Road trips are exciting and are activities that involve friends or the whole family. However, many people who own or plan to buy electric cars wonder if they are fit for road trips. In this article, we offer you tips when planning a long-distance journey with an EV.
Is an electric car fit for road trips?
The answer is yes. Electric cars are fit for road trips because they are very efficient. They can quickly accelerate to overtake gas-powered vehicles, which improves safety. Also, the cost of charging an EV for a road trip is usually less than buying gas. Electric vehicles are also very comfortable.
A note on towing. If you plan to tow on your EV road trip, you must use an electric car certified for towing. In fact, towing with an EV not certified can void the warranty and cause legal problems if you are involved in an accident. You should also note that towing will reduce your driving range significantly.
Planning a road trip with an EV
EV trips require planning. Below are things you should consider when planning a road trip with an electric car.
1. Get a suitable electric car
Road trips are best made in an electric car with a long driving range. This will reduce the number of times you have to stop for a charge due to a low battery. Modern EVs offer 250 miles or above, making them suitable for longer trips. Feel free to check our electric cars with the longest range article for more information.
2. Plan your route to include as many public charging stations as possible
If your road trip is longer than your car’s range, you will need to stop along the way to charge. This calls for planning to avoid wasting time or being stranded where you can’t find a charger.
Plan your route to include as many public charging stations as possible. Some charging apps can help you choose the best route for charging so that you are never too far from a charger. You may use PlugShare, ChargeHub, Open Charge, or Google Maps to locate public chargers. If you stay at a hotel overnight, you may select one offering free charging so that you can wake up to a full battery. EVHotels can help you find hotels with free chargers.
You must not wait for your battery to run down completely before stopping to charge.
While charging, it may save time to stop at 80 percent because the last 20 percent takes long.
3. Plan for the correct type of charger for your car
It is important to note the type of charging port on your car. Most electric vehicles use CHAdeMO or CCS, and you must find compatible public chargers. If you own a Tesla, you should look out for Superchargers or carry an adapter to use other charging stations.
It is better to pack your mobile charger to take advantage of any opportunity to plug in. The front trunk is a perfect place to store it if your EV has one.
4. Plan for other activities while you charge
Since charging takes time, it may be better to plan other activities in conjunction with it. For example, you may eat a meal or have a toilet break while waiting for your car to charge. Some public chargers may be located close to interesting features, like museums or zoos. Instead of hanging around the charging station, you may explore them before your car finishes charging. This may require picking out charging stations in advance.
However, some cars offer in-car entertainment, like games or movies, to help you pass the time.
5. Drive efficiently
Even with a long-range electric car, you should drive efficiently to squeeze as many miles out of it before charging. It is important to note that driving ranges provided by the manufacturers are estimates, and you are likely not to get as many miles in real life.
Avoid accelerating abruptly, as it taxes the battery more. Also, use regenerative braking as much as possible to top up your battery.
Running the air conditioner or other climate controls may cut into your range. Use them as sparingly as possible. Also, park your car under the shade to keep the temperature from getting too high.
Pack as light as possible to consume less battery. This requires compromise, as EVs usually offer more storage spaces. Also, avoid strapping cargo on the roof as it increases the resistance your car faces on the road.
6. Think of your destination
If you live in a city, finding a charger may not be a problem. However, if your destination is not an urban environment or densely populated location, it may be difficult to locate chargers. Make sure you have a plan for charging before setting out on the return leg of your trip. If you are going camping, ensure the site has a power supply.
7. Be flexible in your EV trip plan
The best plans do not always work out, so you need to be prepared for uncertainties. Road trips can throw surprises, which may be part of the draw for some people.
For instance, the charging station you plan to use may be occupied or faulty. The weather may turn bad and cause a delay. Also, you may have to charge with Level 2 chargers instead of Level 3. Make sure you leave enough room to handle emergencies or other unforeseen occurrences.
EVs offer many benefits during road trips. However, it is important to plan a road trip with an electric car with the tips above to have the best experience.