How to plan a road trip in your electric vehicle

Posted by Marketing on Jul 07, 2020 07:00 AM

Blog_EV Road Trip-01Ready for a road trip? We gathered a few tips and best practices to make your next long drive a success.

For many families, a yearly road trip is considered a tradition. Picking the destination, packing snacks, drinks and activities for along the way, and selecting some interesting stop-offs are all part of the process.

According to MMGY Global’s 2017-2018 Portrait of American Travelers study, more people are hitting the open road than ever before. The latest numbers show that of the nearly 3,000 survey participants interviewed, around 85% of their vacations are domestic. Of these U.S. trips, 39% were road trips, centering around the family vehicle. What’s more, this represents a 17% increase in the number of road trips taken during 2015.

Although road trips can be incredibly, fun and exciting, with adventure waiting around every corner, these journeys can be a bit more stressful for drivers of electric vehicles. Thankfully, just because your car does not take gas (or is a hybrid), does not mean you cannot set out in your EV on your own great American road trip.

Here, we have gathered a few tips and best practices to make your next long drive a success.

Know your vehicle and its range

First things first, before plotting out your route and the sights you’ll see along the way, it’s important to understand your vehicle’s battery, projected range and its potential limitations. Having this knowledge handy will help you better plan your trip, and avoid traveling distances that might put your battery range in jeopardy.

According to Energy Range, different EVs have varying ranges - the popular Nissan Leaf, for example, can travel about 150 miles on a single charge, whereas Tesla’s Model S and Model X both boast ranges of more than 250 miles.

Look up the range of your car ahead of your trip so you can properly plan around your charging stops.

Map out your stops - including charging stations

Once you know how far you can go in your vehicle, you can pick out the different stops you will make along the route to your destination. Whether you are going on a multi-day, long-term vacation, or just a day trip, it is helpful to pick stops where you can charge your vehicle while enjoying the sights or some entertainment in the meantime.

The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy pointed out that most national parks now include electric vehicle charging stations, as do many major events and attractions. Overall, there are about 16,000 EV charging stations and more than 44,000 EV-compatible outlets in driver-friendly locations around the country. This means you will not have to look too hard or travel too far to find your next charge.

However, if you feel a bit anxious about getting to your next stop before you reach your charging range limit, you can always look up the closest EV charging station using Google Maps. The app uses the latest data to show available chargers and stations - drivers can simply search “ev charging stations” to see the closest place to plug in their vehicle.

EV driver Jay Lucas recently shared the story of his E road trip with Green Car Reports, noting that he is glad he planned his route according to available charging stations ahead of time. The initial route Lucas had plotted would not offer sufficient charging stations to take him and his vehicle the 1,300 miles of the trip. By using a charging site map from PlugShare, Lucas confidently plotted out a more northern route, which included several charging station stops along the way.

Consider economy tips

While understanding your vehicle’s charging range and planning your stop out accordingly is certainly helpful, it’s also a smart move to consider certain economy tips that can optimize your vehicle range. The Office of Energy Efficiency recommended that EV drivers use High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) or carpool lanes where available. While some areas place a limit on the number of car occupants that qualifies a vehicle for HOV lane use, many areas have exemptions for EVs. In this way, even if you are on a solo trip, you can take advantage of these efficiency lanes to save time and provide the best range for your vehicle.

Make sure your trip home is stress-free

Once you have reached your destination, it is beneficial to stay overnight and let your vehicle receive a full charge, if possible. You can also retrace your steps on the way back and use the electric vehicle charging stations you leveraged on your initial route.

However, one of the best ways to make your return journey stress-free is by installing an at-home EV charging port or station. Home charging solutions are more economical and easier to set up than you might expect. What’s more, an at-home charging station can free you up from having to make unscheduled stops on your way home, and provide peace of mind that you always have a place to charge your EV. 

To find out more about the logistics of home charging, and how an expert service provider can install a station and get you set up, connect with us at Webasto EV Solutions today


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Topics: Level 1 Charging, Level 2 Charging, EV Charging, Electric Vehicles, Travel