Electric vehicles have existed for years but only recently exploded in popularity and availability. Many drivers may be considering the switch, including seasoned road trippers. But how do these high-tech rides work when you hit the open road, compared to the tried-and-true gas vehicles we’ve driven for decades? Read on as we compare electric versus gas vehicles.
Let’s get started!
What Is an Electric Vehicle?
Electric vehicles (or EVs) are cars and trucks with fully electric engines. This is in contrast to the gasoline- or diesel-powered internal combustion engine of traditional vehicles.
Instead of filling up at the gas station, you plug your vehicle into a charger at home or in public. Juicing up can take a few minutes to overnight, depending on the type of vehicle and charger. Aside from this critical difference, EVs operate and appear similar to any other kind of vehicle, other than a lack of engine noise.
Electric vehicles are growing in popularity for several reasons, including financial and environmental. Not only do EVs eliminate the harmful emissions from old-school cars, but they also save owners much on gas.
Do Gas Vehicles Do Better on Road Trips Than Electric Vehicles?
While it’s challenging to conclude, gas cars have some advantages over EVs. However, electric vehicles have their strengths. Let’s look at a few key issues road trippers may be concerned about.
Can Gas Cars Go Further Than Electric Vehicles?
There’s no simple answer to this question. Depending on the gas mileage and size of the tank, a conventional car or truck can go 200-400 miles on a single fill-up. Meanwhile, the average EV driver can expect between 200-300 miles per charge, depending on the type of vehicle, route, and driving style. While regular cars may sometimes go further, distances are generally comparable.
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Is It Difficult to Find Charging Stations for an Electric Vehicle?
While electric vehicles may only have a slightly smaller range than gas or diesel, gas stations are typically plentiful. They allow drivers to fill up at their convenience, extending their drive as long as necessary. While it’s easier every day, it still involves more work and research to find appropriate chargers.
Otherwise, EV drivers are limited to half their distance to ensure they make it home. Finding chargers isn’t extremely complicated, but EVers will need to build time into their schedule to let their vehicle charge instead of spending a few minutes filling up their gas tank.
Are Electric Cars Worse in the Winter?
Unfortunately, cold weather affects all batteries, including those that power electric cars and trucks. Research by AAA found driving distance goes down by up to 40% when temperatures drop to a frigid 20 degrees Fahrenheit compared to a comfortable 75 degrees.
This change can dramatically affect road trip plans or day-to-day use in chilly climates. Automakers are working to reduce these effects, but those planning road trips in sub-freezing temperatures should keep the likelihood of reduced range in mind.
Where Do You Get an Electric Car Repaired on a Road Trip?
There’s no need to worry too much about repairs while on the road. Electric cars are reasonably standard enough that many medium or more prominent towns and cities have at least some mechanics qualified to fix your ride. These mechanics may be at dealerships or independent shops.
However, smaller towns or remote areas may pose more of a challenge. You should ensure your auto insurance or roadside assistance program covers towing to a suitable mechanic. Otherwise, you might be on the hook for a hefty tow bill.
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Can You Drive an Electric Car Across the United States?
With careful planning and plenty of time, it’s possible to drive coast-to-coast in an electric car. While it may not be as straightforward as a traditional vehicle, charging infrastructure has spread widely enough that EV drivers can hopscotch between chargers, eventually making it from the Atlantic to the Pacific or vice versa.
Coastal states will be the easiest to navigate. Unsurprisingly, California tops the nation with the most chargers, followed by New York, Florida, Texas, and Massachusetts. The central and western parts of the country will take more careful planning, with large states like North and South Dakota and Wyoming in the bottom five. Alaska comes in last.
Still, even the least EV-friendly states have dozens of charging stations, including fast chargers. EVers will need to plan for more travel time than regular drivers, as they’ll need to detour off the road between charges rather than powering through.
Is It Better to Drive an Electric Car or Gas Car?
Electric and gas vehicles have advantages and drawbacks. Electric cars are excellent for the environment and save you tons on fuel costs. However, they present some extra challenges when plotting out longer road trips. Still, these are by no means impossible to overcome with a bit of planning. So keep these factors in mind, and you’ll enjoy your next road trip no matter what vehicle takes you there.
Would you prefer to drive an electric or gas car?
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