Impressive! Thank you for posting about your experiences with "Ariya camping", and for the nice photos!Hello guys. I'm an outdoor enthusiasts as well as a dedicated car nut so once I got my Ariya I already started making plans to go camping with her. I have a long-time personal car blog where I mostly talk about my love affair with Nissan's Skyline and GT-R models but also talk about my travels and other cars so I decided to do a write-up on my first EV camping trip. Here are some excerpts and photos, and if you're interested in the full piece here's a link.
Amp Camp: Car Camping With My Electric Nissan Ariya
Hope you enjoy!
Aside from the cars I started this blog about, one of my long-time passions has been enjoying the great outdoors. The two interests compliment each other in that the cars (and trucks and motorcycles) are what get me to the often far-flung places I go to for fresh air, scenic vistas, and the occasional threat of animal attack.
As a veteran car camper I was naturally intrigued by the thought of taking my first electric car for a night under the stars and began making plans almost as soon as I signed on the dotted line to take delivery of my Ariya.
Being electric and a crossover instead of a proper high-riding, gas-powered, off-road beast of burden like the 4-wheel drive Armada or trusty Royal Enfield Himalayan adventure bike that I typically take camping the Ariya needed more careful consideration for my destination. Backwoods camps reachable only by twisty, rock-strewn roads and missing basic amenities like running water and a designated place to do the old number two let alone electricity were obviously a non-starter.
Alamo Lake is as “middle of nowhere” as it gets here in Arizona with the stars feeling nearer than the closest Starbucks and where wild donkeys make more noise than passing vehicles.
I could have made it all the way to my campsite without stopping because I arrived in Quartzsite with about a 63% charge still remaining but I figured a top-up would be smart considering how remote Alamo Lake is. Luck and the EV charging gods must have decided the hot weather was enough of a burden and when I rolled up to the EA station one charger happened to be free for the taking. I parked, plugged in, and started charging without a hitch. It turned out the charger's output was turned down for some reason from the max but even still twenty-four minutes later I'd filled my stomach, emptied my bladder, and loaded up with enough science-magic to have a 91 percent charge again.
By the time I checked in at the ranger station slash general store the day had hit the full 102 degree high so rather than just wait around for the sweet embrace of heat stroke I drove around a bit, checked out the shoreline and the different campgrounds, and then the Bill Williams Overlook where I got a nice view of the earthen Alamo Dam that ensures the lake exists.
Freshened up and back at my campsite it was time for the big moment where I'd find out if I'd wake up the next day with a fresh tank of lightning juice or have to worry about finding an available charger back at the Electrify-America-If-You're-Lucky station on the way home. Thankfully the Nissan-supplied portable charger that came with the car plugged straight into the 50 amp NEMA 14-50 socket on the campsite pedestal and the car reported it was happily chugging electrons straight away. The drive from Quartzsite and the moseying around the park with the AC fighting the heat had dropped my charge down to 51% by the time I plugged in but now I could go to bed knowing I'd greet the morning fully charged again.
The full charge at camp turned out to be a godsend because as I cruised back into Quartzsite the chargers were full but I had 175ish miles of projected range left and only needed about 90 of that to get back home. That meant that I could give Electrify America a hearty one-fingered salute for their lackluster network as I popped into the nearby McDonald's for a much-needed lunch break. About two hours later I was back home from my first totally electric-powered camping trip, none the worse for wear, and not having taken up any more time than if I'd done it in a regular gasoline car.
That being said here are some observations from my first overnight EV road trip:
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- Most modern EV's including the Ariya are totally viable for daily use as well as road tripping since they generally have 240 or more miles of estimated range and can fast charge from 10% to 80% charge in only about the same amount of time most people need to take a break during a long drive.
- The non-Tesla fast charging network in the US is pathetically inadequate currently.
- RV hookups are a great way to get a charge if you have a long stop so taking a portable charger with you should be standard operating procedure for road trippers.
- EV's are a great fit for camping – if you can get there range-wise.
- The Ariya is an awesome road-trip car.
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