Tesla Camper

Californians Harvey Payne and his wife use their Tesla Model X to pull their camping trailer. A recent trip took them to Death Valley, Credit: HARVEY PAYNE

It’s getting easier for adventurers to take their electric vehicles to camp or explore the roads less traveled, and the uptick in charging options in rural areas is making all the difference, according to Automotive News.

As EVs are becoming more prevalent, the pandemic continues to spark the popularity of outdoor activities such as camping or other types of adventures. The convergence of these trends is fueling government, nonprofits and companies to work toward creating an adequate network of charging stations at state and national parks and even more remote destinations. The goal is to allow EV drivers to comfortably travel and camp without the worry of where they will find their next charge.

“More and more consumers going toward EVs need charging facilities not just on highways or in houses, but hundreds of miles away,” Dan Ives, Wedbush Securities managing director and EV industry analyst, told Automotive News.

Over the next five years, Ives projects there will be about 50,000 chargers in off-road areas across the U.S. Today, he estimates only about 15 percent of the 108,000 U.S. public chargers are in rural areas.

Wedbush compares the electrification of these remote U.S. areas to the rollout of EV charging stations in Norway, where camping in cold, northern climates is popular. The cold climates take a toll on batteries’ range, so the ability to charge needs to be readily available.

Tesla drivers already camp in their vehicles by attaching a tent or use them to tow campers. Upcoming EVs, such as the Ford F-150 Lightning, which will be able to tow 10,000 pounds, and the Rivian R1T truck and R1S SUV — marketed as “electric adventure vehicles” — will add to the number of people who take their EVs to camp and explore remote areas of the U.S.

Charging stations are steadily being installed at parks nationwide. Michigan last month said it would make an initial $1.25 million in grants available to create an electrification loop along Lake Michigan and key tourist areas, providing EV drivers with adequate charging as they explore scenic spots.

Trevor Pawl, chief mobility officer for the state, says this route of consistent charging locations will help tourists and the tourism industry and promote EV use.

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