Summer is here, and with it comes holiday season. Staycations are all the rage at the moment, so it’s the ideal time for road tripping in an electric car. Here’s everything you need to know when preparing for a long-distance adventure in your electric vehicle (EV) – including the best apps to download, charge point advice and first-hand tips from our Head of Engineering at ev.energy.
Set yourself up for success by doing some planning ahead of your road trip. If you’ve never taken your EV on long journeys before, give it the best chance of going the distance by planning your route based on topping up your charge rapidly and often if you can. Aim to recharge your battery before it drops below around 30% and avoid a last-minute panic if the charge point you’d intended to use is out of service.
Before setting off, download the ev.energy app to charge up at home. Set your ‘ready by’ time when you plug in and your EV will be road trip-ready when you are. In addition to feeling confident that your car will be ready to hit the road, make use of the Rewards section of the app, where you could gain Amazon and Starbucks gift cards – the perfect chance to grab any essentials you need before leaving for your trip, or to grab a hot drink on your travels.
For on-the-road charging, plan an overview of charging locations en route using an app like abetterrouteplanner.com or Zap Map. These useful apps highlight charge points along your route based on your EV type. Charging networks also come with their own apps. One of the biggest is Ionity, who have a large charging network across the UK and Europe. Use their app to find charge points and control active sessions from your phone.
Wherever you’re going, research the EV charge points in the area before you leave, as some countries have more developed infrastructure for EVs than others.
On a road trip, you’ll want to spend less time in parking lots, and more time in the National Park. With careful planning, it is possible to achieve a time efficient journey, but since it won’t always be possible to rapid charge, it’s worth planning for a leisurely journey. After all, holidays are all about taking our time, right?
Optimal vehicle range for longer road trips is around 150 miles. So, aim to drive for around least 2 hours between charges and look to recharge at about 30% battery.
When the time comes to charge, fast chargers are the speediest option and can take as little as 30 mins. However, as most chargers are 50kWH, we recommend factoring in a couple of hours to recharge your battery. And if you have an older EV, you’ll know that these require AC charging, which can take up to four hours.
Road trips are meant to be fun, so make sure you bring some activities to be getting on with while you wait for your EV to charge. EV charging stations are not known for being situated in picturesque locations, so pack plenty of puzzles, books and snacks in case you find yourself in the middle of an industrial estate with time on your hands. If you’re travelling with young children, try to plan charging stops in a location where you can all get out and stretch your legs safely.
Look out for EV charging stations with multiple charge points. Supermarkets tend only to have one charge point, whereas motorway service stations could have as many as 12, meaning you’re less likely to waste valuable sightseeing time queuing.
Even if you’ve meticulously planned every charge point along your route, there’s always a small chance that things won’t go as you’d hoped. For this reason, always aim to charge your vehicle when the battery is no lower than 30%. Otherwise, you could find yourself caught short if charging points are unfortunately out of order.
Make sure you have EV breakdown cover in place. Most breakdown providers should have an onboard generator to charge your battery, but check this before you set off on your journey.
Get to know your EV and how well it predicts battery range before taking it on any electric road trips. All vehicles tell you how long you can go until you’ll need to charge, but this isn’t always 100% accurate. Over time you’ll become more familiar with your EV. Get to grips with range in advance and avoid last-minute stress. Also, bear in mind that the most effective way of optimising your range is to drive more slowly and calmly.
“Plan for the unexpected” – 6 top tips from an EV expert and engineer
Ashley Grealish, our Head of Engineering at ev.energy, recently took his Audi Etron on a 1500-mile road trip around Northern England and Scotland. Here are his 6 top tips:
To get the best out of your EV adventure, download the ev.energy app.