EV long distance driving tips to share with clients

Insights and comments from EV drivers that could benefit your customers.

I once recorded a conversation with a potential electric vehicle (EV) buyer, where we talked about EV charging at home — and briefly discussed how to charge when traveling.

Now, with the increase of electric vehicles on Canadian roads, we connected with new EV drivers, who shared their advice for long distance driving.

Johanne is the customer service and project coordinator at ChargeHub, and one of the eight EV drivers in our team. She’s completed several long distance EV trips, including from Montreal to Lac-Saint-Jean in Quebec, and Montreal (Que.) to Niagara Falls (Ont.).

Tristan is our marketing manager. He doesn’t own a personal vehicle, but was provided a 2020 Chevy Bolt by Bourgeois Chevrolet last summer to drive from Montreal to the Gaspé Peninsula, also in Quebec — a roundtrip of about 2,500 kilometres.

Here are their tips on long distance driving in an EV:

Plan your EV charging stops during your road trips

“It requires more planning; you can’t simply hit the road without having an idea of where you’ll charge your EV beforehand,” said Johanne. “That’s something that’s different. But I appreciate it because it makes me slow down and enjoy the full experience of the trip.”

“This means planning for the unexpected too. I always look at the map for two-to-three charging locations. My EV is a 2019 Chevy Bolt with 400 km of autonomy and I make a charging session stop after driving 200-250 kilometres,” said Johanne. “I prefer this because, say I drive to a town that only has one charging station. If I arrive on-site and find a defective charging station, I know I still have 200 kilometres of autonomy to drive to my next choice.”

Take advantage of one-pedal driving

For Tristan, one of his favourite discoveries during his EV road trip was learning one-pedal driving.

“It’s something that I practiced right away. I found the experience fun; to be able to brake by softening the weight of your foot on the pedal. Doing so also saves battery energy, because it activates regenerative braking,” said Tristan. “It made me realize that managing the EV’s autonomy is an art. What I mean is, the driving range is displayed in the dashboard and tells you when you are driving in an optimal way. At one point the Bolt displayed that I had about 380 kilometres of range left. But with one-pedal driving, I could easily drive up to 450 kilometres.”

According to Johanne, “It’s kind of like driving a golf cart. You put pressure on the pedal to go forward and when you lift your foot, it slows down.”

Change the way you drive and see the road

When we traveled to Lac-Saint-Jean, we planned to have dinner in La Tuque, a city I had never visited before, nor knew anything about,” said Johanne. “We went there because it was well positioned in our driving schedule, and because there were charging stations in the downtown area with several restaurants that interested us. We parked and plugged in at the charging station in the municipal library’s parking lot, and walked no more than five minutes to find a good restaurant.”

“It was pleasant,” Johanne recalled. If she did not have an EV, she said she probably would never have made the stop or discovered a new place. When she had a gasoline-engine car, she would often try to make her trips in one shot.

“For me, it makes me slow down and appreciate the experience of the trip, rather than trying to get to my destination as fast as possible,” said Johanne.

A 360-degree overview of EVs

If your dealership is selling EVs, of course you need to know the vehicles well. But it isn’t just product knowledge that makes the sell — it’s also providing insights on the EV lifestyle. It’s the 360-degree overview that your dealership provides.

“More and more of our customers call me to ask lifestyle-specific questions. They appreciate having the opinion of an EV owner who lives it every day. It’s always a pleasure to share my experiences,” said Johanne.

As for Tristan, when asked if the road trip influenced him in any way to purchase an EV, he said: “It definitely has. Although I don’t need a vehicle for my current living situation, I considered getting a used electric car after my trip. It was a really cool experience.”

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