How to Charge Your Electric Car On Road-Trip: Everything You Need to Know

Whether traveling with a group of friends, family, or a significant other, road trips are one of the most treasured pastimes in America. In fact, according to a recent survey conducted by AAA, 79% of families planned a summer road trip back in the year 2017, which is apparently 10% more than the year before.

It is safe to assume that with every passing year, these numbers only tend to grow. But do you know the best part about going on a road-trip in 2021/2022?

Road tripping is now cheaper, easier, safer, and greener with an electric car parked in your driveway!

Since its worldwide evolution in 2021-2022, the government has rolled out more than 16000 electric car charging stations and 44000 charging outlets across the country, making road trips way more convenient.

Electric car charging in street. Ecological Car Connected and Charging Batteries. Girl Use Coffee Drink While Using SmartPhone and Waiting Power Supply Connect to Electric Vehicles for Charging
Electric car charging in street. Electric Vehicles for Charging.

What used to be only about choosing a destination, packing clothes, snacks, drinks and planning activities, you now have the additional task of selecting some electric car charging stop-offs before heading out.

Want to know how to charge your electric car on a road-trip? Read on to find out!

Is Your Electric Car Suitable for Road-Tripping?

Electric cars are the ultimate future of road-tripping! With electric cars growing in terms of battery range and popularity, the question that whether they are suitable for a longer trip or not isn’t a big deal anymore.

Since fueling a car with electricity costs somewhat the same as fueling it with gasoline- but cheaper- it’s never been more practical to take your electric car on a road-trip.

In simpler words, whether you own a Tesla Model 3 comprising a battering range of 300 miles or a 2019 I-Pace that can easily go 230 miles; know that electric car charging is becoming more and more prevalent across the nation, making it easier for you to charge your EV (electric vehicle) during a road trip.

However, before you head out, make sure that you know the following pointers:

  • How long can your electric car go on a single charge?
  • Check the electric car’s battery degradation.
  • Potential limitations.
  • Find a charging route.

Read Are Electric Cars Reliable In Cold Weather?

How to Charge Your Electric Car on Road-Trip?

Taking your first road-trip in an electric car? Don’t sweat it! Compared to gas-powered vehicles, road-tripping with an electric car can be simpler, hassle-free, and more fun.

However, it does require strategic planning and sensible driving skill. Therefore, regardless of the type of electric vehicle you own, here are some pointers to keep in mind when hitting the road in an electric car:

Charge Your Electric Car On Road-Trip
Electric Car on Country Road. Electric Car on Gravel road with trees at sunset

1. Plan the Route for Your Road-Trip around Available Electric Car Charging Stations and Be Mindful of the Range

First thing’s first; when planning a road-trip ensure to opt for a route that meets your charging needs.

With thousands of electric car charging stations located across the nation on multiple expressways and highways, finalize the road-trip route that works best for you. However, suppose you are an electric user.

In that case, you might already know that an electric car’s range is dynamic, which means that it comparatively uses more battery when going up a hill, accelerating quickly, or using climate control.

Keeping this in mind, remember to give your electric car a 10% buffer when looking for nearby charging stations.

In simpler words, in case your electric car charging range is 100-miles, opt for a charging station that’s not more than 90 miles at a distance.

Moreover, opt for fast chargers when on the road as it ensures that you aren’t stuck at a single stop for hours while your car powers up.

Instead, it typically takes only 30 to 40 minutes to charge a car at a direct electric car charging station. Also, using third-party apps or doing some online research will help you decide the ideal road-tripping route.

Read Electric Cars vs Hybrid Cars: A Comparison

2. Know the Different Types of Electric Car Charging Stations

Not all-electric car chargers are the same; in fact, there are three different tiers:

  • Level 01: They are the slowest type of electric car charging system. It typically comprises an adapter for your electric car and a regular wall outlet. Using a level 01 charger normally takes up to 24 hours to get a full charge. In short, level 01 chargers are best for in-home charging as they require the longest time duration. Moreover, you will only get enough charge to drive 50 miles.
  • Level 02: Usually found in commercial spaces or remote areas, a level 02 electric car charging station takes around 8 hours to give you a 100% charge and allows you to drive 28 miles per hour. They are ideal when staying at a hotel, as you can easily get your electric car charged overnight. However, a level 02 charger can be time-consuming and cumbersome when traveling to your destination. 
  • Level 03 | DC Fast Chargers: Ideal for road-tripping, plugging in your electric car at a DC fast charging station will increase your battery level to 80% in just about 30 to 60 minutes. Our advice? Level 03 electric car charging stations are the ideal choice when on a road-trip.

Now that you have complete knowledge of different types of charging stations, opt for the ones that perfectly match your situation.

Talking about the finances, a level 02 electric car charging station will cost you $1 to $5 an hour, whereas a level 03 charging station will cost anywhere between $10 to $30, primarily depending on the electric car’s battery.

To make things further easier for you, we have listed down the number of electric car charging stations and outlets available across the United States. Have a look at the table below:

Electric Car Charging Networks in the United States
NetworkCharging OutletsCharging Stations
SemaCharge Network5,5351,833
EV Connect3,978887
Tesla SuperCharger Network10,6231,074
Electrifying America2,981675

Read Best Electric Car Blankets

Charge an Electric Car On Road-Trip
Woman stands with phone near her electric car and waits when vehicle will charged. Charging of electric car.

Check Solar Electric Car Charger

3. Use Available or Third-Party Apps and Map Out Your Mileage in Advance

In the era of digitalization and smart technology, there are plenty of ways to locate public charging stations when on the road.

From specifically designed apps to built-in electric car advancements, the list is endless. Some popular electric car charging apps are as follows:

  1. PlugShare: The app helps you in finding free and paid electric car charging stations in reference to the type of charging connection, area, and network. You can also pay for your charge through PlugShare and plan road-trips.
  2. EVHotels: This app makes it easier for you to find free electric car charging stations and hotels with EV chargers. However, you can only use EVHotels if you are an iOS user.
  3. Google Maps: Being one of the most popular navigation tools, Google Maps has a special built-in system that lets you estimate your electric car’s battery level on arrival at the destination and helps you select the right electric car charging stations on your road-trip route.
  4. ChargeHub: It’s a public forum, which uses a community of EV owners in helping you locate the closest electric car charging station regardless of the network type.
  5. EVgo: Not only is it an electric car charging network, but EVgo also helps owners find available charging stations in real-time. EVgo also has its own payment process.
  6. Chargeway: Incorporated by different charging networks, Chargeway helps you find electric car charging stations according to your EV type. It also helps you plan road trips by providing you with an estimated charging time and nearby restaurants and shops.
  7. Open Charge: It is the largest crowdsourced map of electric car charging stations globally. Open Charge helps you in finding on-route electric car charging networks regardless of where you are.
  8. Electrifying America: This app makes it easier for you to find all types of Level 02 electric car charging stations across the country. Moreover, if you are a registered member of Electrifying America, the app gives you access to special features and members-only pricing.

Note that these apps will help you plan routes, offer pricing information, locate the stations and even tell you when to plug in. Download an electric car charging app today!

Read How Much Does it Cost to Convert a Car to Electric

4. Opt for Hotels with Electric Car Charging Stations

The biggest concern when going on a road-trip is “where to stay?” If you own an electric vehicle, choose a hotel that has its own electric car charging station.

As these hotels provide you the facility to park your car when done for the day and charge it up overnight.

Some ideal electric car charging hotel destinations include Marriott and Parker Palm Springs.

5. Always Have a Backup Plan

There’s nothing more frustrating than arriving at an electric car charging station only to find that it’s either out of service or preoccupied with a gas-based vehicle.

Not only will this throw you off your schedule, but it can also bring a stop to your road-trip- as your electric car won’t be going anywhere without a charge! Therefore, make sure that you have an electric car charging alternative before leaving your home.

This includes; a charging cord, an extension cord, and an adapter that will allow you to plug into different electric car charging stations.

Though following your road-trip plan should be your priority, at the end of the day, remember that you are going out to relax; therefore, don’t forget to think outside the box and stay flexible!

How to Charge an Electric Car On Road-Trip
How to Charge an Electric Car On Road-Trip

Read What to Do When Your Electric Car Runs Out of Charge?

What to Expect At Rapid Charging Electric Car Charging Stations?

Here’s what to expect when stopping at an electric car charging station for the first time:

1. Availability

When opting for an electric car charging station, you should prioritize whether it’s available or free when you arrive. Since some chargers show their live status, it saves your time and gets you back on the road as soon as possible.

However, know that availability of the ports at an electric car charging station might change when you arrive. Therefore, it’s best to pick a site with several chargers.

Though the facet of electric vehicle monitoring is improving day by day, many electric car charging stations still have only one or two chargers, which means that there’s a high chance that you might have to occasionally wait for your turn.

2. Access Methods

The common payment methods used at electric car charging stations include contactless card readers, apps, RFID cards, and plug-n-play Tesla Superchargers.

Read Disadvantages of Electric Cars: Should You Buy One?

3. Charging Speed and Waiting Time

Your electric car charging time directly depends on two primary factors; how much power your car can accept and the chargers’ amount of power.

Unlike the standard 7kW chargers that exclusively charge 7kW regardless of your battery’s status, an electric car manages that charging rate in order to protect the battery from overcharging and other factors.

It has been observed that charging an electric car from 20% to 80% may be more efficient than charging the battery fully.

As if you arrive at a charging station almost empty, your car will relatively take more time to “warm-up,” as well as the last few kWhs will typically take longer.

Therefore, instead of waiting for your car’s battery to drain out before bringing it to an electric car charging station, get recharged as soon as it falls below 20% to 30%.

Read 15 Facts You Didn’t Know About Electric Cars

Tips to Prepare for Road-Tripping in Your Electric Car

  • Don’t forget to pack your home electric car charger as you might need to use it for an emergency pit-stop or at your destination. Therefore, it’s best to have it stored in your trunk just in case you need to charge your electric car urgently.
  • An electric car works best in between the range of 20% to 80%. Therefore, instead of waiting for your car to charge 100%, get back on the road as soon as it crosses the 80% bar, as this will save your time and the longevity of the battery.
  • Charge your electric car’s battery maximum to 80% for optimum performance on a road-trip.
  • Electric car batteries work better in warmer weather. Therefore, the ideal time for an electric car owner to plan a trip is either in the summer or spring.
  • The way you drive has an impact on the electric car battery’s life. Therefore, in order to ensure that you spend more time on the road and less at an electric car charging station, limit the usage of the heater, air conditioner, technology, and hard braking.

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Wrapping It Up!

Road-tripping in an electric car is definitely different than going on a long trip in a gas-powered car.

In fact, road trips are more enjoyable if you own an electric car because with a little bit of planning and staying updated about the smart ways to charge your electric vehicle, you can make any trip hassle-free and unforgettable!