of the time. Also, I'd prefer to have a lot of parking spaces with cheap AC connections that I can just leave my car at for the day, rather than a small number of Supercharger ports which I'll have to wait for, then hang around while I charge.
Since parks are generally places people go to spend some time (notionally out of their cars), they often lend themselves to destination charging which is cheaper and easier for destinations to put in. 30 amps at 240volts gets you ~24 mph charging. This is plenty to get you back from your origin after a day spent at a park.
Another benefit to destination charging at parks is if one puts in standard J-1772 Level 2 charging stations, one dodges the "elitist" accusation you point out could exist This is because they would enable affordable EVs and PHEVs just as much as Teslas.

ken | 21/04/2015

The more that I think about this the more I am convinced that a petition to the White House is in order, not just for Tesla owners but as Earl and Nagin point out, all EV and Hybrid owners could benefit.

JeffreyR | 21/04/2015


A petition is a good start. I'll see if there are other options to augment too.

Grinnin'.VA | 22/04/2015

@ ken | April 21, 2015

... all EV and Hybrid owners could benefit.

Most Prius cars don't have a charging port. All of the electricity in their batteries is generated by conventional ICE technology.

How does having lots of public EV chargers available near national parks help most Prius owners?

ken | 23/04/2015

As I see it, Prius owners may be a small step toward owning a Tesla someday. Otherwise they need to find their carbon fix.

Rocky_H | 23/04/2015

@ken, Quote: " almost all of them have at least 50Amp service for their RV customers. It would be very easy for them to install charging facilities for EV's"

I've noticed you mention this a couple of times, and I'm surprised no one else has picked up on this misconception. There is no need for the campgrounds to "install" anything for a Tesla to use it. The plug adapter for those RV outlets comes with the Tesla charging cable. And if you are not getting a hardwired high power wall charger, the RV outlet is what Tesla recommends to get installed for home charging.

Trying to convince the campgrounds to install something that would only be used occasionally by a small number of people is a much tougher sell than just asking to rent space at one of their outlets that they already have for other purposes.

ken | 23/04/2015

@Rocky_H, you are correct except for this small problem. Most all of the reservations are handled on a National Reservation system and in many cases, the most remote areas, for example Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, and others, those reservations are booked almost a year in advance. I have a cousin who had to book one of the remote Yellowstone campground in November last year to get in the site that they needed for this July. Therefore, I don't think it is going to be possible to just show up and pay a fee and get to use their charging because those campsites are reserved. However, all of them have a parking area available and that area could serve as a show up and charge for fee area but not at campsites. There are many areas in the NP's where these charging stations could be located. Just my thoughts based on my experiences.

Rocky_H | 23/04/2015

@ken, Where did I ever suggest just showing up without calling in advance? That would be a terrible idea. I guess I see what you are getting at if the RV spots get really full, but separate charging facilities might not be.

Also, I guess I'm thinking of this differently--I'm not necessarily talking about the campsites directly in the parks that are packed and reserved a year in advance, as you mention. I guess that's why you refer to reserving on a national basis--RV parks generally aren't national like that. From or from or, you can find RV and camping areas that are nearby where you can charge. So perhaps don't think of your charging having to be directly inside the park, but maybe just outside of it, as that's where a lot of the RV places are, while the tent camping is inside the parks.

Here's an example. You mentioned Grand Canyon as one of your locations. The Trailer Village RV Park has tons of checkin comments from people who have charged there when going to see the Grand Canyon. And there is Grand Canyon Camper Village in Tusayan, just a few miles farther South. Here is a forum thread on it.

Brian H | 24/04/2015


And maybe those peripheral sites could put in a few dedicated 14-50 and HPWC outlets.

ken | 24/04/2015

@Rocky_H, I think that there are numerous possibilities at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, my concern was the North Rim. That's why I was trying to find something in Page, AZ or Kanab, UT. The good news is that I talked to the manager of the Marriott Courtyard in Page, AZ and sent him the Bloomberg article from this week and he has decided to reach out to Tesla and see what can be done to install both a Tesla charger as will as other EV charging connectors at least a 14-50. It ends up he is a car enthusiast and knows about Tesla's performance EV's so he has submitted the information to the owners and was pretty sure they would buy into charging for EV's. Since I go through there several times each year I wanted to see if I could get him interested and some charging facilities prior to my MX delivery. We will see how this goes but sounds promising.

Earl and Nagin ... | 24/04/2015


Awesome work. Thanks for encouraging that Marriott in Page to do this! I'll watch to see if they end up with a charging station.

ken | 27/04/2015

I am now working with Best Friends Animal Society and rescue center just a few miles north of Kanab, UT. Since Kanab is the nearest town to the North RIM of the Grand Canyon it makes sense to have some charging stations available in Kanab. They are going to look into it. Kanab is about 80 miles north of the North RIM and except for Jacob Lake, which is only a small store and gas station, there is nothing else available. They said that they would get back to me. BTW the Best Friends Animal rescue center is well worth visiting. Unbelievable how large and organized they are, they take in animals from all over the world and save them from being euthanized. It would be great to have a charging station just north of Kanab.