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Charge Up on the Open Road: Top Road Trips for Electric Vehicles (EVs) in the U.S.

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Sarah Mattie
Sarah MattieUpdated June 29, 2022
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Editor’s note: Lantern by SoFi seeks to provide content that is objective, independent and accurate. Writers are separate from our business operation and do not receive direct compensation from advertisers or partners. Read more about our Editorial Guidelines and How We Make Money.
It wasn't that long ago that electric vehicles (EVs) seemed like a faraway dream. And EV road trips? Out of the question.But electric vehicles have come quite a distance in a short time. Registrations for new EVs soared 60% in the first three months of 2022. And just in time for summer, there’s some good news: EVs are often able to drive hundreds of miles on a single charge. With gas prices soaring to painful heights, this could be an ideal opportunity to take a trip in an EV.Check out our curated road trips for adventurers in electric vehicles.See “How We Chose Our EV Travel Routes” below for an overview of the methodology behind our EV road trip routes. Check out the top cross-country road trips for electric vehicles.Check out the top East Coast road trips for electric vehicles.Check out the top West Coast road trips for electric vehicles.Check out the top Southwest road trips for electric vehicles.Check out the top American South road trips for electric vehicles.Check out the top Midwest road trips for electric vehicles.

Is Electric Car Long-Distance Driving Possible?

Very much so. Your electric vehicle can travel across much of America. Bear in mind that some areas in the U.S. have more charging stations than others—for instance, cities and suburbs usually offer more stations than rural communities.It's also worth noting that many charging stations are located in public parking lots and garages. But fear not. We've done our best to find interesting things for you to do near the suggested stops after you’ve charged your car.

How We Chose Our EV Travel Routes

We used the U.S. Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center site to plan the EV road trips below.When we chose our routes, we factored in:
  • Distance: All stations are within 228 miles of each other, because that's the median range for EV cars built within the last five years.
  • States: It won’t always be necessary to stop in each state to charge, but we included at least one station in each state through which you'll drive that fits within that 228-mile distance.
  • Types of Stations: We only selected J1772, CCS, and CHAdeMO stations. Tesla works with all of them, but not all vehicles work with Tesla chargers.
    • Level 2 stations work with J1772 and Tesla and charge at a rate of 10 to 20 miles per hour.
    • DC charging stations work with CCD, CHadeMO, and Tesla connectors at a rate of 60 to 80 miles per 20 minutes of charging.
    • There are only Level 2 and DC chargers on the list.
  • Hours: Many of the stations are available 24/7, but not all. Always verify the station’s hours ahead of time to ensure it’ll be open.
  • Access: The U.S. Department of Energy states all these stations are public. 
  • Cost: However, public doesn't mean free. Many vehicle charging stations have a fee. Most accept credit or debit cards.

Alternative Fuel Corridors

New climate-change-motivated legislation is encouraging people to switch to electric vehicles. And the nation’s infrastructure is changing to accommodate this movement.The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) was enacted on November 15, 2021. This bill aims to ensure there’ll be 500,000 chargers available in America, covering nearly 166,000 miles of the National Highway System. The goal is to get the country to have net-zero emissions by 2050.With the passing of the IIJA, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) established “alternative fuel corridors,” designed to help EV drivers traverse the country with ease. These corridors are or will be lined with EV charging stations to make electric travel convenient..As of 2022, the alternative fuel corridor map looks like this:Source: U.S. Department of Energy The dark green lines are current routes, while the lighter green lines are anticipated options.(There are also state-specific field corridors, though they can't all fit on one map.)It’s clear that rural areas are under-served. Considering population density—after all, most charging stations currently focus on serving local communities and not travelers—this makes sense. But it also means you should use caution when crossing through a rural, under-populated stretch.Interestingly, it can also be a challenge to find a station in urban centers with primarily on-street parking. For instance, New York City has far fewer charging stations than you may expect, and many of the ones they have are reserved for certain people, such as apartment renters and paying members. 

Are These the Only EV Travel Stops I Can Choose?

There are thousands more stops than the ones we list!In this guide, you’ll find 12 road trips that span the entire country as well as those for specific regions. Within each road trip, you’ll find a map, addresses of charging stations, and attractions to check out along the way. Whether you’re a nature lover, a history buff, or an art enthusiast, there’s something here for you.But in addition, you’ll likely want to download one of the apps listed below to get the most updated details on things like closures and newly opened stations.

What if My Battery Runs Low Between EV Travel Stops?

While the routes above are mapped out so the charging stations aren't farther than the median distance a car can go on a single charge, things can occasionally go wrong. Perhaps you got stuck in traffic or left an interior light on while parked.Here are several ways to ensure your trip is low on stress.First, bear in mind that all electric vehicles have built-in navigation systems to help find charging stations.Second, you can download apps for even more current information on charging stations. Here are several to consider: Third, follow the rules of the EV road. Keep your eyes peeled, plan to stay overnight at hotels that have electric charging stations, and look out for places that commonly have EV chargers. These include:
  • Big box stores like Walmart and Target
  • Larger grocery stores
  • IKEAs
  • Libraries
  • Museums
  • Government buildings
  • Paid parking garages
  • Gas stations
  • Truck and rest stops
  • Shopping malls
  • Community centers

Get the Most Out of Your Electric Car

Whether you’ve invested in an EV or you’ve purchased a non-electric vehicle, there are ways to get the most out of your car. One is to create memories with it, by chasing new experiences, taking road trips, and exploring the country. Another way to get more out of your car, financially, is with auto loan refinancing. Auto loan refinancing can potentially lower your monthly car payments or shorten your loan term. How? If you qualify, you can pay off your existing car loan with a new loan that has a lower interest rate and a different repayment period. With Lantern by SoFi, you can compare auto refinancing rates and prequalify in minutes with no risk to your credit score. See how much you could potentially save today. 

About the Author

Sarah Mattie

Sarah Mattie

Sarah Mattie is a researcher and writer with an education background. She's passionate about teaching others about financial issues and has written extensively for a variety of degree sites and financial institutions. Her writing covers credit cards, lending products, and paying for college, among other economic topics.
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