Can Electric Cars do Road Trips?
Summer is well and truly upon us! It seems everywhere we look people are joining us on the sunny South Coast and we thought this would be a great time to talk about how to make road-tripping in an electric car as smooth as possible!
Taking the time to plan your trip will help reduce any stress and worry you may have when taking your car on a long journey for the first time. Follow our tips below to help you on your way and feel free to send us any road trip photos on Whatsapp!
How Far Can Your Car Go Before Needing to Charge?
This question is one that you absolutely need to know the answer to before doing anything else! If you have been driving your EV for a little while you will know how much you can trust the range indication the car gives you. If your EV is new to you then we would suggest leaving yourself a 10-20% safety net with the mileage just in case! Your car may also be packed to the roof with luggage and toys for the beach. This additional weight likely reduces the range a little more.
Knowing a reliable range for your car can help you plan to charge stops and rest breaks to calculate how far you can travel in a day. As you travel off the beaten track it may get a little more difficult to find a charging station - especially a rapid charger - so keep this in mind as you decide where you want to visit.
How Do I Find a Charger En-Route?
Many electric cars have a built-in sat-nav system that can safely route you to your nearest charger when driving to your destination. These systems are great as they can look at the expected range of your vehicle and get you to a charger before you run out of juice! However, one issue is that the databases of chargers in your particular vehicle may not always be up to date. Chargers are being installed at a rapid rate up and down the UK so there might just be a charger that is in a better location for you than what your car tells you.
Our favourite app here at Forecourt-E is the wildly popular 'Zap Map'. They have a desktop website which is great for route planning at home along with a mobile app (Android and iOS) to help you when you are out on the road. Zap Map has details on thousands of electric vehicle chargers across the whole of the UK and Ireland.
Once you are in the app you can select any charger by clicking the pin head to get some more information. This includes the type of charger available at the location, how many chargers are installed, the speed at which they can charge (subject to your vehicle being able to support the speed), and when the charger was last reported as working or not working.
If you are planning to do shorter journeys or popping out to visit an unfamiliar town whilst on holiday then this can be a great tool - you can quickly search around an area to find a charger close to a spot you have chosen for lunch or to spend the night.
Planning a Longer Route
Zap Map's Route Planner is a great tool that can look at the expected range of your car and when you input an address for both the start and finish of a route, it will suggest chargers to stop at on the way. You can easily toggle between the speed of the charger you wish for it to display to you along with the usual features you would expect such as options to avoid tolls and motorways.
Here at Forecourt-E, we use this regularly to help our customers get home if they have travelled a long way to come and collect their car - once you have used it a couple of times it becomes very intuitive and a great tool to have at your disposal.
Carry Multiple Charge Cables
Something which may not be obvious - but when you are out and about and travelling away from home - having two charge cables could potentially get you out of a pinch.
Not all electric vehicles are sold with the 'household' 3-pin style charger. Many people only use the type 2 charge cable or just use the cable tethered to a charging station.
If you can get your hands on a 3-pin charge cable and chuck it in the boot of your car this could be a potential life-saver should you run out of battery and not be near an EV charging station. The 3-pin plug gives you so many options and we have found that people are normally more than willing to help you out!
Carry a Contactless Bank Card
New chargers installed now must include the option to pay via a contactless bank card rather than forcing you to download an app or register an account. Ensure your card supports contactless before heading out to make charging a breeze.
Find a Charger With a View!
A few years back The Independent published an article on the most scenic chargers in the UK. Rather than finding yourself stuck in a car park or next to a smelly petrol station - why not find a charger situated next to a cafe, at your hotel, or next to a viewpoint? The one below is in Devon next to the Route 303 Restaurant, courtesy of Instavolt.
Road trips in an EV can be fun! With the ever-rising cost of fuel, an EV is a great way to get around the country cheaply! You may spend some time sitting at a charger waiting as the battery fills up - but if you make sure you make the best of this time you will usually end up discovering something you might never otherwise find!