This summer I took my first road trip in an all-electric vehicle. A few weeks earlier I had purchased a new 2022 Chevy Bolt EV. I had previously driven a Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid EV for over 10 years, but that vehicle can use its gasoline engine on long trips, and so can refuel just like any gasoline car. This was my first long trip in an all-electric vehicle, and so also the first with having to stop to charge.
The thing most often people wonder about is this electric vehicle “refueling” experience on long trips (otherwise known as DC Fast Charging). Over the ~750-mile round trip journey, I made a total of 3 “refueling” stops to DC fast charge: One unplanned during the departure leg at around a quarter “tank”, one near an overnight destination on the return trip and one along the final leg the next morning. Here are my 3 quick take-aways, with the overall insight being that in some regions of the US like the Northeast, longer trips in an EV can be relatively easy.
3 Hours of Driving
Fast charging times were each around 30 minutes, and generally after around 3 hours of non-stop driving (as much as I can handle anyhow) and when the battery had dropped below 1/4. These stops could be combined with a meal at a restaurant or other needed break-from-driving activity.
3 Ways to Charge Up
No charging apps or particular special knowledge was required to use these fast charging stations (MA EVgo and NY EVolve). Each was activated with either a compatible RFID card (like ChargePoint) or a credit card. (Mobile apps can still be very helpful tools for both payment and trip planning.)
$3 a “Gallon” (or less)
The cost to charge “on the road” was around the equivalent of $3 a gallon gasoline. (Full charge at home prior to departure was equal to $1.75 a gallon; charging at the first hotel destination was free).
The Good: With little to no advance (or advanced!) planning or special knowledge, the trip was easily completed, no fuss. Stations were relatively easy to find and activate and the cost was reasonable.
The Bad: Charging is quite as fast as filling up with a tank of gas. Expect an average stop to be from 15 to 40 minutes. Look to plan your stops around needed breaks, meals and/or sightseeing!
The Ugly: Some charging station locations aren’t in good places to visit late in the evening or may have little to do at that time. It’s better to visit them the morning if staying somewhere locally.
Where would you like to go on your first all-electric road trip? To find out where the EV charging is along the way and/or at the destination, visit PlugShare.com or install a mobile app like ChargeWay.