The camping industry may see changes as the industry slowly adapts to the electric vehicle (EV) movement by adding chargers at campgrounds. In Michigan, adding EV infrastructure could create new opportunities for its outdoor recreation industry, the director of the Michigan Outdoor Recreation Industry Office said.
Director Brad Garmon told a local report that people are looking for new experiences as they continue to rediscover the outdoors.
Moreover, as national parks and the state work together to manage the visitor numbers and traffic at multiple sites, he said that electric mobility provides creative solutions for transporting people to their destinations.
Considering how companies strive to get their products and services tried by people early on, giving consumers new experiences with innovations before they’re mass produced hits two birds with one stone.
“How do we connect those two things? Outdoor recreation as a recreational playground, but also as a testing ground and a proving ground for the next generation of technology,” Garmon said.
For local businesses, this could mean potential rental and sales opportunities, with electric bikes as a good start, the director added.
“We want to be on the front edge of this because it is a fast-changing [industry]. Like the technology’s changing, their range on batteries is getting better. So we don’t even know what’s next,” Garmon said.
Scott Whitcomb, director of the Office of Public Lands at the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, also said that adopting electric vehicles could dictate changes to outdoor recreation in state parks.
“Are we just providing something that’s transitory in nature? Or will this be scaled up more to meet a greater demand,” Whitcomb said. “I think it’s too early to tell.”
“We really don’t know where this is going to land, but we feel that it’s something that we as an agency, and as a state ought to take a role in,” Whitcomb added.
“If we provide maybe one of the few places in the Midwest where you could test drive an EV snowmobile, on a looped trail system, you know, that would be pretty exciting.”
Late last year, Kampgrounds of America (KOA) announced offering level-two electric vehicle chargers at campground locations across the U.S. and Canada. Michigan alone has 18 KOA locations.
In Michigan state parks, the level-two chargers will allow visitors to enjoy a walk while their vehicle charges, Whitcomb said.
This story originally appeared on Michigan Advance.