The electric vehicle (EV) movement: is it a trend or the future? While most parks are thinking twice about adapting to it, Torrey Trails RV & Golf Resort is already finalizing some touches for the EV-ready sites it built under phase two, with more to go as the development reaches completion.
In a conversation with Modern Campground, developer Amir Harpaz said that the move was an investment rather than a cost, saying installing EV chargers for each new RV lot aligns with keeping Torrey Trails “future-proof”.
“[W]e really wanted to make the campground future-proof. And it’s pretty obvious that there are more and more—and will be more and more—electric vehicles coming, and down the road, who knows when electric RVs [will come],” Harpaz shared.
For now, what he sees as short-to-medium-term needs will be the ability to charge guests’ electric vehicles.
“So we’ve taken the approach that when a guest comes to your campground, they’ll probably want to do that on their lot,” he added.
Torrey Trails RV & Golf Resort collaborated with Wild Energy in installing the pedestals. Once the property accommodates RVers with electric vehicles, an automated process through NewBook will make things seamless and “with no human intervention”.
How it works, Harpaz said, is that each Wild Energy system installed per site is connected to the park’s property management system. When a guest plugs in a vehicle, the system recognizes it and starts billing them, allowing the campground to charge accordingly.
With the development, each lot under phase two—and future lots under phases three and four—will have two pedestals: one in the back area of the site, providing the usual 20/30/50 amps for RVers’ electric needs, and one smaller 50-amp pedestal at the front of the lot where guests can charge their EV.
Amir Harpaz said that he and fellow developers, Jeff Cole and Bill Harvey, felt that the decision to install chargers for each lot was the right approach rather than building a dedicated fast charging station within the campground.
“Let’s say now you’ve installed three very expensive rapid chargers. Now you’ve created to yourself another operational headache,” he said, noting that the chargers in such case then become an asset that needs to be reserved between campers.
Harpaz also believes that avoiding the rapid charging route was the appropriate investment for the campground, noting that fast chargers are for addressing a different need.
Versus normal chargers at campgrounds, fast EV chargers are usually seen in mall parking lots where people only spend a few hours going shopping.
“At a campground, people come for a minimum overnight. So there’s no need to invest in a dedicated high fast charger when you can use existing equipment to achieve the same and at a much better return on investment,” the businessman shared.
Furthermore, the developer of the Wauchula, Florida campground said that having a standard charger per lot can help the campground book overnight stays versus fast charging stations.
“[Y]ou’re causing a campground to lose overnight stays because then people come off the street, [and say] ‘oh, can I charge my thing here?’ If it’s on your lot and it’s a slow charger like we have, they’re going to have to stay overnight to charge,” he said.
Overall, the developers consider the installations an asset and not a cost for the RV resort.
While admitting that it was not cheap to upgrade, Harpaz said that for building a brand-new park, the incremental cost of adding the solution Torrey Trails added is only a few hundred dollars per lot.
He also said that it’s better to be prepared to address the demand by providing the infrastructure than struggling to handle the need in the future.
“[J]ust to bury your head in the sand isn’t going to solve it,” he said.
Looking ahead, Harpaz said that the team will consider upgrading phase one sites into EV-read sites if the demand dictates.
All 210 EV-ready lots at Torrey Trails RV & Golf Resort are now fully reserved, per Harpaz. Upon completion of phases three and four, campers at the Florida park will be able to choose from 721 RV sites to book.
By 2028, it is projected that EVs could account for 33% of global sales, and 54% by 2035. In California, Governor Gavin Newsom announced last week that the state will be banning the sale of new gas vehicles beginning in 2035. Earlier this week, Washington Governor Jay Inslee followed California’s steps.