The open road. The wind in your hair. Your furry friend or loved one riding by your side. Singing along out of key to your favourite tunes. Road-tripping is one of life’s greatest pleasures — and it’s only gotten better with EVs.
Read on for some practical tips and tricks from your friends at ChargePoint about how to plan a road trip with an electric car.
1. Plan your route
The ChargePoint app and map make planning an EV road trip route a breeze. Whether you want to take scenic back roads for slow exploration or major routes to maximise seeing the sights, the ChargePoint app is there for you. With the app, you can easily discover hundreds of thousands of charging options whether you’re looking for stations along a major route, a metropolitan area or even an entire country. Keep an open mind as sometimes taking a longer route will offer more stations along the way. Don’t forget to use the My EV filter to find the stations that work best for you and your EV. Make sure that you’ve added or updated your payment method in the app so you’re ready to go if you charge at a station with a fee. If you’re new to the world of EV charging, read up on the different types of charging stations so you can choose what’s best for you at different stops and stages of your road trip. Last but not least, we highly recommend researching the sights, activities, restaurants, shops, parks and more that most excite you along your route so you can make your charging stops work for you and your enjoyment. Why not sample the local delicacies or hike to see some epic views while your EV charges?
2. Know your car
Planning a long-distance road trip well also includes knowing your EV and driving it efficiently. For maximum peace of mind, know and stay aware of what impacts your EV’s range. Keep an eye on how much air conditioning or heat (including seat warmers!) you use and go easy on your accelerator to maximise your EV’s range on the road. How you drive can affect range estimates and it’s good to remember that range estimates aren’t always 100% accurate. A good rule of thumb is to charge before your EV battery drops below 10 – 20%. While it’s safe to charge your EV in any weather, know what weather you’ll be driving in as wintry and humid weather will lower your EV’s range. Like for any road trip, having a back-up plan is common sense. The travel charger that came with your car can help you power your EV in a pinch and will give you enough charge until you can get to a fast charger.
3. Sleep and charge
The most convenient time to charge your EV on your road trip happens to be the same as when you’re home. Let those hours while you’re resting power your adventure in more ways than one. Charging your EV while you’re sleeping is the most convenient way to power up. Luckily, hotels and Airbnbs around the world have joined the EV revolution so it’s easy to find convenient and affordable places to stay that also support your EV lifestyle. ChargePoint partners with aligned hotels to bring robust EV charging infrastructure to their guests. Hilton and Marriott also now allow travellers to search hotels by EV charging availability directly. Booking websites like expedia.com, hotels.com, Airbnb and Kayak also allow travellers to search and select lodging with EV charging specifically. Many websites enable travellers to search for hotels with EV charging. Whether you prefer a hotel room, a campsite or a flat rental, make sure that your lodging fuels up both you and your EV for your road adventures.
4. Stay flexible
One of the best parts of road-tripping is spontaneity. You’re in the literal and figurative driver’s seat and your journey is yours for the taking. See a flea market on the side of the road you can’t miss? Fall in love with a city and want to stay longer? The ChargePoint app has you covered. Using the ChargePoint app with CarPlay or Android Auto while you drive enables you to find a new station on the go as your plans change. See the real-time availability of the station that you’re navigating to and plan accordingly. Downloading widgets to your phone also allows for instantaneous access to station info, ranging from the nearest stations to pricing, without needing to open the app. Either way, plan to top off your battery at 80% while using DC rapid charging to preserve your battery life and make the most of charging speeds. Make sure that you break in time to charge in case there’s a queue for the fast charger that you want to use. Use Notify Me to easily learn when a ChargePoint charging spot opens up without having to wait around. With the world’s largest EV roaming network in the ChargePoint app, easily find and navigate to a different station should your plans change.
5. Follow EV etiquette
One of the best parts about being an EV driver is being a part of a global community. Pay it forwards and make thoughtful choices on your EV road trip. Here are a few EV etiquette tips to keep in mind:
- Tip #1: Always unplug when you’ve finished charging your EV. Charging spots are NOT parking spaces.
- Tip #2: Park to charge thoughtfully. Don’t block other charging spots so other EV drivers can power up too.
- Tip #3: Leave station tips and photos for other drivers. You can also do this directly in the ChargePoint app.
- Tip #4: Report any issues to the station owner. The ChargePoint app enables this directly.
6. Build the perfect playlist
The most important part of an EV road trip? Having fun and feeling free. Seriously. With the ChargePoint app and other partners in the EV revolution, planning is quick and easy and leaves more time for play and fun. In fact, the joys of a road trip are actually a lot like the joys of an EV lifestyle. Freedom to roam, freedom to explore, freedom to see where the road takes you — literally and figuratively. The pleasure of simplicity and ease as you move through the world however you choose. As a company by EV drivers and for EV drivers, road-tripping the EV way is one of our greatest joys at ChargePoint. That’s why we’ve put together a playlist with some of our favourite tunes so you can charge, drive and live better on whatever road you choose.
Ready to head out?
Additional EV road trip FAQs
Can I drive my EV across the EU?
Yes! In fact, driving an EV across the EU is an increasingly popular way to road trip and see many sights. An EV road trip is now no different than an ICE road trip, as all drivers need to plan their fuel according to their trip length. ChargePoint’s pan-European roaming partnerships ensure that you can still use your ChargePoint app to charge your EV in other countries. You’ll be in great company.
How far can electric cars go?
Most EVs sold today have average ranges close to 300 miles or approximately 483 kilometres. Luxury EVs with high ranges include the new Lucid Air Grand Touring, which can go 516 miles or 830 kilometres, and the Mercedes EQS Sedan, which can go 350 miles or 563 kilometres. Mid-range EVs like the Kia EV6 can go 310 miles or 498 kilometres, and the Ford Mustang Mach-E can go 312 miles or 502 kilometres. Whether you’re buying an EV with a road trip in mind or renting an EV for a family holiday, good things to consider when selecting an EV are size, the number of people in your family or friend group, your preferred features or aesthetic and price range. In general, we recommend looking for an EV with a good combination of range & charging speed. Read more here. Regardless of your EV’s range, road-trip with an EV with confidence knowing that you’re connected to the world’s largest EV charging network with your ChargePoint app.
How long does it take to charge an EV?
How long it takes to charge your EV depends on the charger type and your EV’s capacity. An AC fast charger will add 25 – 50 miles or 40 – 80 kilometres of range per hour. A DC rapid charger will add 100+ miles or 160+ kilometres of range to your EV in 30 minutes. Choose the right charger type or station on your road trip according to your needs. An AC fast charger is great for charging overnight and a DC rapid charger is great when you’re in a rush (assuming that your car is compatible). In general, we recommend charging to around 80% most of the time. Charging to 80% will extend the life of your battery and save you time, as charging speed tends to decline for the last 20%. If you need the 100% for your next road trip leg, you’re perfectly fine to charge to 100%. Discover more about general charging speeds here.
What should I bring on my EV road trip?
Like any road trip, we recommend bringing lots of delicious snacks and fun activities for the road. These especially come in handy if you find yourself charging somewhere that’s not near an activity that appeals to you. We also recommend always bringing the charger that came with your EV on a road trip, and even just around town to be safe.
What is range anxiety and should I worry about it?
Range anxiety is the fear that an EV will run out of battery before reaching its destination. Experts agree that this fear is increasingly one of the past. Firstly, EV ranges increase by leaps and bounds every year. Second, EV charging infrastructure is growing exponentially. Third, an overwhelming majority of EV trips are short distances. But fear is a normal part of change, and the EV revolution is definitely bringing much needed change, fast. Thinking through your EV’s range and current charge before starting any trip is no different from thinking through an old ICE vehicle’s tank capacity and status. As more and more people switch to EVs, they realise through lived experience that they can let go of any range anxiety, and charge, drive and live better.
What happens if my EV runs out of battery while driving?
This is very unlikely, as most EVs will notify you repeatedly if your charge is running low, provide info on nearby chargers and slow down protectively if you don’t charge up. Should the unlikely happen to you on your road trip, rest easy and call a towing service to either charge your battery or tow your car to the nearest charger. Please remember to never jump an EV with another PHEV, HEV or BEV and always call for assistance. You’ll soon be on your way.