EV Road Trip 101: EV Tips from Stearns Electric Member-Owners

Although this will be our first time driving an electric vehicle, no less driving cross-country in an electric vehicle, we are obviously not the first to embark on such a journey.

To help us plan our trip, we reached out to connections of our own! Mark and Kathleen Bernick are member-owners of Stearns Electric Association who own their Tesla, a Model X (insert drool face here). They provided us with the top things to know about driving EVs to help us prepare for our trip:

  1. Plot your trip using an online trip planner like evtripplanner.com. This site provides a useful tool for calculating your range, factoring in items that can affect it like:
    Speed – the faster you drive, the shorter the range.
              Temperature – both internal and external (even parking your car outside in                 cold weather can reduce the range).
              Wind – a strong headwind will reduce range, while a strong tailwind will                       increase it. Even a side wind will have a negative impact.
              Weight – a heavy payload or a trailer will reduce range; items on a luggage                     rack will increase drag and reduce range. 
  2. Find out which hotels/motels offer overnight EV charging along the route.
  3. Dine at restaurants that offer EV charging while you eat. It may only provide 1-2% charge, but that can ease your “range anxiety.”
  4. Look for unconventional charge options. Some RV parks will allow you to charge for a fee and provide a high amperage charge.
  5. Upload an app to your phone, like PlugShare, to help you locate chargers on the route. PlugShare includes information about the type of charger, hours of operation, fees, if any, as well as tips from other users.
  6. Consider a membership in a service like chargepoint.com that allows you to pay for a charge with a mobile app.
  7. Invest in additional adapters (test them before you leave,) ranging from 110 volts to NEMA 1450 amp. Reviewing the information on PlugShare before you leave will help you determine what adapters are needed.
  8. Monitor your usage as you are driving to be sure you can arrive at your next destination with charge to spare. Make adjustments in speed and car temperature as needed to extend your range.

Kathleen maintains her own blog, documenting their travel experiences. Read more about her stories on her blog, KCBontheroad.

We’ll be sharing more of the Bernick’s EV driving experiences and involvement with Stearns Electric’s ChargeWise Program that allows them to charge their vehicle at home over night at discounted energy rate while we are on the road. So stay tuned!

In the meantime, before we head out on our adventure we are most thankful for the advice from our local EV owners!

Kathleen Bernick shares her family’s EV travel experiences on her blog kcbontheroad.com.
Mark Bernick sits in the driver’s seat of his Tesla Model X.

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