The road is calling our name, and we’re switching things up by setting off in an electric vehicle. Pack your favorite snacks and candy (gummy worms for me) and buckle up. Here’s everything you need to know about taking an EV road trip.
Map out your route ahead of time to know what chargers you plan to stop at along the way. You can use resources like a charging stations map or an EV road trip planner to help plot your route. Having charging apps for the stations you’re planning on using already downloaded and set up with your credit card information will save you time throughout your trip.
It’s a good idea to have a backup plan in case all the chargers at your planned stop are being used or are out of order. You may want to bake in extra time and battery power to give you flexibility to decide if you’ll wait until a charger becomes available or drive to another charging station.
Really know your range
Vehicle manufacturers will share an EPA-estimated range, but keep in mind that “ideal” driving situations were lab-created to get that figure. An internal combustion engine vehicle (powered by gas or diesel) typically gets its best fuel economy while cruising at a constant speed. EVs are the opposite and use regenerative braking to increase efficiency when coasting and stopping. EPA tests account for a combination of highway and city driving, so you can expect your range to vary, depending on your route and traffic conditions.
Account for accessories
If you’re driving in a climate that doesn’t hover around the 70°F mark most EVs thrive in, you’ll likely use up the battery quicker than expected. Blasting the A/C in the middle of a scorching Texas summer or turning up the heat driving through the desert at night can use more battery power, similar to how it would use more fuel in a gas-powered vehicle. Plus, extra energy use like charging your phone and playing the radio might contribute to faster battery depletion. Keep these factors in mind when planning your recharging stops.
Pack your patience
GM has partnered with EVgo to expand the charging network across the U.S. and Canada. While the charging infrastructure continues to grow, you may have to wait your turn to plug in. And remember that although it may take just a few minutes to fuel up, it can take longer to charge. The speed at which your vehicle charges can vary depending on things like temperature, how depleted your battery is when you plug it in and the level or type of EV charger you use.
Recharge while you charge
Take advantage of your charging breaks by refueling yourself. Use these opportunities to eat a decent meal and get out and stretch your legs. Pack a frisbee or ball to play catch while your vehicle gets topped off. More and more roadside attractions, shopping centers and movie theaters are adding EV charging stations. If you have the time, strategizing where you stop can change the places you might end up! If staying overnight, book your stay at a hotel that offers EV charging, so you’ll have a full battery in the morning.
EV road trips are rising in popularity, and while they may take a little more preplanning, driving in an EV offers many benefits. If you’re getting ready for your next trip, read up on planning a drama-free family road trip.