Since electric cars typically have pretty limited ranges (The Nissan Leaf can supposedly go about 100 miles, and Tesla cars can go up to 300), and take many hours to charge, they are not really ideal options for long trips. Of course it is possible to take a long road trip in an electric car, it just requires a lot more planning (since your course will likely be determined by the location and availability of charging stations), and fewer miles per day (since you’ll have to stop every hundred miles or so and wait several hours while the car recharges). And of course, bear in mind, getting lost or sidetracked is almost completely out of the question, so know your route before you set out and don’t follow too many spur-of-the-moment whims.
It’s also important to be aware of things that will diminish your range, such as temperature, use of AC or other gadgets that drain battery power, and prolonged highway driving. Be prepared not to get as many miles as you’d typically expect and plan accordingly.
Official electric car charging infrastructure is slowly being expanded. If you want to take a vacation by electric vehicle, I-5 will provide you with the most opportunities to explore. Current EVents magazine featured a couple who took a vacation in their Tesla Roadster by hooking it up to RV outlets in their August 2010 issue. In the November 2010 issue of Current EVents, there was an article about a converted 1972 VW beetle that crossed Canada in 16 days, traveling 6,400km in total. So, it all depends on where you can find a spot to charge.
Unofficially, If you have the ability to plug into a standard 3-prong outlet, you could conceivably travel anywhere you want. Just stop for lunch or dinner somewhere and ask the restaurant manager if you can plug in your car while you eat. Make sure to leave a big tip so that the manager is receptive to facilitating more EV travelers in the future, and let them take a look under your hood 🙂
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