Tips for Tripping in your EV
Some claim that electric vehicles are the future of the automotive industry. Even so, many newer EV owners still struggle to consistently find charging stations away from home, especially on long road trips.
With that in mind, here are some tips to help you plan charging stops and ensure that your EV stays powered for the duration of your trip.
Know the Types of Charging Stations
Not all EV chargers have the same capabilities. EV chargers come in three different charging levels, each with varying costs, charging speeds and probable locations:
- Level One: the first level—a common household plug—operates at 120 volts and can add three to five miles of range per hour. It’s too slow for on-the-go charging and thus better for overnight residential charging.
- Level Two: the second level provides 208 to 240 volts of power, replenishing EVs at a rate of 12 to 80 miles per hour. This wide range depends on the charger’s power output and the vehicle’s maximum charge rate. This level is available at many public stations. It’s designed for a stop-over of some length such as a long meal or shopping excursion.
- DC Fast Charge: the fastest level adds three to 20 miles per minute using direct current (DC) voltage. This level is the standard for public DC charging stations and is increasing all the time (as are vehicle fast-charging capabilities).
You should focus on level two and DC fast charging during your road trip. DCFC is by far the best option, but you might not be able to reach a station every time you need to recharge. Level two chargers serve as the backup plans.
Use an EV Travel App
Make sure you plan for scheduled and unscheduled stops when organizing your trip. An EV’s battery life can fluctuate for many reasons, so you can’t expect it to drive exactly the same distance after every recharge. That’s why it’s a great idea to use an EV travel app to locate all charging stations in the area. Here are some reliable apps:
The main function of an EV travel app is to help you plan the optimal route, but it will also allow you to compare prices and find stations with shorter waits, saving you both time and money.
Take Advantage of Warm Weather
Weather is one of the factors that will influence your EV’s battery life. Temperatures at or around 70 degrees Fahrenheit create the best driving conditions and will maximize the distance between charges. The temperature won’t be 70 degrees every day, but warm weather is still better than cold weather overall.
However, you should take some measures to protect your vehicle if things get too hot. Try to park in shaded areas and keep your vehicle charged at mid-range. If you keep recharging it from zero to 100%, the intense power input combined with warm temperatures will lead to overheating and inefficient battery life. Stay within the 60-80% range as often as you can.
Weight is also a big deal for electric cars. The lighter your vehicle is, the farther it can drive between charges. A lighter load will help it stay in the desired 60-80% range for longer periods, preventing frequent stops and keeping you on the road. You might have to leave behind some vacation accessories, but the driving benefits are worth the sacrifice.
Maximize Your EV’s Efficiency
EVs are more energy-efficient than fuel-powered vehicles, but only if the driver uses them properly. Maximize your car’s efficiency on your next road trip by prioritizing DC fast-charging stations, using EV travel applications, driving in the right conditions and packing light.
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