Electric cars let you proudly show your eco-friendly values, but what happens when you want to travel beyond your hometown? Can an electric vehicle (EV) handle a road trip? Yes! You can enjoy the freedom of a spontaneous weekend getaway, but the journey requires some extra planning. Here are five points to remember when you take a road trip in an electric vehicle to enjoy a safer, more comfortable trip.
1. Know Your Car’s Range and Battery Life
Many electric car batteries last anywhere from 55 to 80 miles, although several higher-end models last for more than 100. Unless you enjoy ending up stranded, you need to plan to stop and recharge.
That may not seem like a big deal to city slickers with charging ports every mile or so. However, if you’ve never driven cross-country before, there are some wide, open spaces for which to plan carefully. The longest stretch of space without a gas station is a 156-mile stretch between Lakeview, OR, and Winnemucca, NV. Some models, lamentably, wouldn’t make it without a range extender.
Exercise caution if you purchase a used car. Like any rechargeable, your car’s battery will lose charging capacity over time. Maybe you could travel 150-miles on one juice-up when it was new on the lot, but time and the elements diminish its storage ability. Take several tests in well-populated areas before hitting the open road.
2. Use AI Trip Planners
Even if you find a gas station, there’s a chance they won’t have a charging port. To make sure you get one that has this amenity, you need to download an app like PlugShare or Open Charge.
Accepting payments is another hurdle. However, you don’t have to whip out a credit card anymore to take care of business. These apps work with fast chargers and often require you to be on their network to get the juice.
3. Seek DC Fast-Charging
If the term “AC/DC” makes you think of an Australian rock band, you should know that they stole their name from electrical systems. “DC” stands for direct current, and it’s the fastest way to get your car charged.
There are three levels of charging stations. Your standard house 110-volt house current is a Level-1. Most public charging stations are limited to Level-2, meaning that you can top off a 240-volt charge but not much more unless you plan to spend half the day sightseeing while your car “refuels.”
Level-3 DC fast-charging can get your battery back to 80% capacity within 30 to 60 minutes. Only approximately 1,000 of these bad boys exist nationwide, but more are in production. You’ll need to download the app and join the provider’s network to take advantage.
4. Consider a Range-Extender
If you plan on staying in well-populated coastal areas, you have less stress. Even if you lose power, the right roadside assistance plan can get you back on the highway without too much hassle.
Things get trickier when you head west, and services grow sparser. In such areas, a range-extender can make the difference between safety and danger. Most cars come with built-in systems, although you can add them to other models.
A range extender is a small, internal combustion engine — but unlike a hybrid, it never directly powers your car’s wheels. Instead, it provides renewed juice to your battery. The only disadvantage is that you have to refuel with gas and plug-in your vehicle.
5. Choose Your Hotel With Charging in Mind
When you book your hotel reservations, you need to do more than ensure your lodging has a fitness facility or heated pool. Ensure you look for electric vehicle-friendly establishments that provide these amenities.
Some online travel booking sites allow you to select this option when you search. If they don’t, it’s always wise to call ahead and ask what they have available. You’ll plan your itinerary quite differently if you have to wait several hours at a Level-2 port for a charge than you will if they have DC fast-charging — make sure you ask what type they have onsite.
Don’t Worry Too Much — Enjoy the Journey and Destination
When taking off on your first electric vehicle road trip, it’s natural to feel some angst about your battery range. Getting stranded roadside — particularly in harsh weather conditions with no heat or AC — can turn a vacation into a nightmare.
However, if you do your homework, you’ll get to see the best of America. Cruise Virginia’s Blue Ridge Parkway (and more scenic trips) in fall if you want some show-stopping autumn foliage photography.
Cure your vertigo on Arizona’s Highway 89A from Flagstaff to Prescott that takes you through the heart of gorgeous Sedona red rock country. The views are so incredible that fear won’t close your eyes even if you ride shotgun.
Remember These 5 Points When Taking a Rod Trip in an Electric Vehicle
You can take a road trip in an electric vehicle. Keep these five tips in mind and enjoy the eco-friendly adventure of a lifetime.
- On our site: Winter Driving Tips for Travelers
- On our site: Preparing for a Long Road Trip