Regional Road Trips More Convenient In A Tesla Than A Gasmobile

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One of the most persistent incorrect assumptions about electric vehicles is that they’re less convenient than gasmobiles. Actually, as long as you buy a decent modern electric car, “fueling up” will be more convenient in many — if not most — cases.

As usual, your own personal details matter, and there is no single answer for everyone. However, there are a handful of generic truths that are the building blocks of many personal stories.

As electric vehicle (EV) owners know, if you have home charging, you can generally leave the home with a full charge every day (if you so choose). There’s no need to go to a charging station every other day to charge up, and there’s obviously no need to go to a gas station. If you have a charging station at your work, it’s a similar benefit.

Stopping at a gas station once a week may not seem like a huge inconvenience if you are used to it. However, if you are used to charging at home and/or work while you sleep, work, eat, play, etc., it sounds like a total pain in the butt to go out of your way to a gas station each week, hold the nozzle as you fuel up, pay with a credit card or cash, smell the fumes during the whole process, and then have to get out of the parking area and back on your route.

This is clear to more and more people from the perspective of daily life. However, many people still wonder about road trips.

In a modern, long-range electric vehicle (e.g., a Tesla Model 3 of any trim, a Chevy Bolt, a new Nissan LEAF, a Tesla Model S or X, etc.), even regional road trips are now more convenient than they would be in a gasmobile. If you are leaving from a place where you could conveniently get a full charge (home, work, a Whole Foods, a shopping mall with charging stations, etc.), if the distance to your destination isn’t too many hundreds of miles, and if you have a charging option at your destination, you don’t have to go out of your way at all to charge.

As an example of that, I recently checked out the drive from Sarasota to Disney World in our new Tesla Model 3 SR+ (the lowest range Tesla). This trip has always seemed long to me, and I’m generally deterred from making it simply due to the length of the journey — hours of driving is not my idea of a day off. I was surprised to see that we could get there without charging even once and we’d arrive with 40% charge.

As I said, driving for hours in a single day is not my idea of time off. Also, if you’re going to Disney World, you want to spend some time there, so it makes sense to get a hotel. Nowadays, there are numerous hotels with Tesla “Destination Chargers.” So, when you park your car, you just plug in and go enjoy your stay at a Disney resort. In the screenshot below, you can see there are 28 Destination Chargers (the dark grey bubbles) in the area around Disney World. There are also a few Superchargers (and one more scheduled to launch this year). I clicked on approximately a dozen of the Destination Chargers and they were all at hotels.

What about non-Tesla long-range electric vehicles?

Well, it’s basically the same. I went to PlugShare and excluded all Tesla-only chargers. This is the resulting map:

As you can see, there’s an abundance of EV charging stations. Most of them are at hotels. So, even if you drive a Nissan LEAF, Chevy Bolt, Hyundai Kona EV (if you can get your hands on one), Kia Niro EV (if you can get your hands on one), Jaguar I-PACE, Audi e-tron, or other electric car, it’s easy to find a location where you can stay and get fully charged while you relax at the hotel pool, in your room, or in the restaurant.

If you have a Tesla, then you’ve got those options plus the Tesla Destination Chargers and Superchargers noted above. Instead of filling up a gas tank, the biggest logistics problem is then getting the kids into their carseats instead of the front seats to play Beach Buggy.

Of course, if you leave the hotel or Disney World with a full charge and you have home charging, you can just drive straight home, plug in, and you’re done. There is basically nothing that’s more convenient (until full self-driving tech and self-charging tech are on the market).

What about destinations further away? As always, it depends a bit on individual circumstances and desires. Perhaps you want to go from San Francisco to LA, perhaps from Amsterdam to Brussels. Generally speaking, though, it seems that either a Tesla should make it to the destination on a full charge or my family and I would need a break anyway. Taking a break at a Supercharger station to use the bathroom, get a snack or drink, and stretch is often perfectly convenient.

The other big benefit of a Tesla is that the navigation does 99.9% of the thinking. You just follow directions and charge where it tells you to do so. As I’ve shared before, a friend and I drove a Tesla Model S 85D from Poland to Paris, which took nearly 20 hours but was super convenient and comfortable since the car told us exactly where to go and we got enough breaks during the drive that we felt better and less fatigued at the end than if we had “pushed through” for hours upon hours without breaks. (Autopilot helped a ton as well.) I can’t say much about taking other electric vehicles on long trips, but I know it’s not nearly as convenient to take a non-Tesla EV on a very long road trip. Nonetheless, regional road trips in such EVs can be extremely convenient, even more so than in gasmobiles.

Let us know in the comments below if you have some good stories, pics, or videos from road trips in an EV.

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Zachary Shahan

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

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