Planning an EV Road trip – the easy way

With concerns about the environment and the sustainability of our reliance on fossil fuels, electric vehicles are becoming ever more popular. However, one of the major concerns of potential buyers is the need to re-charge the battery at regular intervals, and the perceived lack of charging stations. In fact, in March 2020, there were almost 25,000 charging stations across the USA more than 78,000 charging points

Many of us are looking forward to traveling again in 2021, but air travel has lost its appeal. Road trips, within the USA, are gaining in popularity, enabling us to enjoy the variety, beauty, and excitement of our wonderful country.

If you’re concerned about whether it will be practical to go on an extended road trip in your EV, follow the six easy points below to help you have an enjoyable journey free of battery-related stress.

1. Know your car’s range and charging capacity

If you already have an EV, you will already have a good idea of your car's range, and this will be a great help as you plan your trip. Typically, it will range between 150 miles and 250 miles, but the range will depend to some extent on your acceleration, the terrain you are driving through ( going uphill increases consumption), and whether you're using your air conditioner.

If you’re still thinking of buying an EV, keep in mind that vehicles with a longer range may cost more initially, but typically have a higher resale value. You’ll also spend less time charging them and have that much more flexibility.

Also, it’s important to consider whether your car has fast-charging. This can make a significant difference to the amount of time you spend charging, and therefore to how much time you need to calculate for your trip – for example when choosing lodgings for the night, it helps to estimate your time of arrival. 

2. Use an app to plot your route 

Luckily, there’s no need to leave your access to a charging station to chance.  Simply use an app with a chargepoint map such as Plugshare, which is a dynamic crowdsourced guide to literally thousands of places to recharge your vehicle’s battery.  Simply type in your preferred route and it will show you the nearest charging stations. 

The only thing you’ll need to keep in mind is your vehicle’s range and any factors which might influence that, so you’d need to plan in an interim charge.

Additionally, try and stick to high-power/ fast chargers when you’re on the road. This ensures that you can take a short break and stretch your legs while your vehicle charges, but you’re not left hanging around for several hours when you’d rather be enjoying the freedom of the open road or the sight of your chosen city.  Plugshare will highlight high power charging stations for you.

3. Economize in cities

On the subject of driving in cities, keep in mind that in certain locations, EVs are exempt from occupancy restrictions and can use carpool or high occupancy vehicle lanes. This not only helps you save time if traveling in rush hour traffic, but it can also help you achieve the optimum range for your car, saving charging time and reducing overall running cost.

4. Charge overnight when you can

Whenever possible, charge overnight. These days most hotels and lodgings will help you to do this, sometimes at no cost. The key to an enjoyable and stress-free trip is to keep your battery charged, so it never actually runs low. When booking your accommodation, ask in advance whether this is a service they offer – so no surprises or disappointments. Also, the more people request overnight charging, the more likely they are to respond to the growing demand.

5. Retrace your steps

The easiest way to plan your route home is to retrace your steps. You’ll know exactly when to expect each charging station and what other facilities you’ll find when you get there. However, if you prefer to follow a completely different track, it’s no problem if you use an app such as Plugshare or an equivalent. 

6. Install a charging station at home

This is an economical solution that is surprisingly easy to install. Not only will it save you cost over time, but each time you leave home, you’ll have peace of mind, knowing that your vehicle is fully charged. Likewise, when you arrive home after your fantastic trip, you’ll be able to restore your vehicle to its fully- charged state, while you rest and recover

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