How to Road Trip with Electric Vehicles: Plan Your Travel Route

You want to go on a road trip, but you’re concerned. Will your electric vehicle be able to make the trip?

Electric vehicles are the future of the automotive industry. They release fewer emissions and don’t require fossil fuels to run. The only problem is that they do not seem effective for long-distance travelling. Electric vehicles require charging and often travel a shorter distance than traditional vehicles. Range anxiety is the fear your vehicle will not reach its destination and is a real problem for electric vehicle drivers.

But range anxiety doesn’t need to stop you from road tripping in your electric vehicle. By planning your route and taking advantage of all the charging opportunities around you, road trips with electric vehicles become much less daunting.

Understanding Charger Levels

Before you even begin planning your travel route, you need to understand the three different charger levels for electric vehicles.

Level 1 chargers come with electric vehicles. They can be plugged into a standard wall outlet of 120 volts and charge 7-9 km of range an hour. While useful for local drives, this type of charging is inefficient for road trips.

Level 2 charging stations use a 240-volt outlet and add around 30 km of range per hour. Often known as destination charging stations, they are most useful when you’re staying somewhere for several hours. (These charging stations can also be installed in your home for more efficient charging.) All electric vehicles in North America can use these chargers, making them very convenient.

Level 3 consists of direct current fast chargers which, as the name suggests, charge your vehicle quickly. They use a 480-volt system and can add up to 250 km of range per hour. In most cases, fast chargers charge your battery up to 80% in half an hour. On road trips, fast charging will be your most efficient way to regain energy, as long as it’s compatible with your vehicle. Most electric vehicles feature compatibility with fast charging, but always check before planning to rely on fast chargers when travelling.

Level 3 Plug Standards

Another important thing to understand about electric vehicle chargers and fast charging is plug compatibility. As mentioned earlier, level 2 charging plugs are compatible with all electric vehicles in North America, including Tesla vehicles, which come with an adapter. This is not the case for fast charging.

Fast chargers have three different plugs that are only compatible with themselves. The most common types are SAE-Combo and CHAdeMO. Fortunately, most level 3 charging stations include both options for convenience, but know what plug you’ll need before arriving at the fast charging station.

The third plug type is the supercharger, unique to Tesla. Superchargers work the same as fast chargers, though. If you own a Tesla, you will need to plan to find supercharger stations, not fast charging stations. Right now, only Tesla vehicles can charge at supercharger stations, but Tesla is looking into opening up supercharging for all.

Plan Your Route

Tesla Charging Station

Despite there being over 5,000 electric vehicle charging stations in Canada, locating the charging stations in Ontario or other parts of Canada can be difficult. Luckily, downloading an app will help you find stations along your road trip. Both PlugShare and ChargeHub are great tools that will help you locate charging stations and plan your route.

Road Trip Ready

Before going on your next road trip, take a moment to sit down and plan your route on an app. Find level 2 charging stations near hotels so you can charge your vehicle overnight, and locate some fast chargers along your way so you can take quick charging breaks. With effective route planning, range anxiety melts away, making road trips with electric vehicles stress free and fun. So next time you’re thinking of going road tripping, get yourself road trip ready and plan your electric vehicle route!