The Key to a Successful EV Road Trip — Overnight Charging

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Over the previous three summers, our household of 4 has pushed round 12,000 miles, throughout 20+ states, on our now annual electrical automobile street journey. 

After many days on the street, we are able to confidently say that one of the crucial vital methods (if not essentially the most) for a profitable multi-day, multi-state EV journey is to cost your automobile in a single day wherever you’re staying. This may appear apparent, nevertheless it’s sufficient of a change in journey planning in comparison with gas-fueled street journeys of the previous, that it deserves its personal put up. 

In a single day EV street journey charging typically means plugging right into a Degree 2, 240-volt outlet or charging station. Trickle charging at a 120-volt outlet is nice when you get to your vacation spot and plan to remain a few days, nevertheless it doubtless gained’t present the identical advantages as Degree 2 if you’re hitting the street day after day on a protracted journey.

Charging in a single day in Nebraska on a 2021 cross nation EV street journey. Photograph by Joe Wachunas.

Why is In a single day Charging Essential?

The apparent fantastic thing about in a single day charging is that your battery fills up whilst you’re sleeping. It saves 20–half-hour at a quick charging station the subsequent day. If you happen to’re doing a full day of driving, this usually means two charging stops as an alternative of three. It additionally means that you can hit the street with a full battery so your first cease is 2–3 hours into the drive slightly than a couple of minutes after you permit your lodging.

An in a single day cost fills your battery to 100%, whereas a quick charger probably will get you to someplace round 80% (since charging slows considerably after 80%, drivers usually don’t waste the time on the remaining 20%). 

In a single day charging can also be nearly at all times free and thus saves cash on gas. It’s not unusual for us to cost 50 kWh at an in a single day charger, which might price greater than $20 at a Tesla Supercharger. In a single day street journey charging can thus minimize your fueling bills by as much as a 3rd. 

Lastly, in a single day charging means that you can enterprise to the now uncommon locations which may not have conveniently situated quick chargers. There are nonetheless some quick charging deserts on the market (although, they’re shortly disappearing), and in the event you plan to remain someplace with in a single day charging, you possibly can nonetheless go off the overwhelmed path and never fear about having a Degree 3 charger close by.

Woke as much as a full battery after charging in a single day within the Grand Canyon. Photograph by Joe Wachunas.

Find out how to Discover In a single day Charging

In a single day charging does require a bit extra planning, however you’ll make up that point with a sooner, smoother EV street journey. We depend on a mix of Tesla’s destination charging map, Airbnb’s EV charger filter, and PlugShare.

Tesla’s destination charging map is a incredible useful resource for the 60% of US EV drivers with a Tesla (and shortly for the many additional vehicles transferring to Tesla’s NACS charging customary). It lists all of the lodges and mattress and breakfasts with Tesla Degree 2 vacation spot chargers in darkish grey.

Tesla charger map exhibiting quick charging in pink and vacation spot charging at lodges in darkish gray.

On this summer season’s street journey from Washington, DC, to South Carolina, we scanned the map and located a High quality Inn en route. We deliberate our resort particularly primarily based on charging entry. Clicking on the map’s darkish grey electrical bolt confirmed three Tesla vacation spot chargers at a resort off the freeway, making us assured there would doubtless be one accessible for our use. There’s nothing like the sensation of pulling right into a resort with lower than 20% battery and plugging right into a charger figuring out we’ll get up with a full cost without cost. 

Airbnb not too long ago added an EV charging filter that permits company to seek for a rental that may present your automobile with some candy electrons whilst you sleep. However it’s not the best filter to seek out — click on on the filters button after which, beneath “Facilities,” click on “present extra” to seek out it.

Buried in Airbnb’s Facilities filter is the EV charger button.

On a cross-country, southern street journey in 2021, we drove from Fort Price, Texas, to Carlsbad, New Mexico, the place there have been zero quick charging choices at our vacation spot on the time. However due to the Airbnb filter, we stayed in an residence with a 240-volt outlet that gave us 300 miles of vary by morning and allowed us to go to Carlsbad Caverns Nationwide Park and attain our subsequent quick charger far down the street. We provide our residence’s 240-volt charger as a part of our Airbnb rental and simply had our first visitor request to make use of it. (Hosts, take notice: because the EV revolution positive factors steam, you’ll have a aggressive benefit in the event you supply EV charging.)

Lastly, we additionally use the PlugShare app to seek out different Degree 2 charging choices close to lodges and Airbnbs that don’t supply charging. PlugShare provides lots of useful info, together with the fee to cost a automobile and a score system so you know the way doubtless chargers are to work or to be free. In Boise, Idaho, for instance, PlugShare led us to an extremely beneficiant automobile restore store, inside two blocks of our Airbnb, that had 4 chargers for most of the people. In Savannah, Georgia, we discovered a city-owned parking storage the place we may cost in a single day for the $10 parking payment. In Springfield, Illinois, we discovered a extremely rated auto physique store that once more kindly let EV voyagers cost free of charge. On the Oregon coast, we stayed at a Glamping resort that had Degree-2 Rivian chargers at a speedy 12 kW per hour.

On the Oregon coast having fun with our first use of a Rivian charger. Photograph by Joe Wachunas.

For the few journey nights we haven’t stayed in a spot with in a single day charging, the subsequent day’s drive was tougher. The automobile battery was chilly within the morning and didn’t have time for Tesla’s automated “preconditioning,” which meant it charged at half the velocity.

As EVs start to take over, Degree 2 charging will turn into customary in properties, residences, and lodges, which is able to make in a single day charging and EV street journeys even simpler. However till we arrive within the promised land of ubiquitous EV charging, take it from us: In your subsequent EV street journey, be sure to remain in locations the place you possibly can cost whilst you sleep! You’ll journey farther and sooner and spend much less cash on clear, electrical gas.

This text is a part of a collection referred to as Decarbonize Your Life. With modest steps and a middle-class earnings, our household has dramatically decreased emissions and is sequestering what stays by way of a small reforestation mission. Our life is healthier for it. If we are able to do it, you possibly can too.


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