Last Updated on October 5, 2022 by Rose Morah
In this article, we will be discussing how to plan a road trip in an electric car, and what to consider when taking a cross-country road trip in an electric car.
The following are tips for planning a road trip with an EV:
1. Plan in advance
Before taking an EV on a long-distance road trip or on new routes, you need to plan ahead and have a clear picture of what your route will look like.
You need to figure out whether you want an adventurous road trip or a fast road trip.
The following are the 3 key things that I’d recommend you do:
- Find out if there are enough chargers along your route.
A route that has very few chargers can be stressful and may require more planning compared to one that has more chargers.
And again, if a route has fewer chargers, it will likely slow you down because you will have to regularly stop to get enough charge that can get you to the next charging destination.
The good thing is that there are great EV route planner apps that can give you an idea of how many chargers are in your route.
Check out the best EV route planner (according to EV owners).
- Find out what level of chargers are on your route.
When going on a long road trip, you don’t want to take up much time at each charging stop.
Therefore, you need to filter your search to charging stations that have DC fast chargers.
DC fast chargers guarantee faster charging and hence a fast road trip.
- Find out what charging networks are along your route.
If you are driving a non-Tesla EV, you will need to filter your search to the type of chargers.
For instance, some EVs only support CCS chargers which are fast DC chargers.
This means that if your route is only packed with Tesla superchargers then this may not be helpful in any way.
This is because you will not be able to charge on a Tesla supercharger or on a CHAdeMO charger.
2. Have a plan B
When planning your trips, I would recommend having a plan B.
This is especially if you are driving a low-range EV across the country in locations that do not have many charging stations.
I have in the past experienced range anxiety after my original plan failed because of closed roads due to construction.
This meant that I had to take a completely different route that did not have any chargers.
Plan B is also great in case your range drastically goes down.
Hence, you will need to look for close-by EV chargers, which takes us to the next tip.
3. Bring a portable charger
A portable charger comes in handy in case of any change of plan.
To avoid a situation where you get stranded on the side of the road after running out of charge, it would be important if you considered other charging alternatives.
One such alternative involves searching online for RV camping grounds that are close by and pulling over to charge your car.
This means that if you have an EV portable NEMA 14-50 level 2 charger with connectors/adapter that can charge your EV at RV campgrounds, then you will be good to go.
4. Know the range of your EV
The type of EV you have will affect your road trip in one way or another.
Some EVs cover more miles before stopping for a charge than others (Long-range EVs).
For example, at highway speeds, a 2016 Kia Soul can go for about 70 to 90 miles before stopping for a charge.
On the other hand, there are other EVs that will go for up to 200 miles before you stop to charge.
This means that you need to look at the distances you cover on a daily basis with your EV for a better idea of how much charge you need to take you from point A to B before recharging.
Additionally, work out how much charge you are always left with at the end of the day.
5. Don’t focus on getting a full charge
When going on a road trip in an electric car you don’t really have to charge up to 100%, unless you don’t mind taking longer stops.
Charging to a full charge could take longer thus affecting your trip- It adds hours to your trip.
I would instead recommend charging just enough to get you to your next charging destination and adding a buffer in case of anything that might affect the range such as weather, type of road, temperature e.t.c.
This way you will have shorter stops and a fast road trip.
When using this technique, I normally charge for about 15 to 20 minutes after every 2 hours.
But of course, this will also depend on the type of EV you are driving.
6. Plan where you will spend the nights in advance
If your road trip is going to take more than one day, be sure to plan in advance to ensure that there are level 2 chargers at the place where you will be sleeping.
This means that your EV will be charging while you’re resting/sleeping. Hence, you will wake up with a full charge.
I can promise you that your day will start off very well when you have a full charge!
Before you book a hotel, you can call and inform them that you will be charging your EV there.
This is important because they will most likely give you a room that is closer to the charging point. They will also let you know their rules when charging your EV at the hotel.
Bear in mind some hotels have strict rules that you need to be aware of before you book or go charging.
7. Install useful EV apps
EV apps help make your road trip easier.
Here are a few examples of the apps you need to install:
- PlugShare – It allows you to filter your charging stops based on the activities you want to do on the charging stops. For example, do you want to take lunch as your charge? You can filter the chargers located next to your favorite eateries.
- EV Hotels – This app gives you places to sleep while you charge your car overnight.
- Waze – This app gives you real-time information about traffic and road conditions on your route.
8. Change your mindset
Can you take a road trip in an electric car?
Yes, you can go on a road trip in an electric car as long as you plan and prepare well in advance.
Most people have many misconceptions about taking on a long road trip with an EV.
If you fall under this category, the first thing I’d recommend you do is to change your mindset, plan accordingly then hit the road.