Taking a road trip with a EV takes a bit of planning. The following is a ‘field tested’ checklist to help you with planning.
A compact version of this list right here
Before the Trip
Some of the prep starts before you even hit the road.
Before 1: Install Useful Apps
See our app guide
Before 2: Get Access to Charging Networks
Get memberships for charging networks. Make sure to get fast charger access!
Here are some charging networks:
Usually there are 3 ways to use these chargers:
- Most chargers can accept credit cards, no account setup needed
- Some charging networks will give you a access cards
- Also get the mobile apps as well. The apps can give you more details of charging specifics
Here is what I have learned.
- More than often, credit card readers in the chargers are not working. So you won’t be able to kick off a charge with just credit card.
- This is one of the reason to get the charging app. It allows you to start the charge from the app. Also you can track the charge progress using the app
☐ Sign up for charging networks (more than one, as many as possible)
☐ Download their apps
☐ make sure to enter payment information for the accounts
☐ If you get access cards, keep them in the car (I keep mine in the dash in a ziploc bag)
Before 3: Check network access, before you leave!
This is very important. Before you leave for the trip, make sure your charging accounts are active and working
☐ Find a nearest charger of the networks and try charging. Specially try the fast chargers. As you would utilize these for quick charging
Be Covid ready!
☐ face mask (lot of businesses will required you have one, before entering)
☐ hand sanitizer (Use it after touching chargers, door handles ..etc)
Safety Item 1: Portable Tire Inflator
Most EVs don’t come with spare tires. They usually come with ‘run flats’ – as in the tires can be re-inflated and they will hold pressure reasonably well. So I always keep a portable tire inflator in my trunk or frunk
☐ Portable tire inflator (here is one)
Safety Item 2: Flashlights
Call me old fashioned, but I always carry
☐ a good flashlight (like this)
☐ and good headlamp (like this)
☐ Safety item 3: Emergency kit
These are always handy. Just throw them in the trunk/frunk.
Here is an example
Comfort Item 1: Blanket
You should have a blanket packed for any road trip, but this is more important for EV road trips! Why? Because there are times you have to wait in the car while you are charging – there may not be restaurants or indoor spaces for your hangout while charging.
Even when using a fast charger, you may have to wait an hour for charging. And sometimes it can get cold!
So if I have to wait in the car, I just wrap myself in the blanket and take a mini nap 🙂
And I don’t just throw the blanket in the car. I wrap it with another bag (I really like these Hefty clear recycling bags) so they don’t get dirty.
Trust me, you will thank me soon enough!
Comfort item 2: Paper Towels + Wet Wipes
These are handy for cleaning up any messes.
- Sometimes I find the charging cables have lot of dirt on them (left on the ground ..etc).
- Also you will thank me for the wet wipes, when you are done eating a In-n-Out double-double burger with animal fries and need to cleanup 🙂
Electronics 1: Chargers (power to the people!)
Road trips means lot of electronics! Phones, tablets, game consoles ..etc.
You want plenty of power and reach 🙂
☐ USB Multi Ports Car Charger
☐ USB multi chargers cables (I like these, as they are pretty versatile and can charge any device)
☐ Portable battery bank (like this one Anker Astro E1 Candy-Bar charger (6700mAh)) to charge on the go
☐ Electronics 2: Tablet / Laptop
Great for watching movies/shows. Pre-download the shows before heading out for a smooth viewing experience.
Some fast chargers are located in nice surroundings with picnic tables. Why not enjoy a meal outside?
☐ A throw / blanket
☐ A picnic basket
EV Charging Accessories
For most road trips you can rely on public chargers. How ever there are certain times, you may need to carry your own charger.
- If you are going camping most camp grounds and RV parks will have electrical hookups.
- Staying at an AirBNB or a friend’s place that doesn’t have an EV charger
So what do you need?
☐ A portable L2 charger (see below on how to choose one)
☐ TT-30 adapter (for RV parks with 30amp circuits) (example)
☐ A dryer outlet adapter (for houses with non NEMA 14-50 dryer outlets) (example)
☐ A L3 charger (stock charger). These charge very slowly, may be adding 30-40 miles per overnight. But better than nothing 🙂
How to choose a Portable L2 Charger
There are lot of these chargers out there. How do you select one?
- UL listed, so it is safe to use outdoors
- I would look for something that can deliver at least 32 Amps.
- And can be plugged into NEMA 14-50 outlets (most common in USA)
Here are portable L2 chargers on Amazon
I have used Jekayla Level 2 32 Amp Portable Charger and Keruida charger. Both work well.
Please see our extensive guide on charging at RV park here.
These are not specific to EVs, but great for any road trips
☐ Good Weather Proof Mats
Protect your car carpet from rain / snow / mud. I like WeatherTech products (a tad bit expensive, but quite good). But there are tons of other competitors to choose from.