I’ll admit that I suffer from anxiety from time to time. While I’m not proud of this fact, I must admit that there are benefits to being overly concerned about things. I’ve never been late on my taxes. I’ve never missed my wife’s birthday or our anniversary. I’ve also never run out of charge on my electric car (EV), although I have come very, very close to doing so.
I don’t really like leaving my little bubble of a town in Northern Virginia in my EV. I once went to the mall about 11 miles away from my house with about 20 miles of charge left. On the way back, I almost had a heart attack when the warning light came on telling me that I was getting close to “empty” and would need to charge as soon as possible. All this got me thinking: could I ever take a road trip in this car? The answer is probably no, not until charging station infrastructure improves. That being said, road trips are possible in EVs that have longer ranges than my car. Here are some tips and tricks for EV owners who like to travel:
1. Don’t forget your charger!
This one seems like a no-brainer but It would be easy to do. I leave my charger plugged into the wall in my garage and never unplug it and put it in my car. Driving away on a long trip could be like forgetting your toothbrush only a lot more inconvenient. If you have your charger with you, it is always possible to charge at a restaurant or hotel (with permission of course). Having it means never being stuck anywhere forever.
2. Plan your route with charging stations in mind
You have the ability to plan your trip based on which route has the most charging stations. Plugshare.com has an excellent interactive map that can tell you exactly where publicly available charging stations are located anywhere in the U.S. and Canada! Even if you never need to pull over and use one, it will give you peace of mind to know that you can in a pinch.
3. Consider the weather
What’s the weather going to be like during your trip? As we mentioned here, cold climates can dramatically decrease an EV’s range. Also consider the fact that running the air conditioning in hot weather will decrease battery life. You don’t want to get stuck driving through Death Valley without enough charge to power the A/C.
4. Leave your lead-foot at home
EV batteries drain much faster at high speeds. If you have the discipline to obey the speed limit and allow others to pass you on the highway, your range on a single charge will improve dramatically. Cruise control is your friend when taking a road trip in an EV because it will force you to regulate and keep your speed consistent.
5. Charge it to the max
Even if you don’t think you need a full charge, do it anyway. You never know what kind of detours you’ll encounter or out of the way sites you might suddenly want to see. Take the extra time at the fast charger or wherever you stop for the night to ensure that your car has a fully-charged battery before you hit the road again.
What do our readers think? Are there any EV owners out there who have been brave enough to attempt an all-electric road trip? Any additional tips you would recommend? Please leave us a comment and let us know.
Source | Images: Wikimedia Commons