How To Take a Range Anxiety-Free Road Trip in an Electric Vehicle

Although traveling by plane is a lot faster, a road trip offers an unparalleled level of freedom and flexibility. If you plan to take one in an EV, things can become a bit more complicated, especially if the distance you have to cover exceeds the maximum range of your vehicle.
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In recent years, EVs have become more popular and a lot more capable. Still, even those with extended battery packs can’t offer the same range as conventional ICE-powered cars or those that feature a hybrid system.

For this reason, taking a road trip with a battery-electric vehicle might be tricky but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done or enjoyed properly. To do this, you have to be a little more organized and plan everything carefully, so here are some essential tips for a range-anxiety-free road trip.

Thoroughly Plan Your Route

If you’re planning to travel for more miles than your vehicle can take on a single charge, you’ll need to plan you’re route around available public chargers that are located near highways, expressways, or points of interest you’re looking to visit.

Fortunately, most developed countries like the U.S., Canada, Japan, Germany, or France have very good charging infrastructures so it shouldn’t be difficult to plan accordingly. There are countless iOS and Android apps out there such as PlugShare, ChargePoint, EVgo, or ChargeMap that you can use for this purpose. Look for Level 2 or faster charging points if you don’t want to waste a lot of time.

Furthermore, keep in mind that EV range is dynamic and depends on various factors such as climate, driving style, or the use of auxiliaries (like climate control). That being said, if your car has a 300-mile (483 km) range, make sure to recharge at least every 250 miles (402 km) or so.

Choose Restaurants and Accommodations with or Near Charging Points

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Another smart way to recharge your EV without wasting valuable time is choosing restaurants or diners that have or are near a charging point. This way, when you stop to eat and replenish your energy, your car can do the same.

The same can be said about hotels, motels, or any other form of accommodation. Using a Level 2 or superior charging point overnight will fully recharge your EV’s battery pack.

Check Tire Pressure

Regardless if it’s a fully electric, hybrid, or ICE-powered vehicle, tire pressure can have a big impact on range. If the car’s tires are underinflated, the rolling resistance will increase which means that the electric powertrain will have to work harder which in turn will drain the battery pack faster.

This is often overlooked by many drivers so if you want to maximize your EV’s range, make sure to check the pressure in all four tires before you hit the road.

Maximize Regenerative Braking

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The vast majority of electric vehicles are equipped with some form of regenerative braking. This system turns your car's kinetic energy into electricity that it’s stored inside the battery, maximizing efficiency. If your EV allows you to, turn the system to the highest level and use it as much as possible

Turn Off the Climate Control Whenever Possible

I mentioned earlier that range is dynamic and one of the influencing factors is the use of auxiliary electrical systems. The most widely used among them is climate control which, believe it or not, doesn’t have to run continuously. If the weather allows it, try switching this function off and lowering your windows to let fresh, cool air inside the cabin. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how many extra miles you can get out of your EV’s battery pack.

Keep in Mind That Range Drops Exponentially During the Winter

Another factor that can have a huge impact on the vehicle's driving range is extremely cold weather. Even though many EVs have efficient management systems that keep the battery pack’s temperature close to the optimum value, extreme cold often results in a significant drop in efficiency.

For example, as this article by Charlotte Argue on GEOTAB states, at 5 F (-15 C) the rated range of most EVs will drop to about 54%, meaning that if your car is rated at 250 miles (402 km), it will only go for around 135 miles (217 km) on a full charge.

So, even though traveling through a scenic, snow-covered route can be an idyllic experience, taking a road trip during the winter can have a huge impact on your car’s range.

To wrap things up, road tripping in an electric vehicle may not be as easy as it is in a gas-powered vehicle, but that doesn’t mean it can be fun and worry-free. It all depends on your planning and as you can see, it isn’t that hard to do. Now, all you have to do is go out there and enjoy the experience.
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About the author: Vlad Radu
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Vlad's first car was custom coach built: an exotic he made out of wood, cardboard and a borrowed steering wheel at the age of five. Combining his previous experience in writing and car dealership years, his articles focus in depth on special cars of past and present times.
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