Long distance driving in your EV

011 Mar 2024

Here are ten snappy ways to go the distance

If you’re new to the EV club or your usual EV driving pattern is changing, you might be keen to explore long distance EV driving and have some questions. How can you make your charge last across those extra miles? How often should you top up?

We’ve got ten tips for longer trips to get you feeling long distance confident. Some can be done from the comfort of your own sofa. Why not make a brew and dive in?

1. Include charging stations in your route planning

A little pro-activity is the secret to a happy EV life. EV planning tools or apps online can help with planning your route – and identifying a back-up route too if you need it (see number 9.) When you know which charging stations are on your way, ahead of time, you’ll feel confident with your top up options before you’ve even hit the road.

Plus, with many of our chargers near handy shops, cafes and restaurants, not to mention family attractions, you can still seize opportunities for spontaneity if you want. Just download our free bp pulse app to see where you’ll find us.

Find a public charging point near you by downloading the bp pulse app >

2. 100% charging can help you go further

We've written before about how it’s considered good charging to stick to a maximum of an 80% charge, but for longer journeys, you might consider if it makes sense to charge to 100%, instead for the longest range possible for your vehicle. This could mean fewer charging breaks along the way, which can be handy when going cross-country.

3. Knowing your range is a game-changer

For range-confidence on lengthy journeys, dig into the tech. In simple terms, as we’ve written here, the higher the kWh rating of your battery, the more battery charge it can take in, so the longer the range. Your driving speed, temperature of the day, and terrain are also things to bear in mind as they can affect range too. Having this insight can help you make strategic charging decisions on the road, such as how often you’ll need to stop.

Tip: Look at your manual or consult your manufacturer to find out your range, specific to your make and model. And ask your hiring company if you’re hiring. And find out if your car has regenerative braking, which can act like ‘free charging’ by putting charge back into your vehicle when you slow or brake – useful on long journeys.

4. Fast-charging stations can help if you’re in a hurry

When possible, use fast-charging stations for shorter charging times when you’re out on the road. As a rule, fast chargers can top up your battery’s charge in a relatively short amount of time, allowing you to continue your journey sooner. Your make and model will also affect your charging speed.

Tip: Around 70% of the population in the UK lives within a five-mile radius of one of our bp pulse rapid or ultra-fast charge points. You can find them on our app – just filter by charge speed to pinpoint those faster ones.

5. Expect to charge on longer journeys

Time spent charging is part of EV life – and it can be an enjoyable aspect. Knowing that it’s likely during those longer trips, adding in a realistic buffer of time to your journey length and ETA, and turning charging into downtime with a coffee, phone call, snack or trip to the shops, depending on your location, can help you make the most of it.

6. Make the most of live updates

In much the same way as you might with a train or petrol car journey, getting real time updates is a good way to travel. In the EV world, this can mean checking the availability of charging stations along your route, such as during peak travel times. And use our live map, so you can see what chargers are available to use near you.

7. Pacing yourself can conserve your EV's energy

Sticking to a steady pace on the road when speeding up or slowing down can help your car’s charge last longer. Aiming for gradual accelerations and anticipating when you have to slow down and doing it in good time, can make a difference over a longer journey.

Find out more about public EV charging

We'll keep your electric vehicle moving as you travel around the UK with our network of charging points—so you can plug in, power up, and go.

8. A good kit keeps you charging ready

Yes, we’re in that prep mindset again! Keep a kit of any charging cables, cards, adaptors, and memberships for the road, so you can access a variety of chargers out there. And, while you’re at it, why not also take along water, snacks, and a first-aid kit, too.

9. Have a plan B

Just as you would do with most travel, it can be a good idea to have a backup plan just in case of unexpected events, like extreme weather conditions, longer queues at popular charging stations during busy days, or when a charging station may be unable to connect to a network. Having an alternative in your back pocket can help you make clued-up adjustments to your original plan if you need.

10. Be a proud EV geek

Knowledge really is power, both for short and long journeys in the EV world. It’s a dynamic industry, with change and investment a near constant. New charging stations are regularly being installed. The government is committing to accelerate EV rollout across the country to further its goal of increasing the current number of around 50,000 public chargers up to 300,000 by 2030. While, in the cars themselves, battery technology and EVs are regularly advancing. Keeping up to date with the EV world can help you navigate longer journeys and networks with confidence and a bit of familiarity.

Tip: Why not sign up for online news alerts, follow your EV charging provider online, and, of course, stick around and explore our Going Electric page for more tips and news.

We hope these ten tips support your cross-country reunion, work meeting, or holiday. Happy driving and charging, and see you out there.

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