Illustration: Natalie Peeples/Axios
People are increasingly curious about electric cars. Before they buy, though, most want to know whether they can drive one on a long road trip.
What’s happening: My husband Bill and I are sick of winter in Michigan, and decided we’d rather work remotely in Florida for the month of February.
- We’ll drive to the Sunshine State and back — 2,700 miles or so — in a Kia EV6 on loan from the automaker’s press fleet.
- Bill will do the first leg of the trip solo, since I’m in Washington, D.C. this week for Axios’ annual staff retreat.
- After we meet up in D.C., we’ll take our time getting to Florida.
- That’s partly by design: We’ve been warned by other electric vehicle (EV) road trippers to expect delays and build in extra time for charging.
Why it matters: If Americans are going to switch to electric cars, they want charging to be as convenient and seamless as filling up the gas tank.
- But U.S. public charging infrastructure is spotty, which is why the federal government is investing $7.5 billion in new charging stations, mostly along highways.
- Even though most people will do their daily charging at home, they want the security of knowing there are abundant highway chargers for that rare road trip.
Worth noting: If we were driving a Tesla, our trip would likely be a lot easier.
- Tesla has the fastest, most reliable and extensive charger network.
- Its SuperChargers recognize your car and automatically bill you — no fumbling with credit cards or phone apps.
- Other charging networks and carmakers are just beginning to roll out similar plug-and-charge features.
How we prepared: Unlike some other EVs, such as the Mercedes EQE, the EV6 doesn’t have a built-in charging planner in its navigation system.
- So we downloaded several route-planning apps — A Better Route Planner, PlugShare and Chargeway — to guide us toward the best charging stops.
- Enter a destination and the car you’re driving, and the apps suggest where to charge along your route.
- They predict the car’s battery level, and also advise how long it will take to recharge and be on your way again.
- We also set up accounts with all the major charging networks, including Electrify America, EVGo and Chargepoint to speed the billing process.
The bottom line: Every road trip is an adventure, but this one promises to be even more so.
- Let me know what you’re most curious about, at [email protected]. I’ll share updates in the coming days and weeks.