Having successfully completed my first long distance road trip in an electric vehicle, here’s some of my thoughts and lessons learned.
First and foremost, it is 100% possible and doable to make long road trips in an EV, there is a reasonably good and functional network of fast charging stations available for all EV makes and model besides Tesla. The caveat to that statement is that the network still needs work, it needs more stations, especially off of major highways and state turnpikes. When you start getting in to rural areas finding a high speed charger is touch and go. Of course with the continued roll out of stations from Electrify America, and in particular their deal with Walmart, this problem should be mostly solved in the next year or two. There’s something like 4,700 Walmarts across the US, if Electrify America installs units at only half of all those locations then we’re good.
Not all electric vehicle charging stations are created equally, be mindful of what the power supply is, how many kilowatts the station can deliver. A 50 KW station is going to charge, from empty to full, a 100 KW battery in two hours. A 150 KW station will do it in 40 minutes. Considering that you’ll almost never pull in for a charging stop close to empty, a 150 kw station or better will probably get you where you need to go after a 20 minute charge.
Doing a little advanced research on your route is a good idea. Know where your EV charging stations are, and know where a backup station is incase your first choice doesn’t work for some reason, although to be honest both EVgo and Electrify America had great customer service and when I couldn’t get the station to engage and had to call in, the customer service representative did a manual start and got it going really fast with no problems.
If at all possible you need to avoid level 2 chargers on road trips, they cannot charge your battery fast enough, they’re good for topping up in a worst case scenario and obviously they’re good if you need to stop over night and charge.