Plug-in road trips across America, part 2
08.30.2018 - by Noah Barnes
Plug-in road trips across America, part 2

We all know that plug-in vehicles are great for daily commutes, but are EVs a viable option for those who want to hit the road and see America? We asked EV drivers to submit their road trip stories and were overwhelmed by the response! Below are just a few of the many amazing trips that Plug In America supporters have taken.


I did my first longer road trip from Bellingham, WA to Astoria, OR in my 2018 LEAF with pleasant results. Made it from Bellingham to Olympia on a single charge with no traffic, then after a visit with a friend and charge to 100%, I made it to Astoria, gaining some regen in the last bit of I-5 to Hwy 30 before arriving. The July 4 holiday made it the most relaxing drive I’ve had in the Pacific Northwest in a long time. Astoria Transit Center has a very nicely located AV fast charger (free Nissan EZ Charge at the AV) with plenty of things nearby to walk to including my stay at Clementine’s B&B and eateries. To Olympia: Top speed: 65 w/ProPilot, ECO: on, A/C: auto 72 deg, miles driven: 148.6, miles left on display: 13, Battery end: 6%, display E-con: 4.7 / To Astoria: Top speed: 65 w/ProPilot, ECO: on, A/C: auto 72 deg, miles driven: 119.5, miles left on display: 20, Battery end: 10%, display E-con: 4.0 My ride home had more typical traffic so I decided to do 2 shorter 40 min fast-charges to break it up.

–Peto Gerth


Kalamazoo, MI to St. Louis, MO and back in a Chevy Bolt, July 2018. 425 miles in 9.5 hours each way. There is barely enough DC fast charging in this area to make this trip feasible. I used an EVgo at the Lincoln Tollway oasis on I-80 skirting Chicago, and a very accommodating Chevy dealer in a small town between I-55 and I-57 (Petersen Chevrolet in Fairbury, IL). The latter charger was slower (~20 kW) but I was able to use it for free because I was driving a Chevy (even outside normal business hours). I was able to manage the trip at normal speed on Interstate highways, with plenty of cushion. Longest stretch was 203 miles. Drafting trucks helped, but I could still make it easily even in cooler weather, say 50s Fahrenheit at least. However, there is no DCQC backup; if either unit had been unavailable for any reason, it would have meant a significant delay. We still need more fast charging in the Midwest!

–Paul Pancella


We left June 17 and returned home on August 4, 2016. During that 48 days we had a great adventure. We went to a family wedding. We went to four national parks: Mesa Verde Arches, Canyonlands and Yellowstone. We camped in six different locations; three of which were near the national parks. The other camping spots were close to the two national forests that we visited to see Mt. Hood and Mt. Rainier. We made sure when we camped we had electricity. We needed it for our queen size air bed and to charge up Dorothy overnight. We also took an unplanned side trip to Mt. Rushmore. We started in Little Rock Arkansas. We visited the states of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Utah, Oregon, Washington, Idaho,Wyoming, South Dakota, Colorado, Kansas and Missouri. Our trip was in 2016. There are many more Superchargers and destinations chargers to help with your travels now #7875miles #nogas

–John Mills


I recently took a short road trip to attend a conference in Santa Barbara. My trip originated in Yorba Linda, CA in a Kia Soul with a 90 mile range. This was more than enough to get me as far as the Outlets in Camarillo where I plugged into an EVgo Level 3 fast charger for a half hour. This gave us ample time to get a quick bite and do some shopping while the vehicle charged. With a renewed range of 75 miles, the 37 miles to Santa Barbara were free of range anxiety. I was able to charge at UCSB and on the return trip we made it as far as the Calabasas Civic Center, which has several restaurants just a short walk away. The 80 miles we gained on that charge was enough to not only drive to my home in Yorba Linda, but also make it all the way back to UC Irvine the next day without a worry. Traveling with an 80 or 90 mile range vehicle is doable even in the summer months with the a/c on, when just a little planning for rest, fun, shopping and eating is combined into the trip.

–Saul Valdez


This summer I rode my electric motorcycle from New York City to Florida. This is the sixth summer in a row I will travel over 4,000 miles on my Zero SR. It’s fun seeing friends at charging stops that I have met over the years. Riding down the Blue Ridge Parkway on a nearly silent vehicle is he feeling like none other! For more information about the trip check out my Facebook page Ben Rich – Electric Biker, or YouTube channel @Benswing.

–Ben Rich


Last August, my wife, my son, and I took my Tesla Model X from the San Francisco Bay Area up to Oregon for the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse. We used Tesla Superchargers for all charging in both directions. The trip north was done over two easy days, spending the night in a motel in Redding, CA. The trip back was done in a single long day. The only glitch was that the Superchargers in Mt. Shasta were over-crowded on the drive home, and we had to wait quite some time in the nearby hotel coffee shop. But on a shorter trip this summer, I again visited the Mt. Shasta Superchargers, and Tesla had expanded them from 4 a year ago to about 24 (I lost count) this year.

–Robert Jardine

3 comments on “Plug-in road trips across America, part 2”
  1. Robert says:

    Marc,
    I’ve done a ton of EV road trips in my 2014 Chevy Spark EV. Tools: portable EVSE (recommend JESLA, includes adapters); long extension cord (recommend JLong); adapters (you’ll need to be able to plug-in to a variety of sources; most likely your EV came with an EVSE that is 120V capable-only. You’ll need an EVSE that can utilize a 240V service (see JESLA above). Don’t forget adapters for RV hookups, dryer plugs, etc.)

    Apps: Plugshare is by far the best. It now includes a TripPlanner feature! Yay! Other apps: Google Maps, Apple Maps, RVParky. There are more apps for EV trip planning, but Plugshare is the go-to app.

    Availability: Yes, for non-Teslas, this is a concern. Rare times I’ve experienced a broken DCFC station. Fallback is another DCFC nearby (getting better but still not likely) or L2 (much more likely) like a public L2 station or an RV park. Last resort: overnight in a hotel. I’ve done that more than a few times, both planned and unplanned. Plug-in to a 120V outlet on the hotel grounds, by morning I’ve got enough juice to get to my next waypoint.

    Join *all* of the charging networks! They’re free, it just takes time to do so, but do it!
    The new Electrify America network uses a credit card.
    I’ve never had to stop at a stranger’s house to charge. Ever.
    Good luck!

  2. Frank Snitz says:

    Seems to me that plug-in drivers face a constant tension over driving range of their vehicle. I own one of those notorious VW diesels (mine is compliant with NOx emission rules). My highway mileage is ~45 mpg, competitive with a Prius. Highway driving range between fills can be 600 miles. I’m keeping this car.

  3. Marc Fontana says:

    Reading about road trips in an EV is motivating me try to do the same in the future. I’m curious what accessories/tools/apps folks use in preparing for their EV treks. How often is the charging resource you had planned on using available? Do you have a plan B for when that charging location isn’t viable? Is it necessary to join all of the charging networks or is there opportunity to use any charging facility as needed by using a credit card. How often have you relied on the kindness of strangers (private home charging) to get you back on the road. Charging infrastructure makes it a challenge to reach some destinations still and will for a while…

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