Going on a road trip is something many new car owners like to do, and none more so than electric car owners.
With the promise of the open road ahead and battery charged to the full, it’s a chance to dispel myths of range anxiety at the same time as taking in new scenery.
Countries around the world have announced bans on polluting diesel and petrol vehicles, so the electric road trip is going to become more and more common, prompting one company to put together a list of what they think make the best road trips to take in an all-electric vehicle.
Prepared by product compare site Compare the Market, the list includes South Africa, Japan, Portugal and the iconic Route 66 from Chicago to Los Angeles.
Of course ensuring you have a route prepared that includes knowing where appropriately placed charging infrastructure can be used is important; for that reason The Driven has put together some maps and info on what kind of chargers are available for these routes using EV charging site Plugshare.
In the meantime, we’d love to get some input from readers about some potential “best drives” in an EV in Australia.
South Africa: Cape Town to Port Elizabeth
While this 750km route certainly offers some stunning scenery along the way, from whale watching to rugged rocky coastlines, we think it best to check ahead at this point in time – for now, most of the charging points between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth are still listed as “coming soon”.
Range anxiety, anyone?
Jaguar and Shell have both announced they will be installing EV charging infrastructure in the southern extremes of the African continent – 200 will be installed by Jaguar in partnership with South African charging infrastructure company Gridcars by the end of next month.
According to South African site Wheels 24, most of these charging stations will be 60kWh fast chargers, and every charging station will also be equipped with a 22kWh AC fast charger with a standard Type 2 socket.
Shell have not announced how many charging sites they will launch but are saying it will “based on demand“.
Japan: Tokyo to Osaka
Now Japan is a country that is prepared for electric vehicles, with Plugshare showing the landscape completely dotted with EV charging locations.
While there is a Japanese term for range anxiety (“sōkō kyori fuan-shō”, which roughly translates to distance travel anxiety), we’re pretty sure it’s not used often.
And, Compare the Market’s suggestion of a road trip from Tokyo to Osaka is certainly a good one, taking in Shizuoka, Nagoya and Kyoto along the way.
Doing the trip in a Nissan Leaf wouldn’t be a bad choice – CHAdeMO plugs account for the majority of DC fast chargers – in fact Japan has 40% of the world’s total, says Inside EVs.
There are also 20,000 Level 2 charging stations, and a well distributed Tesla Supercharger and Destination Charger network.
The six hour drive really means only one stop to recharge is needed as well – Hamamatsu is about half way, and while there are CHAdeMO locations aplenty, the Tesla Destination Charger in Hamamatsu also has a CHAdeMO charger.
Portugal: Porto to Lisbon
Now this road trip along Europe’s western coastline in Portugal suggested by Compare the Market is a quick one – only around 320km if you take the coast road.
While you may not even need to charge along this route, if you decide to take a detour or stop a while to enjoy Portugal’s beautiful coastal scenery, you can be sure your charging needs are taken care of – most stations have Type 2, CCS2 and CHAdeMO plugs available.
If you are expecting an ultra fast charging experience in a Tesla however, be prepared to make use of destination chargers instead. There are only 5 Sueprchargers in the whole of Portugal according to Plugshare, with only one of those along the Porto to Lisbon route, if you go inland to Fatima.
Unfortunately, VW’s ultra-fast DC Ionity network has not reached Portugal – although thanks to an agreement inked last year with service station network Cepsa, there are plans to do so.
USA: Route 66, Chicago to Los Angeles
Arguably the most iconic road trip on the planet, the 2,000+ miles (3,218km) famous Route 66 has you covered if you’re planning to take an EV from Chicago to Los Angeles.
While sections of the original route are now inaccessible, the main road from USA’s north east to EV central in the south west state of California (where about half of all the country’s EVs are registered) is chock-a-block with EV charging options.
From Electrify America’s network of DC fast chargers and Level 2 chargers to Walmart’s introduction of destination chargers, as well as national penetration of the Tesla Supercharger and Destination charger network, range anxiety will never be a concern.
Just sit back let the good tunes roll, and even better, get your EV kicks on Route 66.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.