EVs are an ideal option for driving across the country, but it'll help to have some of these tips in mind before hitting the road.
Cross-country road trips are always an adventure, especially your first one in an electric vehicle (EV). Road trips give us a chance to explore and indulge in our curiosities like few other activities.
With great range and fuel efficiency, EVs are an ideal option for driving across the country. It’s also easier on the budget, as gas prices can fluctuate greatly from one state to the next, while prices at electric charging stations generally remain the same.
However, just like with a gas-powered vehicle, there are some steps and precautions you should take in preparation for a road trip.
Keep these seven smart tips in mind before hitting the highway in an EV:
1. Map out Your Route
While the spontaneity of an unexpected road trip can be part of the appeal, EV drivers should map out where they plan to drive.
EV charging station infrastructure has grown in leaps and bounds, but a clear gap still remains in the availability of these public services in certain regions. While the West Coast and East Coast have an abundance of charging stations, there may not be as many stations located elsewhere.
A cross-country trip is completely possible, provided you plot your route. For example, you can drive from Los Angeles, California, up to Seattle, Washington, over to New York City, down to New Orleans, Louisiana and back to Los Angeles. This more than 8,000 miles of highway has nearly 200 charging stations along the route, with enough of them strategically placed to keep your EV charged for the entire route.
2. Prep Your EV
Unless there’s a specific issue you’re worried about, prepping your EV for the trip won’t take a lot of time.
Check the EV’s tire tread, brakes, windshield wipers and wiper fluid reservoir. Fill up the tire PSI to an optimal level, as low tire pressure can negatively impact the EV’s performance and reduce its range. Also make sure to put together an emergency kit, or double-check the one you already have in the vehicle.
3. Download EV Apps
There are a host of mobile apps to help you find compatible charging stations nearby. PlugShare and a Better Route Planner are two such options. These can be super useful to ensure you don’t find yourself stranded somewhere without a charge. And, of course, good map and weather apps are a must-have for your trip as well.
4. Be Conservative With Your Range Estimates
Drivers, no matter the vehicle, are looking to make the best time when traveling. This can often mean getting a little too optimistic about just how far they can make it in a single trip. However, overestimating your EV’s range can leave you up a creek without a paddle — or, in this case, down a road without a battery charge.
This is especially true for drivers traveling into new terrains, who might be unfamiliar with how steep climbs, heavy winds and lower temperatures can drain batteries faster and shorten an EV’s range.
For the best-case scenario during a long road trip, it’s wise to pull off for a charge sooner rather than later.
5. Increase Your Range
Being conservative in your estimates doesn’t mean you should neglect to take steps to increase the EV’s range at the same time.
Efficient driving is the best way to extend the range. This involves avoiding quick starts and sharp acceleration, which require additional energy. Further, hard stops and abrupt braking also lower your EV’s regenerative braking efficiency.
Although people tend to take road trips in the warmer months, if you’re driving in the cold weather, use the heat sparingly and instead rely on the seat warmers to conserve the charge.
6. Use Charging Stops as a Reason to Explore
When it’s time to stop and charge your EV, take the extra time to get a full charge.
This will also provide a prime opportunity to get off the beaten track and explore your surroundings, whether it’s a new city or even a nature setting. For example, there are around 90 charging stations installed around national parks across the country, which allow for hikes and other sightseeing experiences.
7. Seek Out Accommodations With Charging
While EV charging apps likely include hotels and motels in their databases, it’s still a good idea to check with potential lodging facilities to see if they have charging capabilities. This applies for inquiring whether they have a charging station that might not be listed in an app, as well as checking to ensure the one they have listed is working.
Want to know more EV tips? Contact to the electromobility pros at Webasto today.