A successful cross-country road trip with an electric car requires careful planning. It’s important to prepare some details before you ever leave home, from charting your route to finding charging stations along the way.
At Gexa, we want to help electric vehicle (EV) owners feel fully prepared to take their car out on the open road. That’s why we’ve put together this handy guide for everything you need to know about taking an electric car road trip.
What is the Farthest an Electric Car Can Travel?
The distance you can drive an EV on a single charge varies widely depending on the make and model. Most electric vehicles have a driving range between 100 and 300 miles per full charge. It’s important to know how far your specific EV can travel between charges.
If you want the convenience of filling up with gas while still reducing your emissions, consider hybrid cars, which run on both electricity and gas.
Remember That Range is Just an Estimate
Electric vehicle manufacturers tout the maximum range of each model they produce. However, drivers need to know that the mileage is an estimate, not a guarantee. In addition, highway driving will drain your electric car’s battery more quickly, reducing the range.
Because every part of an EV runs off the battery, including the heating and cooling, it’s a good idea to minimize battery use as much as possible. This can be as simple as rolling down the windows instead of cranking the AC and keeping a light touch on the accelerator when going on an electric car road trip.
Related: Understand how long your EV battery lasts.
Map Out Your Route
While most U.S. cities and towns have plenty of gas stations, the same isn’t true for charging stations. Be sure to plan your route around available chargers so you don’t have to stress about finding one when you’re running low on range. This may mean sticking to interstates and avoiding rural areas.
Before you set out, download apps for finding charging stations or an EV trip planner, like PlugShare, ChargeHub, and the Roadtrippers app. You can even use Google Maps to search for charging stations in Texas or anywhere else along your route.
Plan Activities During Charging Time
Level 2 chargers are the most common ones available, and the average time it takes to charge your electric car with one is roughly an hour. However, DC-fast charging stations are also starting to prop up, which can get you a full charge within 15-30 minutes.
EV charging stations are often found in shopping centers or parking lots of major retailers like Target and Walmart, making your charging time the perfect opportunity to stock up on any road trip supplies. (Did anyone say snacks?)
If you bring along activities like board games, bicycles, or skateboards, you can also find a spot to enjoy some outside family time while you wait for your vehicle to finish charging.
Related: Learn about the average cost to charge your electric car.
Always Have a Backup Plan
Even if you know exactly where the closest charging station is, you may not be able to access it for several reasons. Other EV drivers may be using all the available chargers, or the entire station could be out of service for maintenance.
That’s why every electric car trip planner should always have a plan B. Consider investing in a portable EV charger as a reliable backup. You can also research other nearby charging stations or get in touch with a local friend who has an EV charger at their home.
Related: Learn about electric car plans with Gexa Energy.
Choose Hotels with Charging Stations
If you’re taking a long electric car road trip, look for hotels that offer charging stations to their guests. This is the perfect opportunity to charge your EV overnight while you enjoy some rest and all the amenities a hotel provides.
And if you don’t mind sleeping in your car for a night or bringing camping equipment, RV parks can be a cost-effective way to charge your vehicle without having to pay for a hotel.
Pack an Adapter
EVs that haven’t received a service upgrade may require an adapter to use Level 2 charging ports. In this case, consider packing an adapter and research which charging stations are compatible with your vehicle as you map out your road trip with your electric car.
Consider a Summer Road Trip
Cold weather—specifically 20° F and below—can cause an EV to lose 20% of its range. This is because using the heater, defroster, and other gadgets drain the battery. To get the most out of your electric car road trip, get out in the summer or during warmer weather. And if you do go on a winter road trip, plan for extra charging stops along the way.
Final Considerations While Planning Your EV Road Trip
Taking an electric car road trip is far from impossible—it just requires some forethought and planning to ensure that you don’t end up stranded without a charging station nearby. By mapping out your route and taking advantage of all the resources available for EV drivers, you can plan a delightful road trip that’s certainly cheaper than one in a gas-powered vehicle.