With summer around the corner, EV drivers across America will soon be taking to the roads in droves to head out on warm weather road trips. Taking a road trip in an electric car can be a much superior experience to a gas car—if you know what steps to take. Whether it’s a day trip out to a scenic location or a full on cross-country trek, here are a few tips and tricks for your EV road trip.
Here’s a simple tip: check your tire pressure before you head out on your trip. An easy way to eek out a little bit more range is to slightly over-inflate your EV’s tires, so if the recommended PSI is 35, bump it up a little bit to 38 or 39. Keep in mind that, as you drive, your PSI will increase as the air in your tires heats up and expands; driving in hot weather will also increase your PSI.
Slow is smooth, smooth is fast
We all want to get to our destinations as fast as possible, but speeding in an EV is not the way. For one, going over the speed limit is dangerous and illegal; moreover, going faster can actually slow down your whole trip, since your EV needs exponentially more energy to sustain a higher speed. So while all that instant torque and EV power might make it tempting to put the pedal to the metal and fly down the highway at 85+ miles per hour, stick to the speed limit instead. You’ll get the highest range possible and will be able to charge less often. Remember, charging can take a little bit of time, so sprinting between charging stations can actually take longer than cruising along at the speed limit.
Charge up! Just not all the way
When you do hit a charging station, be strategic about your charging. The bottom part of an electric car’s battery charges faster than the top part, so there’s not much point in charging past 80% if you can comfortably make it to the next charger. Getting that extra 20% might be tempting, but it will take much longer to top off your battery, extending your trip time unnecessarily. It’s best to keep your battery within the 30% to 80% range when on a long trip. The battery charges most efficiently between these two numbers, and any charging above (or below) is less efficient. For optimal results, try to take this into consideration when planning your route.
See more EV road trip tips in part 2 >>
Photo Credit: John Gotsch
7 comments on “Tips for your summer EV road trip, part 1”
As much as I love my two EV’s taking a road trip in one is just stupid.
Be informed that Rafael de Mestre – the man who crossed east – west US in 2012 with his Tesla Roadster in the frame of his epic 80edays around the world race will be in US in July 2019 to test the new route for 2020 trying to reach the Bering street.
The tip to increase tire pressure 3-4 psi over what is recommended by the manufacturer should be done with caution to avoid overinflation. The reference starting point should be cold tires with moderate ambient temperature of around 70F. Each 10F increase in the air inside the tire adds about 1 PSI. For example, if the recommended tire pressure is 38psi and that is raised to 42 PSI when the tire is cold then driven in 90 F weather a few hours, the pressure might increase another 3 -4 PSI to 46 PSI. A watch out would be to make sure this does not get above the maximum tire pressure on the sidewall. Also, such high pressure may cause premature center line wear which can lead to needing to replace your tires sooner. Handling and ride quality may also be impacted.
My recommendation would be to stick with the the air pressure established by the vehicle manufacturer and checking it weekly after the car has sat overnight to make sure it never drops below that level.
Camping in the car option: Teslas now have “Dog Mode” and th3eir screen turns into a fireplace. The former allows you to sleep in the car (like a dog) and the climate control will keep you cool/warm and ventilated, even with the windows closed. The second adds ambiance for the careen. It is hard to see the stars through the tinted glass roof, but you can see the moon. Needless to say, you would not want to run your ICE all night.
The speed limit for safety makes the most sense. If you can Supercharge, then charging time is not so important. More important is taking intermissions for both enjoyment and safety. It’s the journey and the destination.
Good, practical advice. Thanks.