Blogs, Infrastructure

Viability of road tripping with an electric vehicle

When electric vehicles first hit the market and became available for the general public, taking a road trip wasn’t an option. There were several big roadblocks to long-distance driving, including the cost of EVs, the lack of charging stations throughout the country, and slow charging batteries. Now all three of these limitations have been addressed, making road tripping with your electric vehicle nearly as easy as it is with your gas-powered car.

What’s changed in 2019 when it comes to the electric vehicle and road trips?

The cost of owning an electric vehicle is becoming more affordable each year. EV sales in the US reached over 1 million in 2018, a clear indication that consumers are interested in protecting the environment and saving on fuel costs. Automakers are coming up with development and marketing plans to meet the increase in demand and sales for EVs. By 2025, we can expect that all car manufacturers will have their own unique lineup of electric vehicles. The strategy of supply and demand is going to drive down the cost of EVs, making them even more appealing to Americans.

Addressing the second concern of taking road trips with your EV is the outlook for more charging stations, which is improving every year. As of March 2019, there are 21,362 charging stations across the United States, with a total of 61,679 charging outlets. As more electric cars hit the road, drivers can expect to see more charging stations available each year. More stations are being added to the list every week, not just in larger cities, but throughout the country, particularly on state and interstate roads.

The third concern of driving electric vehicles long distances is the inadequacy of battery charging. This lack in technology previously stopped EVs from being powered long enough to travel significant distances before needing to be charged. The good news is that electric vehicles are now being developed with batteries that are more powerful and take less time to charge.

A good example of this improved battery efficiency is the Nissan Leaf. When this EV first hit the market in 2011 it had a range of 73 miles before it needed charging. With advanced strides in technology, the 2018 Nissan Leaf has an electric range of 150 miles. Even more impressive is the Chevy Bolt, which has a range of 238 miles on a single charge or the Tesla Model X at a 295 mile range. With the capability for EVs to drive this many miles before recharging, the electric vehicle has gone from being a commuter car used in your own neighborhood to one that’s ready for long road trips.

EVs have come a long way not just in improving efficient battery charging, but also with improvements to their performance. Electric vehicles have what’s known as “instant acceleration”. They’re able to reach fast speeds in just a few seconds, which means they’re even more capable and reliable than ever for driving at high speeds on state and national highways.

It’s predicted that by 2025 the electric vehicle will make both diesel and gas-powered vehicles completely obsolete. This means that long-distance road trips will become as much as part of the norm as driving your current SUV. Today, taking to the road with an electric vehicle is easier than ever before.  

When taking a long-distance road trip with your electric vehicle, there are a few sensible guidelines to follow. The first is planning. Use the EV Connect smartphone app to plan your route according to where there are available charging stations. If you’re not planning on staying overnight, don’t forget to calculate how long it will take your EV to fully charge before you can continue driving. Have a backup plan in place for anything unforeseen that might occur.

Drive your electric vehicle smartly so that you get the most out of your battery power. There are a number of ways to increase the number of miles you drive per charge. One is to come to a slow stop when braking rather than sudden stops. When starting to drive, slowly ease down on the pedal until you reach the desired speed. Drive defensively but not aggressively – aggressive driving can reduce EV efficiency by up to 30 percent. Still another way to improve the miles you’re driving on your road trip is to stick to the speed limit on highways. It’s estimated that going 10 miles over the speed limit can reduce efficiency by 10 percent.

While most charging stations are located in cities, there are now many available on rural routes. If your road trip includes National Parks, check ahead. In a partnership with BMW, many parks are offering charging stations for EVs within their borders.

With so many strides and advancements in electric vehicles, you’ll be able to take your EV on your next road trip with complete peace of mind. If you’re not yet the owner of an electric vehicle, chances are that you’ll be joining thousands of others in the next few years as you trade in your fossil fuel-burning car for an eco-friendly electric vehicle.

This infographic at this link contains specific route information on some popular drives to familiarize yourself with the different types of EV charging stations and their locations.