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Planning an EV Road Trip – A Case Study

With my Model Y pick up just days away I thought I should actually start figuring out how to get it home! After going planning out range, stops, and charging options, I compiled a list of EV road trip tips. Taking it a step further, let’s apply those tips in planning an EV road trip.

Have a Plan

The starting point to a successful road trip is knowing where you are going and what you want to do along the way. Breaking down your trip into daily segments and thinking about where you want to stop each day can help make your trip as efficient as possible.

For this EV road trip, I had a little help. Thanks to a partnership with the Quebec Maritime tourism board and my travel website This Life in Trips, I was provided with a great itinerary. It includes suggested stops and attractions as well as where to stay each night.

Now, just because you’re not a travel blogger, doesn’t mean you can’t create your own itinerary. Research the area and go from there. Pick what interests you and think about how long each stop will take you. If it helps, write these stops down along with expected arrival and departure times.

Know Your Charging Options

On this EV road trip, I will be making my way off Tesla’s Supercharger network. As such, I took a look at PlugShare and found there is plenty of level 2 and Level 3 non-Tesla charging options in the area. The downside is the Level 3 chargers use CHAdeMO and the Tesla adaptor for this runs over $600!

Given the time savings a Level 3 charger has over a J1172 Level 2, I opted to pick one up. My hope is to get plenty of use out of it on other off the beaten path road trips. Plus, in British Columbia, BC Hydro has a network of CHAdeMO stations that are free of charge. Lastly, when not being used I hope to rent it out to recoup some of the costs.

Map It Out

So, knowing that I have a plan and charging options along with the correct connectors for my EV road trip route sorted, I can start compiling the plan to see how much charging time is required. As mentioned in my breakdown of EV Charging Apps and Maps, A Better Routeplanner is the best tool for planning an EV road trip.

My itinerary is for five nights around the Gaspé  Peninsula so I broke each day down into a separate trip in ABRP and named it accordingly.

DAY 1

On my first day, I will be going from my hotel in Quebec City to Matane so I started with that. This gives a good snapshot of the total distance for the day.

ABRP comes back with the 408 km trip requiring just a six-minute charge at the Rivière-du-Loup Tesla Supercharger. Already, this trip is looking faster than driving an ICE vehicle stopping for gas. At just $2.83 for the electricity, it’s also a lot cheaper.

On the way I will be stopping at Saint-André-de-Kamouraska lighthouse, Parc des Chutes (Falls Park) in Rivière-du-Loup, Pointe-au-Père Maritime Historic Site, as well as lunch and a couple of breweries in between. Plugging in each stop and calculating the route, I now end up with an additional minute of charging time.

Now, this doesn’t factor in for the time I will be away from my car. This both drains the battery but also presents times where I can be charging.

Adjust for Long Stops

Since some of these stops will be spent do things like sightseeing, having lunch, or a pint, I started drilling down to see if I could charge while away from my car. Sure enough, minutes away from my suggested coffee stop at La Fée Gourmande is a J1172 5Kw charger. I plan to stop an hour to explore the town so I added it as a long stop in ABRP.

Recalculating with this additional 1-hour charge only adds 5% so I looked for other opportunities to top up. Just down the line at my next stop, Tête d’Allumette microbrewery, there is a charger. Adding in an hour here for lunch and a beer eliminated the need to stop at the Supercharger down the line. This makes my drive more efficient.

End of day is at Riôtel Matane where J1772 charging is available to customers.

Day 2

My second day around the peninsula is where the fun starts. Since I left the last Tesla Supercharger behind in Riviere-du-Loup, I have to rely on third-party companies and what my hotels have to offer.

Thankfully, my second day total drive is 325 KM so technically I don’t need to charge.

That said, I plan to stop at several photo opportunities along Route 132 including La Martre, Pointe-à-la-Renommée, Cap Madeleine and Cap-des-Rosiers Lighthouses. I am also going to explore Forillon National Park for several hours.

As such, I will buffer in a charge while grabbing coffee at Boulangerie Marie 4 Pouches in Sainte-Anne-des-Monts. There is a CHAdeMO level 3 charger next door however since I don’t need much I will stop at a nearby level 1 charger to top up a few KM.

Day 2 ends at the historic Auberge sous les arbres where charging is available to guests.

Day 3

This is where my trip gets easy. Day three I am travelling less than 100 km with just one stop at Brasserie Auval before exploring the postcard-perfect town of Percé.

Once done, I am checking in to the Hotel Motel Fleur De Lys where J1172 charging is available for guests.

Day 4

Day four is where my route turns around and I start heading west on the Southern part of the peninsula. I will be travelling just 200 km so no need for charging stops if full up from my night in Percé.

Before heading west, I will be taking a boat trip to Île Bonaventure, home to the most accessible colony of Northern Gannets in the World!

After that, I hit the road for a lighthouse stop and coffee before arriving at the Hostellerie Baie Bleue in Carleton-Sur-Mer. This hotel offers free charging for its guests.

Day 5

The last day! This is where I cut inland following the Matapedia River north and head back to Rivière-du-Loup, closing the loop on my drive around the Gaspe Peninsula.

This is a long day covering close to 400 km so will require a charge along the way. Thankfully, about halfway I intend to stop for lunch and a pint at La Captive in Amqui. Looking at ABRP, there is a CHAdeMO station 5 minutes away on foot.

My day ends at the Hotel Universel Rivière-du-Loup. They have both a J1772 charger for guest AND a Tesla Supercharger in their parking lot!

Tweak your Route

I also entered the starting charge at 90% as recommended by Tesla to prevent battery degradation. I also upped the arrival charge from 10% to 15% to help with range anxiety. This is to factor in for battery drain through elevation changes and air conditioner use. I am hoping this is enough but will adjust accordingly down the line.

Conclusion

As you can see, with a little planning in advance and using great free tools like ABRP, planning an EV road trip is both easy and fun. If you find these case studies helpful let me know in the comments below! I will be sharing the remaining itinerary and plan along with plenty more from my trip across Canada. Hopefully, they help you plan your own trips! I will also revisit them and update with the real-world results.

Also, ABRP offers a premium membership feature that unlocks some fun perks. Enter MYEVTrips as a promo code and get a 30-day trial!

Cover image via www.quebecmaritime.ca

2 Comments

  • Alan
    September 9, 2020 at 1:03 am

    Looks like a good plan, and interesting to see. That charging stations are easy to find and coincide with where a person may want to stop to eat or sightsee – so no real inconvenience relative to doing it with a gas vehicle, not to mention the savings without purchasing gas.

    Reply
    • Shaun Robertson
      September 9, 2020 at 2:07 pm

      It takes a bit of work but that’s part of the fun, at least for me!

      That said, there were some fun surprises like a coin-operated charger and one that did not work. I will share all the details in a separate post comparing the plan to the actual results. Till then, I have just added the plan for day #2!

      Reply

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