Make a road trip in an EV easier and more fun with our top five tips
When you boil it down, EVs are nothing more than just a car – a means by which to get around each day. However, the classic road trip has often seemed a step too far thanks to range limitations. But with tech advancing, greater range and infrastructure improvements, there’s no reason why you can’t road trip in an EV. Our five top tips will help show you how.
You can understand why there’s a fear of taking an EV on a long drive, especially from those who are new to using them. People still talk about range anxiety but the truth is most family-oriented EVs will comfortably do 200 miles before charging becomes a factor. Also given the quieter driving environment of an electrically driven vehicle, which has been proven to have significant mental health benefits, we’d argue that EVs are perfect for road trips.
However long you plan on going for, here are some simple things you can do to ensure your journey is as care-free as possible!
1. Plan your stops in advance!
The days of range anxiety are essentially over thanks to the ability for most road trip-worthy EVs to cover off 200plus miles before charging becomes an issue. What’s more, how many of us can truly say we don’t want a wee, a coffee and a bite to eat after three or four hours on the road… Unfortunately, charging anxiety has replaced range anxiety: that feeling of dread as to whether a charger is available and – more pertinently – working in the first place.
Our top tip is a simple one: plan your route with stops built in. But don’t leave it at that – plan an A and B contingency so that if you do encounter a dud charger, you know there’s another one nearby! Obviously most EVs have sat-nav that can help you locate the nearest charging point, but we heartily recommend Zap-Map as a route planner, as well as a must-have app for EV drivers. There are many alternatives, too, with big names like Google Maps becoming ever more useful for EV owners.
2. Make sure you have all the right apps
Whilst the charging network in the UK is being forced to make provisions for people to just turn up and charge regardless of who owns the infrastructure, it’s far from perfect. What’s more, many providers will sting you with higher costs if you’re not a member or don’t have the right app. Feeding into the first point, we recommend that you know which providers you’re planning to stop at and install the relevant apps to ensure that connection is as seamless as possible. If you have a subscription with certain providers, use their websites to locate chargers along your way!
3. Take the scenic route
EVs are at their least efficient at motorway speeds, so keeping lengthy sections of fast roads to a minimum is a good bet. When planning a route, think about whether there’s an alternative via an A or B road. An EV will be far more efficient at 50-60mph than at 70, plus in many instances you can actually reduce the distance travelled to reach your destination – even if by time it takes a few minutes longer.
There are other benefits too; you’re on a road trip, not a point-to-point race so by taking smaller roads you might find yourself in an undiscovered gem of a location. Then there’s the fact that many towns and even villages have public chargers of their own, or ones attached to retail. Just imagine the bliss of a quaint village and afternoon tea as the car quietly fills with electrons versus an overpriced meal deal on the M6.
4. Find an EV-friendly destination
Did you know that some of the biggest destination booking services allows you to filter by whether or not accommodation has EV charging facilities? Well you do now – with big guns such as booking.com and Kayak.com having added this filter to their search and EV-specific services such as evhotels.org and r3charge.com filling this gap in the market. If all else fails, there are groups on social media who will be able to point you in the right direction.
If you’re content with staying in a large chain hotel the likes of Travelodge and Premier Inn offer the ability to charge, and even campsites are now adding EV hook-ups to their services. So whatever your preferred destination, there’s almost certainly an option out there which will allow you to charge conveniently and with confidence to make the most of your stay.
5. Forget the petrol road trip mindset
A road trip in an EV opens up more opportunities to explore new places simply are a result of adopting new ways of planning routes and using the charging network. In a petrol car, you could plod up the motorway at 70mph all day, seeing very little and probably getting very bored. Instead, find somewhere new to stop and actually explore while you charge instead of dumping as much energy into the car as fast as possible.
A road trip can be an opportunity to uncover the path less travelled and make it about the journey rather than the destination. In an EV, that might just be more convenient.
Want some inspiration?
If you doubt that a long road trip is eminently possible in an EV, there are already plenty of examples out there. However, Nissan has taken things to the extreme with its plan to drive its new Ariya EV, which is embarking on a mission to drive from the magnetic North Pole to the South Pole with celebrity adventurer Chris Ramsey at the wheel.
Setting off in March 2023, the Ariya will cover over 17,000 miles across 14 countries from Canada, down to Argentina and then eventually onto the frozen continent of Antarctica. Temperatures from below minus 30 to well over plus 30, alongside tough terrain from mountains to deserts will be overcome along the way – testing the Nissan’s electric powertrain to the max.
Given that internal combustion cars have made similarly epic treks using tech that is fundamentally over a century old, we reckon the Ariya will be just fine!