Love them or hate them, electric vehicles are a wave of the future that is here to stay. Their popularity is thanks to pros that outway the cons. The need for expensive, depletable fossil fuels is eliminated along with air polluting carbon emissions, and they’re practically maintenance-free with no needed oil changes. And now that average driving ranges are around 300 miles and the infrastructure for EVs is catching up with the times, it’s hard to argue that EVs aren’t good for road trips. Here’s how to take a road trip with your electric car.
An array of accessories are available to make your road trip more convenient and enjoyable. Features like a center console organizer or a glove box storage compartment organizer keep things like glasses, coins for toll booths, and other accessories in order and at your fingertips. A docking station that fits on the central console with multiple ports will help keep all your devices charged. And with a roof rack that has generic T-slots, you can mount everything from bike racks and ski racks to assorted cargo boxes.
Choose the Fastest Chargers
It’s important to know that chargers work at varying rates. Rather than different grades of gasoline, it’s now Level 1,2, and 3 chargers.
Similar to your home’s electrical wiring, Level 1 chargers take many hours, or even a day to give you a full charge. And if your battery is near empty, you’ll only get around 50 miles of drive time.
Level 2 chargers get you running in 3-8 hours and can be used if you want to spend several hours at a shopping mall or an amusement park.
For the fastest charge, look for a Level 3 or DC Fast charger. This will give you an 80 percent charge in about an hour.
As for cost, Level 2 charging will cost between $1 and $3 per hour, which is significantly cheaper than gas. These are the most common chargers and are often found at shopping centers with designated parking. Level 3, the quickest option, will cost between $10 and $30 for a full charge.
Map Out Charging Stations
When taking a road trip in your EV, it’s critical to map out charging stations in advance. The infrastructure is still catching up, so that means the highest concentration of charging stations is going to be around cities and towns that are more populated.
Rather than pulling off the highway to search for them on your phone, use the convenient Chargeway app to get a better read on what’s nearby that accommodates your car type. The app also allows you to input the current charge, the air temperature, and your destination to figure out how much charge is needed to make it to your next stop.
Even if you use the fastest chargers, you’ll still spend at least a half-hour off the road. Plan some fun activities along the way while your car is charging. You may even discover some hidden gems you otherwise would have overlooked.
Sign Up for a Charging Service
Companies like EVGo, Electrify America, and Chargepoint offer fast and easy ways like apps or tapping cards to pay for your charging. You’d be surprised how this little convenience will enhance your trip. It’s easy to use your credit card and even easier to sign up pre-trip to breeze through your charging stops.
Several factors can make your actual range smaller than what was advertised when you purchased your EV. It takes more energy in cold weather to warm up the battery and your range can be sapped quickly. This makes summer the best season to plan your road trip. For cold-weather trips, expect to charge your car a little more often.
Blasting your heating or air conditioning also reduces range. So do uphill climbs and heavy feet on the accelerator. Keep your speed at 65 mph or less.
One of the best things you can do to make your EV road trip successful is to stay overnight at accommodations with charging stations. While you rest, your car battery can be charged up for your next destination. Fortunately, many hotel chains are getting on the “EV charging band-wagon” and offering their guests free Level 2 charging.
Be sure to check out the app PlugShare which has a map showing hotels with free charging stations and those you have to pay for.
RV parks are also EV-charging-friendly. They allow you to charge your vehicle as well as park and rest for a very decent price of around $35 t0 $50 per night.