How to Plan a Road Trip with an Electric Vehicle

Are you about to embark on an on-land adventure with your electric vehicle?

If you’ve never driven an EV in long stretches before, it can be a bit harrowing to start doing so. From range anxiety to reduced tyre longevity, drivers will have to adjust their driving habits to compensate for this new driving style.

That said, there’s also quite a long list of benefits when driving an EV on the road for long periods. A smoother and quieter ride, as well as reduced carbon emissions, are some of the perks of driving an EV.

But beyond the EV itself, planning a successful road trip takes some careful consideration and proper foresight. You definitely don’t want to end up stranded in the middle of nowhere with a car that has a dead battery.

So, ladies and gentlemen, buckle up! Here’s an eight-point guide to planning a road trip with an electric vehicle.

Determine Your Budget

Just like with any other travel plan, you need to allocate a portion of your money for it. This amount will come from your savings account.

Of course, everyone’s financial situation is different, but you need to ensure that you have enough funds to cover the expected expenses of the trip, and then some. This is the case whether you’re budget travelling or going on an extended luxury holiday.

Once you’ve determined a total budget that fits your needs, break it down into different cost categories. For example, you can allocate 25% of the fund to accommodation, 10% of the fund to activities, 40% to food, and so on.

By systematising your budget, you can gain better control over your road trip and feel a sense of discipline during it. Furthermore, it also ensures that you won’t end the trip financially drained, granted that you planned it that way.

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Assess Your Vehicle

Another important part of planning your road trip is assessing your electric vehicle’s condition. It may have reliably conducted short trips ranging from 50 kilometres or less daily. But for trips ranging over hundreds—if not thousands—of kilometres, that’s a different story.

To tread on the safe side, make the time to manually check various parts of your vehicle to see if they’re all in working condition. For starters, you can take a look at the onboard diagnostics dashboard to see key metrics and your battery’s overall condition. 

But besides that, you should also look at the physical aspects of your vehicle, including the tyre pressure, the frame condition, headlights, windshields, and so on.

If you see anything that’s abnormal or peculiar, you may raise potential issues to a professional EV repair specialist. They can do a deeper dive and diagnose the problem through a more expert lens. 

Getting repair work done not only helps your car remain in good, working condition, but it also grants you peace of mind throughout the trip knowing that your electric car has been cleared by a professional.

Get Insurance

Another thing you have to get before embarking on a road trip is an insurance policy. 

A lot of things can go wrong when you venture out on the wide, open roads. You could end up scratching or denting your EV, expose your car to natural disasters, crash into someone else’s property, and so on.

Australia’s mandatory CTP motor insurance doesn’t cover the cost of repair of vehicles and property that you’ve damaged. You need to get comprehensive car insurance; and since you’re driving an EV, you need the more specific electric vehicle insurance.

This insurance is an EV-specific protection plan that provides coverage for personal liability beyond the normal scope of CTP insurance plans. This coverage extends to damages caused by collisions, natural disasters, petty crimes, and other accidents.

If you don’t have this insurance yet, secure one before you embark on your road trip, especially if you’re venturing into new territory. Should you want to increase the scope of your coverage, you may also get travel insurance to protect you against travel-related incidents.

Plan Your Route With Charging Stations

When embarking on a road trip with an electric vehicle, it’s crucial to have a predetermined set of destinations before you start.

Not only does this make it easier to plan the logistics of the trip, but it also ensures that you don’t end up running out of battery in the middle of nowhere.

As you know, EVs are powered by a main battery cell, and there is not a whole lot of fast-battery charging infrastructure out in public spaces, particularly when compared to service stations. This is especially true the farther out you venture from the city.

Having said that, there is still a grid of charging stations that are well-positioned to give EV drivers a much-needed boost. 

Use EV charging station navigation apps like PlugShare to help you find and plot high-speed charging stations along your main route. Also, check for alternative EV-charging backup spots as last-resort options.

Monitor The Weather and Road Conditions

Before venturing out on the road trip, keep an eye out for the weather and road conditions. 

Electric vehicles are quite sensitive to weather of both extremities, so be sure to drive it only during temperate conditions. You can use the weather app on your phone to know the day’s forecast and make route changes accordingly.

Furthermore, ensure that the roads you’re driving on are also suitable to pass. Some roads may be undergoing construction or delays or are too rugged for your EV to pass. Proper preparation and research ensure that you won’t get stuck in any unwanted situation. 

Make A Packing Checklist

Another essential task you should do before hitting the road is to make a packing checklist. Ensure that you’re bringing enough for the amount of days you’ll be out on the road. 

Here’s a basic packing list that you can consider for your next road trip:

  • EV charging equipment: Portable EV charger, charging adapters, extension cords.
  • Emergency kit: First-aid kit, flashlight, tyre repair kit, toolbox.
  • Personal essentials: Clothing, footwear, medication, toiletries, sunglasses, hats. 
  • Travel necessities: Travel documents, power banks, GPS devices, snacks, beverages, and a cooler.
  • Entertainment: Books, deck of cards, tablets, board games.

These items all play a role in allowing you to have a smooth and enjoyable road trip.

4x4 iceland road trip

Book Accommodation Beforehand

Another road trip tip you should consider is to book accommodations in advance. If you’re entering a town or landmark with a slow charging port, you’re likely going to end up staying in town overnight. 

Instead of staying in the car, book a hotel room for comfort. You’ll definitely need that moment of comfortable rest to wipe away your driving fatigue.

Ideally, you should book accommodations that are cancellable. This way, you can still be flexible during your trip in case you want to make any last-minute adjustments. That said, booking in advance can help you save money, so be sure to take advantage of that as well.

Familiarise Yourself With Efficient EV Driving Habits

Driving an EV and driving a gas car may seem similar at a glance, but there are key differences in the experience. Familiarise yourself with the best EV driving methods before embarking on a major road trip.

Firstly, refrain from rapidly accelerating your vehicle. This can lower the range of your battery much quicker. Keep it moderate and steady. Secondly, utilise your EV’s regenerative braking system. This can make your driving more efficient, which can also help extend your driving range.

If the outside air is cool and comfortable, reduce using your temperature control system to improve battery. Lastly, always keep an eye on your vehicle’s battery. Its range won’t always be pinpoint accurate, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.

By practising these tips, you can maximise your vehicle’s efficiency. This, in turn, can help you achieve a hassle-free and fun adventure.

Enjoy your upcoming road trip!