Planning a road trip in an electric vehicle (EV)? Here are some tips to help make the journey as smooth as possible.
Planning a road trip in an EV requires some pre-planning. Here are some helpful tips to make your journey as smooth as possible.
Are you planning a road trip in your electric vehicle (EV)? Just like with a traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle, it’s important to do some advance planning and preparation. Here are some tips to help make your journey as smooth as possible:
Before you set off on your long-distance journey in an EV, here are some key things you need to check:
- How far your EV can travel and what type of charger it is compatible with.
- Plan your journey to include stops with chargers en route.
- Consider that some chargers might not be available immediately, so factor in some extra time to complete your journey.
Identify charging stations along the way
There are thousands of electric vehicle charging stations across New Zealand. You can usually find them in public areas such as supermarket car parks, shopping malls, campgrounds, and even beaches. Major petrol companies, such as BP, have also installed EV chargers at most of their sites, so finding somewhere to charge your EV is easier than ever.
Here are some handy websites to help you plan your charging station stops on your journey:
Research how much it costs to use a public EV rapid charger
Cost to use public EV rapid chargers vary across New Zealand. Standard chargers are usually free to use, but these can take several hours to get a full charge. Bear in mind too that there might be other drivers waiting to use the charger.
Most rapid charging stations cost about $10 per 100km and the charge time to get to 80% from ‘empty’ is around 20 to 30 minutes, depending on your vehicle.
Payment methods for charging an EV
Payment methods vary, depending on the provider of the public charger, but there are two main ways to pay for charging your EV.
- Debit or credit card. Most public EV charging stations allow drivers to pay wirelessly, similar to how you’d pay for petrol at a self-serve station.
- Some public EV charging stations require you to download an app so you can pay with a registered account.
What to expect at charging stations
When planning which rapid charging locations to stop at during your road trip, you should also consider how likely it is that they will be available immediately you arrive. Some rapid chargers show their live status online, but this can change while you’re driving to the site.
To maximise the chances of having a charger available when you arrive, try and identify sites with numerous chargers, as some sites will only have one or two. If you need a charger urgently, consider that you might need to wait, so be sure to factor in extra time when planning your journey.
Charging speed and wait time
How fast your car charges depends on how much power a charger offers and how much power your car can accept. Different cars’ rapid charging profiles vary, but in general they charge the quickest between 20% and 80%. Getting a full charge can take a long time, so it might be worth charging up to 80% and planning your next stop rather than waiting for a full charge.
Long journeys in an EV are similar to long journeys in an ICE vehicle, so the following tips also apply:
- Take regular breaks. You’ll soon find how well these fit in with en-route charging!
- Stop and take a break when you’re tired. If you can, share the driving.
- Pack plenty of snacks and water. They’ll come in handy, especially if you’re stuck in holiday traffic.
- Stick to the road rules. It’s always better to get to your final destination late than to not get there at all.
- Stay calm and remember that the traffic situation doesn’t improve no matter how angry you get!