An Electrifying Journey: Lessons Learned
While I usually focus on topics surrounding idem, Python programming, and technology in general, I decided to take a detour this time. Over the weekend, we ventured on our first long-distance road trip with an electric vehicle (EV), and the experience was both enlightening and challenging. This post aims to arm you with key insights to make your own EV road trip smoother and less stressful.
Pre-Trip Preparations: App Familiarity
Before you embark on your journey, take some time to familiarize yourself with the apps that offer charging station locations and functionality. In my experience traveling through the Midwest, ElectrifyAmerica was indispensable. Understanding the ecosystem of apps in your specific location can save you from unnecessary roadblocks and anxiety during your trip.
Know Your Plug Types
An often-overlooked detail is the plug type compatible with your vehicle. Apps like PlugShare or Waze offer filters to search for charging stations based on plug types. Some apps will automatically filter for plug types based on your car model. This is essential information to have at your fingertips.
The Charging Station Landscape
During a long road trip, it is crucial to look for all charging stations along your route, not just the available ones. In areas with sparse fast-charging options, you may need to wait 20-30 minutes to access a charger. In a big city that's not a problem, but in the desert you need to keep all your options open. Planning ahead will ensure you don't find yourself stranded.
The Utility of RV Parks
RV parks can serve as emergency slow-charging points. As you plan your trip, make note of these parks as backup options. If time permits on your journey, these can also make a nice place to stop and rest for the night on your trip.
If your route includes large gaps between fast charging stations, packing light becomes vital. Reducing the weight your vehicle needs to carry will extend your range, offering more flexibility in terms of charging options.
Frequent changes in speed can deplete your battery faster than you may think. In areas where charging stations are scarce, every bit of saved energy counts. Be mindful of this as you drive.
Battery Backup and Solar Options
Portable chargers like the Anker power station can provide an additional 20 miles in extreme circumstances. In the event of dire need, solar panels can also serve as a renewable charging method if you are willing to halt your journey completely and camp on the side of the road.
While EV road trips can be cost-effective, they often require a greater time investment due to charging durations. Plan accordingly, and perhaps bring along reading material for those charging intervals.
Prioritize Fast Charging
Though slow chargers may work well for overnight home use, they are not practical for long-distance travel. Always prioritize fast charging stations to make the most of your time.
Route Planning and Emergency Preparedness
Always ensure the distance to the next fast charger is within your vehicle’s remaining range. If your battery starts running low, begin preparing for an emergency stop.
Social Aspects of EV Travel
One unexpected perk of the journey was the community atmosphere at fast charging stations. Since we are all sitting around for half an hour to an hour waiting for our cars to charge, people often engage in conversation. Every fast charging station i encountered on this trip was near a place where you could sit down and relax.
Though venturing on a long-distance trip with an electric vehicle presents its own set of challenges, thorough preparation can greatly alleviate them. From understanding the technology to smart planning and driving habits, each aspect plays a critical role in ensuring a smooth journey. I hope these insights prove valuable in your own electric adventures!