Electric vehicles are no longer limited to cities and around the home as the DC fast charging infrastructure is developing quickly. So let’s talk about some tips about road tripping in electric cars, especially Tesla road trip tips.
Tips When Charging On the Road
First and foremost, let’s talk about how to charge your electric cars on the road because we know you don’t want to run out of juice and get stuck on the side of the road.
There are two groups of electric cars, Tesla and non-Tesla vehicles.
Tesla Road Trip Tips
As everyone knows, Tesla has an unparalleled supercharging network for its customers.
The charging process is super easy: effortlessly plug and charge. You just plug the charging cable into your car and then start to charge.
The charging speed is phenomenal. The peak charging speed can reach 150KW for V2 Superchargers, and 250KW for V3 Supercharges.
Besides Tesla superchargers, Tesla vehicle owners can also use other DC charging stations such as Electrify America and EVgo.
However, you will need an adapter to charge at third-party DC fast-charging stations, and the charging speed usually is not as fast as that of Tesla superchargers.
Non-Tesla Road Trip Tips
The most commonly used connectors for non-Tesla vehicles are CCS 1 and CHAdeMO connectors.
For all non-Tesla vehicles, you would want to do trip planning before you start your journey. Although most of the electric cars have CCS 1 port now for DC fast charging, there are still some older models that have CHAdeMO ports.
So research what kind of connector the charging stations offer so that you won’t show up at these charging stations and find out you cannot charge your car!
Tesla vehicles can charge at non-Tesla supercharger DC charging stations with an adapter, but it doesn’t work the other way around.
The reason is that charging your EV is not like putting gas in your tank with internal combustion engine-powered vehicles.
The DC charging stations will have to communicate with your cars’ on-board computers to exchange information such as VIN and see if they can charge your car.
When Tesla super-chargers find out it is not a Tesla vehicle, it won’t charge your car.
Another small tip for charging at these DC fast-charging stations for electric vehicle owners is always leaving at least a 10% buffer between your planned charging stops. Because sometimes, these chargers could be tricky to get to work, and you have to find another one when things go wrong.
But these issues are being solved quickly as EV manufactures are building strategic partnerships with DC fast charging infrastructure providers so that more stable charging services could be provided.
How To Make Charging Sessions More Efficiently
When you do your trip planning, you will need to decide when to charge your car and how much juice you want to put into your car.
As you drive your cars more, you will have a better understanding of the highway range of your electric vehicles. Unlike gasoline-powered cars, electric cars tend to be less efficient at high-speed driving.
When you plug your destination into your cars’ navigation system, it usually tells you the state of charge(SOC) when you arrive at your destination.
So you will need to make sure your SOC will be at least 10% when you arrive.
Make sure when unexpected events happen along the trip, you still have enough juice to reach your destinations.
EVs have different charging curves, but commonly they tend to charge faster at low SOC. The charging power tappers down as your battery becomes fully charged.
It would take much more time when you charge up the last 10% of your battery. So the part of your battery that you are really using on your trip is 10-90% of your battery pack. Therefore, plan smart!
Charging Where You Stay For the Night
Charging your car while staying for the night. You can use a 110-Volt power outlet to charge your vehicle. Every EV comes with a 110-Volt charging cable when you purchase it. But this is the last resort.
If you are staying in a hotel, call them ahead to see if they offer Level 2 charging stations for electric vehicles or see if they are one of many Tesla destination charging partners.
Tesla owners will have to purchase a J1772 to Tesla adapter for non-Tesla wall connector Level 2 chargers.
If you are not driving a Tesla electric vehicle, you can also charge at Tesla destination chargers.
Yes, you heard me right. You can charge your electric cars at a Tesla destination charger by using an adapter!
If the hotel owner allows, you can take advantage of Tesla destination chargers (high-power Level 2 AC chargers).
If you are staying at your friend’s or relative’s house, see if they have 240 -volt power outlets. You can simply use a third-party charging cable with a NEMA 14-50 plug to charge up your car at 240 volts. It is a much faster way.
If they have a Tesla wall connector, that would be perect to charge your any Telsa vheicle.
If none of the condition applies, you will have to plan your charging sessions to make sure you have enough juice to reach your destinations next day.
But since the DC fast charging infrastructure has been growing quickly, it would be easier to plan your charging sessions in the future.
What Is Affecting the Efficiency Of Your Car?
The range or the efficiency of your electric vehicle depends on many things. Here are several things that you should keep in mind when you are trying to estimate your highway range.
1. How many people and how much cargo are you putting into your vehicle during a road trip?
Fully loaded and just you sitting in the driver’s seat can make a 10-50 wh per mile of efficiency difference.
2. Are there any elevation changes along your trip?
Climbing will add around 50 more wh per mile of energy cost.
3. Is it going to be sunny all the way, or is it going to rain pretty heavily?
If you are driving with a headwind or on a rainy day, the friction to your car is larger, which could also add around 30 wh per mile to your energy consumption.
I am driving a 2021 Tesla model 3 performance, and the following data is just for this car only because different cars may have different battery management system set up and drag coefficients.
When I was driving with 3 adults on board and 3 mid-size suitcases loaded into my car, I had around 250 wh per mile by driving at 72 miles per hour with no elevation changes.
But when it was raining, the number climbed up to around 300 wh per mile. So you can see that the weather did a pretty significant hit on my efficiency.
The most crucial factor that will affect your efficiency is your driving speed. Cruising at 70 or 80 miles an hour could result in around 80 wh per mile of efficiency difference. And that is why your car will suggest that you limit your speed below 70 MPH or sometimes even 60 MPH to reach your destination when pushing the car through long stretches between charges.