This Is The Summer to Take That Great American EV Road Trip

Road trips are an integral part of United States culture that have been immortalized in novels, films, and songs. The stories may be different, but there's one thing they all share: the ongoing popularity of the American road trip reflects a worldwide yearning for freedom through travel.

But with the high prices of gas and shortage of rental cars across the country cramping the style of would-be road trippers, there is no better way to see the country than in an electric vehicle.

The Spirit of Adventure Prevails

For centuries, Americans have taken advantage of road trips by hopping into gas-powered cars without having any worries about refueling. When you travel by electric car, the same rules don't always apply. The fear of running out of power before reaching a destination or recharging is known as “range anxiety.”

However, according to the latest EY Mobility Consumer Index (MCI), EV owners are not as worried about range anxiety or EV chargers. Only 27% of EV owners were concerned about chargings infrastructure, compared to 36% of those currently without an EV. This is because the new generation of EVs has a longer range meaning fewer charging stops.

Roadtripping in an electric vehicle requires researching in advance and identifying charging stops. With so much more preparation necessary, it may appear like traveling in an EV would take away the spirit of adventure that comes with driving across the United States.

But that's not the case. In fact, for some, the planning and problem-solving required to take an EV road trip can be part of the fun.

“There's definitely a bit more of an adventure to it,” said Andrew Karpiak, a realtor who logs a large number of miles on his Tesla Model X. “I think people who are really interested in EVs and road-tripping in them will enjoy that planning aspect and turn those charging stops into opportunities to explore.”

But Are Charging Stations Fast Enough?

When you consider the number of charging stations nationwide, it's clear that we're making progress. For example, in 2021, there were 50,054 public charging stations—a 58% increase from 2020 and an astonishing three times faster growth than numbers from 2019 to 2020, according to the Alternative Fuels Data Center of the US Department of Energy.

Level 3 chargers are the most rapid EV charging solutions available right now, and they allow drivers to save time by reducing the amount of time it takes to charge their cars and complete their journeys.

California has the most Level 3 chargers at 6,143, according to EVAdoption.com. So with a little bit of planning, an EV road trip can be the perfect way to see the country and have a great time doing it.

Washington, DC To Myrtle Beach

Christina, from Live A Wilder Life, recently went on a week-long road trip in a Tesla Model X. Her route started in Washington DC, where she drove to Shenandoah National Park and then on to Myrtle Beach in South Carolina.

She drives a Tesla that is part of the early adopter's program where superchargers are free for life, so she incurred no charges for her entire trip.

“While stopping to charge added about an hour and a half to our driving each day, it equaled to gasoline driving since we always planned our stops around eating lunch and taking bathroom breaks. The long stops helped to provide breaks from the driving and a welcome opportunity to walk around. The supercharger stops were always located in an area close to restaurants.”

Tesla's navigation system makes it incredibly easy for any driver to plan their route, showing which charging stations to stop at, how many chargers are available in real-time, and how much charge the vehicle will need to make it to the next destination.

Christina's charging stops included Lynchburg, VA, Archdale, NC, Fayetteville, NC, and Rocky Mountain, NC, before reaching her final destination in Myrtle Beach, SC.

Steep Climbs in California

Emma Gordon, the founder of USSalvageYards, took a road trip from her home in California to Mono Lake in a Mercedes-Benz EQS 580, which included about 40 hours of charging. The total cost was about $8 to charge her electric vehicle fully.

She drove to destinations within the range of a single charge and was close to Level 2 stations while camping overnight in places like Bodega Bay, Stillwater Cove, and Point Reyes. “The Mercedes-Benz EQS 580 EV was great for these trips since the rear storage area has plenty of space for camping gear and plenty of room for a family of 4 upfront,” says Gordon.

Although you will get better mileage when driving on flat roads, the regenerative braking system on EVs generates electricity on the descent, helping to recapture energy spent on the uphill climb. It also means you will use your brakes less than gasoline-powered vehicles, requiring less maintenance.

Explore The Canadian Rockies

A road trip to the Kootenays, right across the border from the United States, gives Americans an easy option to discover their neighbors' stunning landscapes and the Rocky Mountains to the north for less than $40 at charging stations over the 1600 km drive. Taking a Tesla road trip to the Kootenays takes some planning, but not as much as you would expect.

Between Vancouver and Kamloops, there are several charging stations to choose from along the way. There are charging stations in Surrey, two in Hope, and two in Merritt. If you choose to stop in Kamloops, the charging station is located at the Tourism Office and right across the street from the city's shopping mall.

The next charging stop is either Revelstoke or Golden, depending on the reach of your battery before hitting Hwy 93, the most spectacular section of highway on this particular road trip. Here you will be surrounded by the Canadian Rockies. Plan extra time when driving this route, as you are guaranteed to want to pull over repeatedly during this 2.5-hour section of the drive.

Save Money On Your EV Road Trip

The most obvious way electric cars save their owners' money over comparable gas power vehicles is through fuel savings. As per a study by Consumer Reports, electric vehicle owners save as much as 60% on fuel yearly.

Blaine Thiederman, Founder of Progress Wealth Management, states, “the price of gasoline in the United States is incredibly unpredictable because the price worldwide varies based on so many factors while electricity is somewhat stable because solar and nuclear power is a bit more consistent in supply.”

Thiederman continues, “not only is it valuable in dollars and cents but removing variability from your finances makes it easier to budget more consistently and plan more easily for the future.”

Today, the average electric vehicle consumes .346 kWh per mile. The Tesla Model Y holds 75 kWh in its battery. This means that you could drive well over 200 miles on one charge making getting to and from charging stations easier than most give it credit for.

At the average cost per kWh of 10.46 cents in the United States, it costs you about $7 to recharge your car's battery. This brings us to a rough cost to drive an electric car of 3.6 cents per mile.

As compared to a vehicle with a 20-gallon tank being refilled at $4.32 a gallon at 25 mpg, $4.32 per gallon/25 mpg = 17 cents per mile driven with a gas-powered vehicle. If you drive 1,000 miles on your road trip, that's a savings of $134 just in fuel costs alone.

You could save even more money by charging overnight at your hotel or accommodation as they typically do not charge guests for using their destination chargers.

If you're on a road trip across the United States, you may have to plan out your trip based on the availability of charging stations, but at the end of the day, you'll absolutely spend less on fuel in exchange for just a little more time charging. There really is no better time than now to head out on that ultimate road trip. Before taking your trip, use google maps to map out each charging station to ensure you plan accordingly.

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This post was produced by Karpiak Caravan and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.

Featured Image Credit: Karpiak Caravan.


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Casandra is the founder of Karpiak Caravan Adventure Family Travel and a mother to two adventurous young boys. Casandra is a family-focused, adventure travel advocate.

A Toronto native with Danish roots, she became an avid traveler after her first trip to Europe as a college student. Casandra's goal is to provide an educational experience for her family when she travels. When visiting historic sites like D-Day landing beaches in Normandy, or learning about ranch life at a dude ranch on horseback, it’s always a priority to provide an educational experience and to learn about the culture and history of each destination.

You can follow her adventures at karpiakcaravan or get in touch via her social media pages on Facebook and Instagram.