Man plugging in electric car in a public parking lot

How To Take a Road Trip with an Electric Vehicle

Road trips are a fantastic way to escape and explore exciting new adventures. But if you’re an owner of an electric vehicle (EV), you may be wondering: Can I go on long road trips with an EV? You can do it, but strategic planning is essential. We’re here to show you can take a road trip with an electric car.

How Do You Take a Long Trip with an Electric Vehicle?

Any road trip takes a good amount of planning, but this is especially true if you're driving an electric car instead of a traditional gas-powered vehicle. Take these tips into consideration when planning your next EV trip.

Planning Your Route

The first thing you need to do is plan your route and identify charging stations along the way. If you own a Tesla, it offers its own route planner, but you can also use EV trip planner apps — e.g., PlugShare and Better Route Planner — to help you find charging locations. Google Maps also allows you to search for EV charging stations.

Additionally, don’t plan your road trip for winter because electric cars lose power faster in chilly weather. Instead, hit the open road during summer to maximize your battery power.

Know the Different Types of EV Charging Stations

There are three types of EV charging that you should know before hitting the road:

  • Level 1 Charging — Most electric vehicles come with a Level 1 portable charger that uses a standard 120-volt household outlet. Level 1 is the slowest type of charging, providing your EV with 3-5 miles of range per hour.
  • Level 2 Charging — Level 2 charging stations can be installed in your home or found in public places. These chargers plug into a 240-volt outlet and provide your EV with 25-30 miles of range per hour.
  • DC Fast Charging — DC fast charging is the quickest method, offering up to 250 miles of range per hour. These charging stations are only available in public places like office buildings, community centers, and grocery stores.

Charging on the Road

When it comes to charging your EV on the road, there are some valuable tips you need to know:

  • Have a backup charging option — Whenever you arrive at a charging station, it could be occupied or out of service. Ensure there’s another station nearby, or bring along a portable charger.
  • Plan charging stops around activities or meal breaks — With gas-powered cars, you can fill up your tank and be back on the road within minutes. That’s not the case with electric vehicles. You’ll have to practice patience when charging your EV. Even if you’re using a DC fast charger, you’ll still have to wait at least 45 minutes for a full charge. Find charging stations near restaurants, parks, historic buildings, or other attractions to pass the time.
  • Watch out for environmental factors — Environment factors such as strong winds, lower temperatures, and uphill drives can cause unexpected range loss. If you experience one of these factors on the road, plan for more charging stops and be conservative with your driving speed and HVAC consumption.

Seek Accommodations with Charging Stations

Charging your EV overnight is essential to keeping your battery charged on the road. Luckily, many hotels offer EV charging stations — often for free. However, even if the hotel’s website states they offer charging stations, it’s a good idea to call them to ensure their chargers aren’t out of order.

Are you more of an outdoorsy type? Bring your camping gear and lodge at an RV park. Many sites in or near national parks offer 240-volt outlets, which provide the same power as Level 2 charging stations.

Whether you’re road-tripping by yourself or with friends, there’s nothing like the open road to enhance your traveling experience. But before you get behind the wheel, it’s important to have reliable auto insurance to protect you and your property.

Mercury Insurance provides quality coverage at an affordable price. Contact us today for a fast, free quote.