1. Leave home with a full battery
It sounds simple, but it’s extremely helpful. Whereas you often charge to 80% when you’re at home, you should definitely get a “full tank” before you start your trip. This will prepare you for the first long stretch. What’s more, power from your domestic wallbox is cheap, and many electric cars will allow you to adjust the full charge to the departure time. This puts as little strain on the battery as possible.
2. Plan your route
Mastering long distances with the electric car usually requires more stops than we are used to with a combustion engine. Even if some models manage significantly more than 500 kilometers. It’s good to know where the charging points are located, how to charge there quickly, and how many charging stations are available at each one. That is why many drivers of electric cars use specialised charging route planners for long distances. Even if the electric vehicles’ integrated route planners get better and better each day.
In principle, you could say that the worse the general charging infrastructure, the more you must plan. In Southern European countries, there are currently still significantly fewer charging stations than in Central Europe. Coverage is best in Northern Europe, especially in Scandinavia.
3. Have more than one charge card
Once you’ve found a charging station, it’s annoying to find out you can’t pay there. Sometimes you can pay by credit card or via a website, but quite often you can’t. Special charge cards work best. Those who don’t have a charge card subscription with a big provider are best served by having charge cards from different providers without a monthly fee – at least from two. One of them should offer affordable electricity and thus ensure cheap charging wherever it works. Wherever that card isn’t accepted, you will need a universal card from a big, preferably pan-European provider. With those, the kilowatt hour often costs more, but in an emergency – or on holidays – that’s better than not being able to charge at all.
4. Use breaks to charge
You know the cliché: With an electric vehicle you lose a lot of time at the charging station. But that hasn’t been true for quite a while. Long-range electric cars **will require about as much time at the **fast-charger as it takes to go to the toilet. And who would want to pass up a snack or a coffee break on long drives? Use these natural breaks to your advantage: charge while parking. And when you go on holiday, a few pit stops will always be welcome. Enjoy a meal somewhere, relax in a coffeeshop, or go for a quick sightseeing tour. Such stops will even save you money, as you might not use the fast-charger or might be able to charge for free at a stopover.
5. Consider the time of day
Those who don’t consider the journey the reward and only want to keep the drive short should definitely pay attention to the time of day. Charging stations along major traffic routes **are heavily frequented, especially in the holiday season. If you drive and charge by night, you not only have the advantage of empty streets but often also unused charging stations. Some providers even lower their prices at night to **level the load.
6. Seek out charge parks and fast chargers
Another factor in terms of speed is the number of charging points at the charging location as well as their performance. There are now large charge parks along the important traffic arteries with dozens of charging stations. There, you are not only relatively sure to find an empty charging spot and can thus continue your trip swiftly. You can also often get something to eat and drink and the chance to use the bathroom. While charging stations with 50 kW were considered fast in the early days of electromobility, the power spectrum today has grown many times over. People who have an electric car with a maximum charging capacity of 200 kW, for instance, should head for charging stations along their route that can handle this. It will save a lot of time.
7. Favour destinations with charging stations
Charging stations are not just an advantage at stopovers. It is especially the holiday destination **where a wallbox comes in handy. It lets you plan **day trips without hassle and prepares you for the first stretch of the way back home. A hotel, an apartment building, or a campsite with charging stations thus offers significantly more comfort and allow you to avoid stress when it comes to charging.
8. Be prepared for different sockets
Many hotels nowadays have their own wallboxes, and even some holiday flats have so-called destination chargers. Holiday homes and campsites are a different story altogether. While they often have single-phase or three-phase high-voltage current (blue or red socket), they might not readily let you use them. In such cases, a mobile charger with the corresponding adapter comes in handy. In emergencies, you could also get power from the domestic socket. Depending on your parking situation, an extension cord with sufficient wire cross section is useful here. For drives to countries with other formats, you will have to pack an adapter for the emergency cord!
9. Keep track of the weather
Especially when it’s cold on your holiday or on the drive to your destination, it affects the range and charging behavior. Lower temperatures require interior heating, which in turn requires a lot of energy – and thus the range drops. For a winter holiday, it’s therefore advisable to lower the temperature a few degrees and put on warmer clothes before getting in the car. Plus, the battery likes to keep cosy and warm while charging. If the car knows that it is about to be charged, many models will automatically heat up the battery. That forfeits additional range. But it charges much faster than with a cold battery. Long story short: **Expect more stops in winter! **
10. Preheat or precool while charging
Whether it’s very cold or very hot: Regulating the temperature in your car requires energy that you’d rather use to drive, especially on long trips. It’s advisable therefore to use charge stops to heat the car in winter and to cool it in summer. The required energy will come directly from the charging station. Plus, the air conditioner **will have to do less work. After all it takes less effort to keep a well-tempered car at a certain **temperature than to cool down a blistering passenger compartment or to defrost a rolling freezer. It’s also advisable, therefore, to park in the shade or in a garage when it’s hot, and in warm spots when it’s cold.
No problem at all
Holiday trips with an electric car don’t pose a problem anymore. Here and there, a challenge might still await you. But with the proper preparations, all obstacles can be overcome, and the trip to your holiday destination will be relaxing and comfortable.
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