Route Planning a longer journey

Before you read the number of steps your planning will require, consider how often you’ll actually exceed your vehicle’s range from leaving home, for many drivers it’s not often. See “What Electric Car Range do I need?

The number of charging points across the UK is increasing rapidly, with more competition between providers.

No Petrol thinking here

Unlike an Internal Combustion Engine vehicle, you should expect to be fully charged before leaving home, no special trip to a petrol station.

In winter you can pre-heat the vehicle from the mains.

Planning

You do need to plan your journey in advance to include charging points. There are online maps showing charging points available, although Tesla drivers have this covered in the SatNav.

Example of Planning a long journey example in an Electric car

The first time you’ll need to know the following:

  • How far can you comfortably travel on one charge? And how long would you expect to stop for in your current car, for toilet, coffee, etc?
  • Where are you used to stopping on similar journeys?
  • Know what connector plug(s) you have available
  • The maximum charge your vehicle can take advantage of

Destination

Will your destination have a charger that you will be able to use?

Can you connect with a domestic plug?

En-route

Would you have stopped for coffee or lunch, etc. on such a journey prior to getting an Electric car? If so there may well be an appropriate charging point their

Plan for the charger before the last available for your expected range, or even the one before that. Unfortunately not all charging points are reliable and may be blocked by an ICE (Internal Combustion Engine vehicle) or Pluggable Hybrid, which charge far more slowly.

Paying

Are you set up to pay at the chargers you’ve selected?

Charging duration

If you’re concerned about duration of charging consider only charging to 80% as most vehicles charge very slowly after 80% in order to protect the battery over 7kWh – It’s probably better to drive on and charge again later.

Tools

Use A Better Route Planner, or Zap-map to plan for UK journeys.

Check that the charger was operational when last reported

En-route most charging points can be checked live on Zap-Map. Ecotricity, which is the main provider at Motorway Service stations, is a notable exception. Podpoint, which is used by several supermarkets, is another exception.