Top tips for long road trips!
Introducing Mark, Matt, Maddy and James, who recently went on a 458-mile road trip from Wimbledon, London, all the way up to Scotland (and back again)! With half the team in the Polestar 2 and the other half in the BMW iX, this team has plenty to share on EV road trips.
Here are their hot tips on long journeys in EVs.
Let’s get plugged in…
What is the most important piece of advice you can give to anyone planning a long EV road trip?
Maddy: Stay hydrated! Make sure you take a water bottle and keep refilling along the way. Also, good snacks! Especially if you’re sharing the driving, staying energised for your next shift and having something enjoyable to eat along the way is important. Something nutritious and not too heavy is usually best for energy but, let’s be honest, those share-bag crisps look yummy and you’re on holiday! Don’t forget to indulge and enjoy yourself; travelling days are always long and pretty exhausting.
James: Always check out the facilities at service stations on your route! Keep an eye out for coffee places, fast-food and small shops - good for picking up forgotten souvenirs on your way back.
Also, take a look at the speed of the chargers on the Electroverse map and see if it’s worth adjusting your route for faster chargers; it’s nice not to have to wait around.
Matt: Plan ahead! As well as selecting appropriate stops to break up the journey (and for fast charges and food!), make sure your vehicle is in good mechanical condition and ready for a long drive (top-up screen wash, check tyre pressures etc).
Mark: And make sure to use the Electroverse route-planner!!! This was a lifesaver on our longer drives.
What are the best ways to stay alert on an EV road trip?
Mark: I practically lived on Tenzings (a natural energy drink) on our longer journeys! Also, whilst we were driving around Scotland, we were tasked with vlogging our days and this was a fun way of keeping people’s spirits high. I think it would be fun to make a video with your fellow road trippers!
Maddy: If you’re someone who is happy to nap in the car then I’d say go for that - an EV is the perfect place to do it with its quiet drive. However, I’m a bad napper. Instead, we blasted out some music (even more fun in the modern EV with awesome speakers) and shared fun anecdotes. All you need is someone with a great playlist to keep you going!
James: TUNEZZZ, especially those to sing along to! Singing in key is not the aim, in fact, the more out of tune the better!
Matt: Caffeine. Music. Full-stop.
How did you find the different driver styles of people who hadn’t driven EVs for an extended period of time before?
Matt: EVs are very easy to just get in and drive; the power delivery is very smooth, and there are no gears to change! It was interesting to see the preferences of different drivers, with some opting for regenerative/one-pedal driving and others preferring to disable this feature, especially for motorway driving to maintain a consistent speed more easily.
Maddy: Everyone drives differently anyway, but with the power that comes with putting your foot down in an EV… comes great responsibility. I may have gotten a bit of a reputation as ‘the fast one’ in the group, but overall I never felt anyone's driving was particularly bad…
James: Well… interesting! Although generally, in my opinion, we were able to enjoy the drive more than if we were in a manual petrol car.
Mark: In my experience, people struggle more with getting used to a diesel automatic! EVs feel great and people tend to fall in love with them quickly.
What did you find were the benefits/advantages of doing a long journey in an EV?
James: Despite charging time, it's far more relaxing. Driving aids can help ease the strain, with the overall experience feeling much smoother. Even the motorway queues are nicer as it's actually draining less of the battery than you would whilst driving regularly - unlike a petrol car, sitting at 1mph, burning unnecessary fuel.
Matt: Quiet and comfortable. Whilst the charging stops may take extra time, we were never concerned about range! They also ensured we took regular breaks in the journey (as you should in any vehicle), which helped us stay alert.
Mark: In general, charging stops come when you want to stop anyway - so as long as there are free ultra-rapids so you’re not waiting around for too long, it's seamless!
Maddy: Comfort wise I was always happy - as a passenger or a driver. Being a passenger in the BMW was particularly spacious and nice; useful for stashing snacks and spreading out. There are certain settings like cruise control too that made it feel as though the car was driving itself at points, saving your legs on the long journey.
Matt: If charges can’t be combined with meals, there’s some additional waiting around and often food options around chargers aren’t the healthiest. Plus, sometimes, with charge stops and unplanned eventualities, it can be hard to predict a specific ETA at your destination.
James: When I was younger, I remember my parents deciding we didn’t have time to stop - ‘we just need to fill up and go’. You don't have that option in an EV, you typically have to stay for 15-30 mins.
Mark: Range anxiety would have been my concern, however, charging stops tend to come at a natural point in the journey anyway, and there was always a charger on route for us.
Maddy: I thought stopping for charging would be the biggest disadvantage to a road trip in an EV but, when you’re doing such a long journey, it’s actually quite convenient to force yourself to get out, have a stretch, use the bathroom - just overall refresh yourself, and then keep going.
Thinking about taking a road trip in EV? Here are some other helpful blogs to check out:
EV road trip checklist
EV driving stories
Top tips for using public charging network
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