EV Charging Stations
Ocean Lakes Family Campground, a subsidiary of The Jackson Companies, now has the first electric vehicle (EV) charging stations on the Carolinas coast. Ocean Lakes built its new stations as part of its award-winning iCare Program which is aimed at reducing the environmental impact of the campground and its guests. The two Level 2 EV Charging Stations are open to the general public in addition to Ocean Lakes guests.
Ocean Lakes is now one of only two locations east of I-95 in South Carolina that has EV stations available for public use. According to the U. S. Department of Energy, there are only 30 EV stations in S.C. The closest to the coast is Monks Corner which is 77 miles southwest of Ocean Lakes or Lumberton, N.C. which is 95 miles north of Ocean Lakes.
“Building the EV Charging Stations was an easy decision because it fits right in with our iCare Program,” said Barb Krumm, Director of Marketing and Public Relations. “The idea for the EV stations was inspired by an article our Ocean Lakes IT consultant forwarded to our management. At the same time, the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) requested information from campgrounds that were catering to EVs. That piqued our interest and we set about researching EV technology.”
Ocean Lakes has all 893 campsites equipped with 50 amp/240 volt service to operate camper appliances and air conditioners. Upon learning that the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) defines 240 Volt AC charging as “Level 2” charging, management decided that they could affordably provide a site for someone to park on to charge an eco-friendly vehicle.
“It’s a win-win to help someone who is trying to help our environment,” Krumm said. “Research also helped us determine that accommodating East Coast travelers with this new eco-friendly technology made good sense. We felt that establishing a charging station location at an oceanfront destination about 75 miles from I-95 would be good business as well.”
Ocean Lakes Family Campground invested about $3,000 in the two EV charging stations. Expenses included the asphalt parking pads, the outlet stations, the adapter cord and signage. To use the EV charging stations, EV drivers simply need to visit the Ocean Lakes main office and obtain a $5 visitor pass to the EV station. There is no additional cost to charge.
Ocean Lakes management does not really know what kind of demand to expect.
“It’s not about making money and we really don’t expect to generate much income from the stations,” Krumm said. “It’s more about stepping up to fill a need and continuing our efforts to encourage good stewardship of our environment. It also gives us the opportunity to show off our campground to potential and future customers. It takes about four hours to charge a vehicle, so we invite EV guests to enjoy the campground amenities. They can rent an electric golf car, tour the campground, grab a bite to eat on-site, and relax on the beach if they wish.”
With the addition of the EV stations to its iCare program, Ocean Lakes now covers a broad range of transportation alternatives that meet both consumer needs and promote some smart “green” options. Rentals of golf cars, which have proven to be the most popular electric transportation inside Ocean Lakes, are a strong revenue source for the campground, as well as an important amenity for guests. Recently, Ocean Lakes partnered with Tomberlin who manufactures LSVs (low speed vehicles). The Tomberlin product line also includes the Vanish, an electric vehicle for all terrain purposes such as hunting. LSVs have some advantages by law; they can be driven on roads 35 MPH or less and unlike the golf car, can be driven at night. These vehicles can run up to 25 MPH and have a range of 25-30 miles per charge.
Ocean Lakes Family Campground’s iCare Program continues to expand. Guests and teammates have recycled more than 250,000 pounds of solid waste, averaging about 2 tons per week. Ocean Lakes’ landscaping department’s composter produces mulch and fertilizer for the flower beds. Solar-heated water is being tested at one of the bathhouses to determine how much water and gas it saves.