We attend quite a few state and national RV park association meetings and I get asked questions about the future of our industry; most are about what new electrical rules are on the horizon, what new products are in the works, or if I know of a product that will solve XYZ.
At many of these meetings the subject of 100-amp service comes up. Since the retrenchment of the RV industry in the last decade we are seeing more smaller RVs, but also more electrified RVs. As a member of the RV Industry Association (RVIA) I continue to ask the RV manufacturers if they have plans for 100-amp RVs. I continue to hear that they are not yet seeing the need for 100-amp RVs or their customers asking for them.
From a practical standpoint, the National Electric Code (NFPA 70) doesn’t have the mechanism to build or power a 100-amp RV. Article 551 would need additions to the RV section on building the RV and further additions to the RV park section for providing power. The Code Making Panel of the NEC is just finishing work on the 2020 edition. The next opportunity would be for the 2023 edition. At least a few years out.
When speaking to folks about upgrades and additions to their properties I am of the opinion that since you have the trench dug you should put the largest wire you can into the trench. When you compare the cost of 4/0 wire to 350 MCM, the differential is small compared to the cost of digging another trench later.
I also tell folks that if 100-amp does make it to the RV industry, it will be a small portion of RVs sold. As such, 10% or so of your new sites could be designated for future upgrade to 100-amp. If the wire in the ground and the circuits on the distribution panel are already in place, a park operator need only replace the pedestal to be instantly ready to receive the 100-amp coach.
My point here is not that 100-amp is coming, it is about setting yourself up to get there quickly if it does. Why not give your park one more advantage over your competitors?
Just like adding an electric vehicle charging station as discussed in our April edition of Words from the Wizard of Watts, providing amenities that your customers want will keep you a step ahead.
So, if an upgrade or addition is on the horizon, save yourself time and money and do the upgrade once and give yourself option for the future. In general, 350MCM wire and a maximum of two sites on a 200-amp breaker would set you up for a rapid transition to 100-amp. In the meantime, these premium sites would suit large RVs with a minimum voltage drop using the current 50-amp service.