How to Prepare for Driving an EV on a Road Trip
With unpredictable hikes in gas prices, more and more people have or are thinking about buying an electric vehicle (EV), but they remain skeptical about how EVs perform on a road trip. Here are tips on how current and future EV owners can address their fears and make for a fun, worry-free road trip in an EV.
Resolve range anxiety
Improvements in the vehicles and in the nation’s network of electric vehicle charging stations mean longer ranges with fewer stops for charging on an EV road trip. You can avoid range anxiety by carefully pre-planning a route using your car’s built-in navigation system to plot charging stops. In addition, consider an app that offers more flexibility in routing and recharging options, such as A Better Route Planner.
Heed the hive
You know what they say about the best laid plans. If you are on a tight schedule or if your road trip takes you to a remote location, consult the Plug Share app to save time and avoid hassles. The app is a growing crowd-sourced database of charging stations with information on out-of-order chargers, amenities on site and the location of charging stations nearby.
Recharge when your car does
You can stay in your car and take a nap, watch a movie and stay warm while charging your EV. But, because many charging stations are conveniently located at restaurants, attractions, shopping centers, parking garages and even national parks, you can do some errands or take a walk while your car is hooked up. Set your watch, though: Proper EV etiquette is to only park in an EV charging space while your car is actively charging.
Patience pays off
EV navigation apps determine how far and at what speed you can travel to get from one charge to another, leaving you with little cushion for error to reach your destination. So, it is worth charging a bit more than your app suggests. Waiting to charge an extra 5 or 10 minutes over what your navigation app suggests can help you avoid the need to slow down well below the speed limit or make an emergency detour to get a charge.
Don’t ignore the basics
EVs are smart enough to send alerts about low tire pressure and other issues, but it’s still a good idea to run through a road-trip checklist before hitting the road to avoid surprises. Make sure your auto insurance and roadside assistance plans are up to date. And don’t forget to stock up on road trip essentials such as snacks and good tunes.
–Written by Harriet Baskas
–Top photo from Blue Planet Studio/AdobeStock
This article appears in the 2022 Summer Edition of AAA Washington’s member magazine, Journey.