Update: 2014-02-22. Bledsoe Creek have changed their policy towards EV’s. We are no longer welcome.
Bledsoe Creek State Park is friendly towards EV’s offering free charges if you ask the camp host kindly before hooking up.
I recently had the charger that came with my vehicle modified to work with either 120v or 240v, meaning I can get relatively quick charges from anywhere that has 240v service. RV and State Parks have such facilities to power the RV’s that visit them. On the one hand State Parks have a very green and outdoorsy image.
The RV spaces they offer campers are anything but green. RV’s are notorious gas guzzlers, and State Parks in Tennessee dump lightly treated sewage directly into the lakes. They could do with an image makeover from a ‘green’ standpoint.
I am pleased to report that the staff at Bledsoe are very friendly and accommodating allowing me to charge my vehicle while visiting for a hike around their short but challenging trails. Currently there is no fee, but a fee maybe levied in the not too distant future. While the camp host is very accommodating, the Park Ranger isn’t so sure and awaits direction from the State on what fees (if any) should be levied for drivers of EV’s. The Park Host did quiz me as to what I paid at Cracker Barrel, and was surprised to hear they are free at this time. I did share with him that they are considering a fee in the not too distant future.
I’m OK with there being a fee for 240v charging, however I suspect that the very low running cost of EV’s is unknown to State Park administrators. Fees, while reasonable compared to gassing up a conventional car could easily be considered excessive and usary compared the actual running cost of an EV. Fees for 120v charging should remain free in my opinion given the very low charge rates available at that voltage. One gets about 4 miles for every hour of charging at 120v, compared to 12 miles per hour at 240v. Time will tell how State Parks will deal with the new technology that is arriving at their park-lands.
In the meantime enjoy the open attitude they have toward EV drivers in Tennessee.
Update 2013:01-20: I enquired if the park has established a policy for EV charging yet. The answer is no and there is no certainty when a policy maybe established. I did speak with the Park Ranger. His initial reaction was that the RV spaces are for campers and he doesn’t want to establish a precedence where EV drivers park in camping spaces and potentially deny a camper a spot. The more he talked however he reasoned that the park should welcome EV’s and if an EV driver made a contribution to the park as a”Friend of Bledsoe’ he didn’t see why RV outlets couldn’t be used with advanced permission. Now that Tennessee State Parks have changed to an online reservation system, its simple enough for the staff at the park to determine which RV spaces will go unused.
The Ranger has invited me to meet him in person, which I will do when I get an opportunity to do so.
Scouting around the park I discovered that Shelter Number 2 on Racoon Creek Lane has a pavilion with 12 120v outlets and about a dozen parking spaces all within reach of the outlets. It would be convenient and easy to hook up a vehicle at this location if the pavilion wasn’t reserved for a group function. Of course asking for permission first is advisable, EV drivers do not need to be viewed as demanding or high maintenance especially since charging is only at the discretion of the park ranger and his staff.