How to plan a long road trip with an electric car
For those who love to travel, there’s nothing that beats climbing in the driver’s seat, putting your foot on the pedal and exploring the open road.
Getting to visit new places, see breathtaking sights, and meet people from all walks of life can truly broaden the mind.
While some people take any old car to get around the country, others use their electric vehicle. If you fall into the latter category, it’s important to thoroughly map out your adventure before locking your front door.
Whether you’re new to the electric car world or you’ve simply forgotten what it’s like to venture further than your nearest supermarket, we’ve compiled a straightforward guide on how to get the most out of your ride as you set off on an exciting road trip.
Plan, plan, and plan some more
We appreciate you may be itching to hit the open road and explore. However, it’s imperative you plan your journey out thoroughly well in advance. Planning isn’t the most exciting of subjects, especially when you’re already visualising your holiday and all the excitement that comes with it. But, if you have an electric car, a bit more thought needs to go into the trip when compared to those with a diesel or petrol car.
Only a decade ago, a long holiday journey in an electric car was the sort of thing that may have made the front page of newspapers. Rapid chargers were more of an idea than reality. Even those who could manage to seek one out would find the charging speed was incredibly slow.
Thanks to advances in tech, the public rapid charging network has transformed beyond belief. In fact, the infrastructure offers drivers easy access to rapid charging with over 10,000 connections (and counting) in the UK.
While we’ve just mentioned that UK’s electric car charge infrastructure has come on leaps and bounds over the last 10 years, that doesn’t mean you can scrimp on planning out your road trip. For instance, if you need to recharge while on the go, it’s important to have a good idea of where and when you will need to stop. It’s recommended to download specialist apps on your smartphone to help you with just that.
Some of the most popular options are WattsUp, PlugShare, and Zap-Map. These apps use live network data, which shows you where charge points are, how much they cost to use and if a driver is already using it.
Many of these apps have navigation functions too, meaning you’re able to choose your charger and allow the app to guide you there. Check out LV ElectriX who have a guide on the estimate time for charging electric cars. This knowledge can help you map out your road trip and ensure you’re not waiting around any longer for your car to charge than need be!
Factor in regular breaks
When sorting out your route, it’s good to have several alternative chargers should the one you choose be busy. Make sure you factor in plenty of range to get to another charge point. The last thing you want is to rock up somewhere with 1% charge left in your battery!
It’s far less stressful and easier to arrive at charge points with 20% charge left and top up to 80% while you’re taking a well-deserved break. Combine a charge stop with a food break, and your vehicle will likely be charged up and ready to go by the time you’ve eaten and get back in your seat.
Another bit of advice for mid-journey recharges is to seek out venues that have more than one charger. For instance, a service station will normally have two or several units and provide hassle-free payment options like contactless. You’re also able to score lower prices if you subscribe to apps like Bonnet. Just make sure you take regular breaks, not only to charge your vehicle but so you can have some rest.
Choose suitable routes
Most drivers rely on Google Maps to get from A to B, and for good reason. It’s brilliant for figuring out how far your destination is, as well as the time it will take to get you there. Although, what you will find is many try and take you via motorways. This is because the algorithm always assumes that 70mph roads will get you from point A to point B in a quicker timeframe. For those driving an electric vehicle, it’s important to check if there is a more direct route on A and B roads.
Electric vehicles use more power at motorway speeds than they do at 60mph. This means if you’re able to take an A road and shave 20 miles off the total journey, you will get a double benefit. Sure, it may take you 15 minutes extra by steering clear of the motorway. However, it could be the difference between actually reaching your destination or having to stop again to charge.
If you stick with A-roads, you will be nearer to a wider selection of rapid charger locations. This is bound to bring peace of mind, knowing there’s always somewhere close by to charge your vehicle, especially in an emergency.
Find electric vehicle friendly destinations
While we’ve primarily focused on the actual journey of your road trip, we need to discuss the destination too. As electric vehicle ownership expands, destinations and venues up and down the country are making moves to bring in more and more visitors.
This is all done with the help of on-site charging. The likes of Center Parcs and Holiday Inn are rolling out charging stations that guests can use. This means you can either get a quick charge while on route or opt for a slow charge than can be done overnight.
The good news is finding an electric car-friendly hotel is much easier than you think! There are online booking websites like Booking.com or Late Rooms where you’re able to pick electric car charging as a mandatory facility when searching. It’s always recommended to double-check with the accommodation provider before you travel. That way, you can be confident you’ve got the facilities needed for a seamless stay.
Plan for a smooth journey in your electric car
Whether you’re heading on a long road trip in an electric car or not, there are some handy tips you can take on board that will ensure your adventure runs smoothly. This includes taking regular breaks, having a rest when you are tired, and bringing along plenty of snacks and drinks to keep you full and hydrated along the way.
Make sure you’ve got things to keep you entertained while you drive too. For example, you could stick on a podcast that can engage your brain as you travel from A to B. Alternatively, create a music playlist so your tunes can blast as you travel.
The technology of electric vehicles is continuing to improve rapidly, and so is the ability to charge them. With more and more drivers making the switch to electric, it’s becoming more possible to undertake lengthier journeys across the UK and even into Europe in your electric car.
Wherever you’re heading to on your road trip, if you’re taking your electric vehicle to get from A to B, knowing your capabilities, charging points, and routes is key for a smooth, safe, and enjoyable adventure away from home.