3 Tips for an Electric Vehicle Road Trip

Summer’s here, and for many Americans, that means hitting the open road. But with gas prices still hovering around $5 per gallon nationally, your Great American Road Trip might prove costlier than ever before. 

Fortunately, there’s never been a better time to make your epic road trip electric. While many drivers might still have concerns about electric vehicles (EVs), road-tripping in an EV can be cost effective and convenient with the right planning. 

Here are three tips to make your electric road trip a success this summer: 

1. Plan your route and locate chargers that work with your model.

Today’s EVs have significantly higher battery ranges than in the past, and there are more EV charging stations than ever before – but since chargers aren’t yet as widespread as gas stations, an EV road trip does still require a bit of planning.

If you're driving a Tesla, you’re in luck as they come with their own route planners. For other models, use route-planning apps like A Better Route Planner or PlugShare. These tools can help you develop a route that includes the fastest chargers that will work for your specific EV model and can calculate how much time you’ll be charging versus driving.

2. Look for accommodations that have EV chargers on site.

Since many models of EVs now feature ranges in excess of 250-300 miles on a full charge, you may be able to complete your entire day’s driving itinerary without stopping to charge. If that’s the case, then you’ll definitely want to book accommodations that include EV charging stations on the premises.

Charging overnight is by far the most convenient way to get a full charge of an EV battery, and many companies are helping travelers find hotels and other accommodations with EV chargers. For example, Expedia and Airbnb both now enable travelers to filter properties that feature chargers, and the aforementioned PlugShare map also offers this capability.

3. Don’t forget to conduct a quick, pre-road trip inspection.

Just like with a gas-powered car, it’s always a good idea to go through a standard, pre-trip checklist to make sure your car is ready to hit the road. With an electric vehicle, taking a few basic steps can ensure that you’re getting the maximum range out of your battery’s capacity.

AAA recommends that you use a tire pressure gauge to make sure that each tire matches the recommended PSI (this can often be found on the door jamb of the driver’s side or on the tires themselves). Low pressure can reduce the battery’s range, and you might not make it to your next charging stop.

It’s also recommended that you remove any unnecessary items from the interior as the additional weight can reduce the car’s efficiency and range. And AAA also suggests that you avoid using a roof rack if possible, since “they create drag that can lower a combustion vehicle’s efficiency by 25 percent and reduce EV range.”

The road trip is a summer staple (not to mention, a rite of passage) for many Americans. But with the elevated gas prices this summer, it’s a good time to consider making your trip in an electric vehicle. It’s not only better for the environment but can benefit your wallet too.

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