man leaning against electric vehicle

Charge up and hit the road on an EV road trip. (Photo: Getty Images)

Road Trips

Electric Vehicle Road Trips: What to Know and Where to Go

When you’re ready to road trip, no matter where you decide to go, or for how long, there are several options for getting there, including increasingly popular electric vehicles (EVs), even if you don’t have your own.

Rental car agencies are keeping up with travelers’ interest in sustainable means of travel, and that includes EVs. Many national chains, like Hertz, offer EVs among their fleets of rental cars at select U.S. and European locations.

When you’re ready to hit the road in an EV, there are a few important things to keep in mind.

As always, check for travel restrictions or closures before planning your trip.

Going the Distance

Today’s EVs can hold a charge that will go a distance of up to 200 and even 300 miles. If you’re renting an EV, be sure to check with the rental agent regarding charge ranges for the EV you will be driving. You’ll want to keep these ranges in mind as you plan your route, taking into consideration you may be able to charge along the way.

Colorado-based Mountain View Electric Association suggests keeping speeds at the posted speed limits to keep charge consumption in line with factory standards.

Another question to ask the rental agent is what type of charger the EV you’re renting uses. Aside from Teslas and their Supercharges that can add 200 miles to a trip in just 15 minutes, DC fast charges are a terrific option and are perfect for longer drives like those taken on a road trip.

A Level 2 (240V) can take from five to eight hours to completely charge an EV, and Level 1 (120V) is intended for local driving and is not ideal for road trips.

electric vehicle charging
Learn how to search for charging stations along your route. (Photo: Getty Images)

Charge It

Finding an EV charging station is easier today than it was in the past. According to Hertz, there are more than 40,000 official charging stations available throughout the U.S. and nearly 100,000 charging outlets available in public spaces.

Before you hit the road, download an EV charging station app like Chargemap, ChargePoint or PlugShare onto your smartphone to find spots across the U.S., and even in Canada and Europe, where you can charge up and be on your way. If you’re driving a Tesla, enter your destination into the navigation system and the car will find its own charging station. These apps can also let you know if charging stations are busy and if there are open ports.

You can also use Google Maps to find charging stations en route, and Chargemap and PlugShare have their own trip planners that map out routes complete with charging stations along the way.

Another option is the Alternative Fuels Data Center from the U.S. Department of Energy; charging locations throughout the U.S. and Canada are plotted and searchable on its map.

How to Charge

Much like pumping gas, when you arrive at a charging station you’ll first open the charge port cover on the EV you’re driving. Next, insert the charging station connector into the charge port, just like you’d insert a gas nozzle into a gas tank.

The screen on the charging station will track the EV’s charge percentage in the same way a gas pump tracks the amount of gas that’s gone into a car.

pet taking an ev road trip
Make sure you know the charging ropes before you go. (Photo: Getty Images)

Recharge Your EV — and Yourself

When it comes time to recharge your EV while you bed down for the night, the Marriott Bonvoy app helps you find hotels with charging stations, and it’s as easy as 1-2-3.

1. Search for your destination city.

2. Tap the filter menu above the list of hotel results, and then tap the box next to EV charging stations.

3. Tap the black bar at the bottom of the screen to refresh the results and see which hotels have EV charging stations.

The same can be done online, too, and is as easy as a-b-c-d.

A. Search for your destination city.

B. Click on the All Filters menu in the top-right corner of the results page, and then expand the Amenities section.

C. Check the box for Plug-in panel. (Note: this option only appears if one of the hotels in the city search list offers it)

D. Click Apply to refresh the results and see which hotels have EV charging stations.

Let’s Go!

Now that you know the ins and outs of renting an EV for your upcoming road trip, let’s take a look at a few routes you may want to travel.

We’ve outlined distances, a couple of public charging stations en route, and Marriott Bonvoy properties to consider to recharge on either end of the trip and even along the way.

ev charging station
Book hotels with EV charging stations. (Photo: Getty Images)

San Diego to Los Angeles, California

This Southern California route combines two classic destinations in one 120-mile road trip (one EV charge) and can be traveled in either direction. From the laid-back beach vibes of San Diego to the buzzing energy and Tinseltown glam of Los Angeles and its dynamic neighborhoods, there’s plenty to see along the way.

Before heading out, recharge yourself along with your EV at The Guild Hotel, San Diego, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel.

If you need to charge your EV en route to L.A., look for charging stations using the Alternative Fuels Data Center data.

Upon arrival, you can rest up while charging your EV at the Sheraton Grand Los Angeles.

Paris to Bordeaux, France

Trade the City of Light for the French wine country of Bordeaux on a 365-mile (approximately two EV charges) road trip to the southwest of France. Before you do, however, charge your car during a stay at Courtyard Paris Gare de Lyon.

During your jaunt south, take your time and explore the charming French villages that you’ll pass through. Sometimes the best travel experiences are those that are unexpected and unplanned, so stop into a café, stroll through a park or sip wine with the locals. Though you’ll travel through some rural areas of France, fear not — EV charging stations found using Chargemap are readily available.

The Moxy Bordeaux is a funky place to stay in Bordeaux, and you can charge your EV there, too.

Sydney to Canberra, Australia

When visiting Australia, take time to discover different parts of the country. One road trip idea, starting from Sydney, is to drive about 180 miles (one EV charge) southwest from the Four Points by Sheraton Sydney, Central Park to the Midnight Hotel, Autograph Collection in Canberra, Australia’s capital city. Both hotels have charging stations, and in addition to museums and historical sites, you’ll find plenty of terrific dining, bustling brewpubs and tempting wine country to keep you busy on the drive.

During your drive you’ll find plenty of EV charging stations, including at the East Village Shopping Centre in Sydney and in Canberra Centre.