EV Ownership
How To Plan Trips In Your EV
How To Plan Trips In Your EV

How To Plan Trips In Your EV

Some EVs have very good software onboard, and will automatically route your GPS navigation to include charging stops at the best plugs along your route. Some cars, unfortunately, will not do this (or will, but do it poorly).

Even if your car is good at planning your route with charging included, there may be other reasons why you would want to plan things for yourself - such as finding plugs near specific places that you want to stop.

So what's the best way to plan a long distance trip in an EV?

1. Get directions

Use your favorite mapping app to pull up directions to your destination. Note the total distance, and the route that the app recommends that you take. This will likely be the optimal route based on shortest distance, least traffic, etc.

2. Estimate range

Based on everything that you've learned so far, estimate how much range your car is likely to get on this trip. Will you have all of your range available? Or will you lose some due to cold weather, mountainous terrain, or packing the car full of people and stuff? Estimate how far you think you can travel before stopping to charge (the more you live with your car, the more this quick estimate will become intuition).

3. Look for charging stations on your route

Using an app like PlugShare or ChargeHub, look for compatible plugs along the route that your mapping app suggested. Start by searching for DC Fast charging stations (if compatible), and then expand your filters to include Level 2 charging only if there are no DC Fast plugs available. You can also use the trip planning tools within these apps or a dedicated trip planner like A Better Route Planner, and compare their suggested route to the route suggested by your favorite mapping app.

4. Drive

Begin your trip, and just be mindful of how much range you're using. If there are limited charging opportunities along the way, you want to be sure you have enough juice to get to where you're going. If it's tight, you can try turning off the climate control or limiting your speed to extend your range.

5. Stop more to go faster

Remember, the battery charges fastest between 0 and 80%. Because of this, two charging stops that charge the battery to 60-80% will likely be faster than one charging stop that charges to 100%, assuming that a) the charging stations are all close to your route and b) there are multiple stations to choose from on your route.

We know, describing this probably sounds complicated and tedious, but we assure you it's not. The whole process of trip planning will take just a few minutes once you're familiar with your car, the plugs it's compatible with, and how much range you're likely to get.

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