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Long-Distance Travel with an Electric Car: 7 Useful Tips and Tricks for Road Trip

Going on a road trip is an exciting adventure in and of itself, but it’s even more so when you’re taking an electric vehicle. Unlike traditional gas-powered vehicles, EVs require special considerations when planning extended trips, making your journey more exciting!

That said, whether you are a group or a solo traveler, preparing your EV for a long trip is more than planning your routes along charging stops. You must also try to maximize your efficiency and reduce your range anxiety to make your trip hassle-free. With that in mind, let’s explore some tips and tricks to help you power through long-distance travel with your EV confidently.

7 Ways to Prepare for a Road Trip in an Electric Vehicle

Charge up your EV and follow these steps to make your journey more enjoyable!

1. Prepare your car

As you would with a gas-powered car, ensure that your EV is in optimal condition before going on a long drive. Thoroughly inspect its critical components, such as:

  • Tire pressure
  • Engine oil
  • Brakes
  • Front and rear lights
  • Mirrors
  • Battery 

Rectify any problems you see. If you don’t have time to do it yourself, consider taking your vehicle to a service center with EV accommodations. Also, familiarize yourself with your vehicle’s range to plan your route and schedule charging stops effectively. Check your car manual or contact the manufacturer for your EV’s charging times and range estimates.

2. Plan your routes

Preparing your driving route is critical to operating an EV. Public chargers aren’t as common as gas stations, so you often need to drive along roads with easy access. Fortunately, some EVs can detect nearby charging stops and recommend charging times at each spot.

If your car doesn’t have this feature, you may also use other third-party tools to help you out. They allow you to input your starting point, destination, and vehicle model to calculate the most efficient route and estimate charging times. However, prioritize routes with ample charging infrastructure to minimize range anxiety.

3. Schedule charging stops around activities

Waiting for your EV to charge is often the frustrating part of owning one. However, you can use that time to explore and make your road trip less tedious and more enjoyable.

Research nearby amenities and attractions at each charging station to plan your stops strategically. Are you charging during lunchtime? There might be a nearby restaurant or café showcasing the area’s cuisine, which you can try out while you charge. There may even be a scenic viewpoint or public park that’ll make your wait worth it.

For longer charging stops, consider spending them at destinations where you can explore more, like a museum or a beach. These efforts break up the monotony of driving and turn your road trip into a more memorable experience!

4. Assess your end destination

Similarly, consider the charging options available at your end destination. Some hotels feature EV charging stations and even offer complimentary charging for guests. However, other accommodations don’t provide such facilities, so call ahead to ensure you’ll have a reliable way to recharge your car upon arrival.

Research the attractions within your destination for charging options as well. Some public areas, like parks and shopping centers, have on-premise stations you may use at a price. If they don’t, look up nearby towns or thoroughfares for available chargers. Ultimately, having a list of charging stations lets you explore your destination without worrying about running out of battery power.

Are you driving in the United States or Canada? The U.S. Department of Energy’s Electric Vehicle Charging Station Locations tool can help you look up all available stations within these territories.

5. Drive efficiently

Efficiency is crucial to maximizing your EV’s range and reducing your need for frequent charging stops.

Start by maintaining a steady speed along freeways and avoiding rapid acceleration and sudden braking whenever possible. Using cruise control and reducing AC usage also helps. Additionally, anticipate road conditions to minimize stops and starts. These practices ensure your motor works efficiently, reducing its energy consumption. 

Do you own a new EV model? Chances are it has a regenerative braking feature that captures energy during deceleration and braking and stores it in the car battery to extend its efficiency and range.

6. Prepare for emergencies

Accidents and emergencies can still happen no matter how much you prepare for your road trip, so it’s crucial to be ready. Pack an emergency kit for your EV containing essential items like jumper cables, a tire repair kit, a flashlight, and first aid supplies.

Then, familiarize yourself with roadside assistance services available for EVs, like those offered by your manufacturer or insurance company. Keep their contact numbers and emergency services in case of any issues during your journey. It’s best to print them on paper for quick access, even with a dead phone. Also, invest in a portable power bank for when you need to charge your phone.

7. Be flexible with your plan

While stringent planning is essential for a successful road trip on an EV, remaining flexible along the way is just as important. Unpleasant weather, traffic jams, and unexpected detours may arise. So, familiarize yourself with alternative routes and loosen up your schedule to accommodate these challenges.

Get weather and traffic updates from the news to make better-informed decisions regarding your routes. After all, you don’t want to get caught by a hurricane when you’re miles away from the nearest charging station. Most of all, maintain a positive attitude during hardships. Range anxiety is dreadful enough as it is, so treat deviations from your original plan as opportunities for new experiences.

Make Your Road Trip More Memorable

Going on a road trip with an EV lets you explore while minimizing your carbon footprint. It may require more planning than a trip with a gas-powered car, but practicing the tips we’ve discussed also helps you enjoy it. In turn, you can go on any long journey while driving an electric car or an internal combustion engine car, knowing you’re ready to tackle any challenges that arise on the road.

Are you ready to go? Safe travels, and may your trip be full of unforgettable memories!

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