Are you planning your first long-distance trip in your electric vehicle (EV)? Driving long distances in your EV is a little different than going on a road trip in a gasoline-powered car, so we’ve compiled a handy list of four things to know below.
Your EV’s Range
Before you can start planning your trip and the ideal route to take with your EV, you must know its range. While your car undoubtedly has a range indicator on the dashboard with the battery charge, you should be wary of following that too closely.
Dashboard range estimates are just that, estimates—and those estimates could change dramatically once you hit the highways for hours at a time if you’ve only driven your EV for short trips. The range is also dependent on how you drive and use the battery—for example, blasting the heat or air conditioning—so, minimize battery use while driving if you can. Consider taking a test drive for an hour on a highway before the trip to see how your EV performs.
The Best Route for Your EV
You can’t assume there’s an exit with a charging station every few miles like there are gas stations for gas-powered cars. Depending on where your road trip takes you, the options for public stations to charge up at could be limited.
Some states have sizable charging infrastructure, with thousands of ports spread across various cities. But many, like Arkansas (412 ports), are much more limited. You’ll have to plan a route around the available chargers to ensure you’re always near a port.
The Types of Public Charging Stations
Along with the number of public charging stations, you must know which types of stations are available for your road trip in your EV. Not every public charging port is the same, and they can range in charging speed, cost, and compatibility with your EV.
For example, there are significant differences between level 2 and level 3 EV charging stations, as level 3 chargers are much faster but not as common as level 2 chargers. It’s worth adjusting your route to ensure you’re in proximity to a level 3 charging station as it can save you more time compared to a level 2 port.
The Cost of Charging Your EV
And while constructing a budget for your road trip, you’ll also want to know how much it costs to charge at a public station. Many car owners are only familiar with charging at home and have little idea how much it’ll cost them to charge up at a public port.
While public EV charging is much more affordable than filling up a gas tank, the price depends on the charger and the total time spent charging. Charging up nearly the entire battery will generally cost around $30 at a level 3 station, with variations depending on the region you’re in. A level 2 charger will be cheaper but take much longer.