Long drive ahead? Some tips to get charging savvy

04 Jun 2024

These can help you plan your long-distance charging

Planning a cross-country adventure, driving far for a work event, or want to tick off some places on your bucket list in your EV? The new horizons that long-distance driving bring can be really rewarding. Especially when you’ve taken the guesswork out of knowing how often you’ll need to stop to recharge.

The key to happy long-distance driving lies in understanding some key factors. Things like your specific journey, make and model of your electric vehicle, terrain and driving conditions should all be thought about. Because they’ll influence how much charging you could expect to do long-distance.

Plus, while some things you’ll get to know by experience, there are others that are useful to know straight away. And we can help with that. Let's get started with a few suggestions.

1. Know your EV’s range

As someone wise said once: ‘Knowing your EV is as important as knowing yourself’. Okay, it was us, but we stand by it. Understanding your vehicle’s range – in other words, how far it can drive on a certain % of charge – is really useful. It can help you calculate at what point in your route you’ll need to stop for charging. That can help with your planning, which can give you peace of mind, too. Check your manual and speak to your manufacturer to get the low down on those numbers, and you’ll thank yourself repeatedly.

2. Check your route

Once you know your range, turn your attention to your route – specifically, the charging sites along it that are available, and which ones will fall into your range requirements. Even if you’re doing a long drive you’ve done before, consider checking out what chargers are around every time, because the national charging infrastructure might have gained some new additions since the last time you took that journey.

Tip: To find chargers on your planned route, use EV trip planners or navigation apps. And don’t forget to check out our free bp pulse app. Search for chargers, filter for preferred charger speed, and check connector type compatibility, too. Easy.

Find a public EV charger with our live map >

3. Consider stopping earlier than you need to

If you’re doing a particularly long drive, can’t shake range anxiety, or just like feeling prepared for anything, you might want to consider charging a little ahead of schedule. Or turning every toilet or coffee break a chance to recharge too, even it’s just for a short burst. This ‘little and often’ approach (sometimes known as the ABC method, or ‘Always Be Charging’) could increase the likelihood of always being sufficiently topped up, which could be handy on longer drives.

You might like this approach if you’re new to the EV world and are still finding your feet, or are driving long distances and want to feel charging confident every mile. So don’t be afraid to deviate from your planned schedule for shorter breaks, more often. This may also be extra useful on days when things are a little out of the ordinary, too – peak holiday days, unusual driving terrain, or extreme weather conditions.

4. Dig into charger power and how it can fluctuate

It’s good to know that the charging speed you’ll see on a public network charger means the maximum speed possible at that charger, not a guaranteed speed for your EV.

That's because how fast a charger outputs its power will be influenced by key factors like your own EV’s make and model, weather, the temperature of the day, and how busy a charging site is. Understanding this can help you make practical charging stops, such as maybe factoring in one or two more charging stops that you think are necessary, or stopping to charge a little earlier than your range needs, if you think you need to. Find out more about what can influence charging power and you’ll be able to make handy adjustments that are right for you and your needs.

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.

5. Go down memory lane

Looking back on previous long-distance trips you’ve taken in your EV can be really constructive. Just as nothing’s quite like the movies, we all know that real life journeys can be different to how they look on paper. There may be a lengthy diversion. The heavens may open just as you get to the motorway. You might get lost. If you use these to factor in some imaginary curve balls into your scheduling, you’ll already be ahead of the game on your trip, too, using that hard-won experience to make pragmatic charging decisions ahead of time. This could mean finding alternative charging sites around busy areas, building in extra time for charging, or even just putting in some extra snacks into the boot. There really is no such thing as too much planning!

6. On the day, stay flexible and informed

As you head out on the road, stay in that 'ready-for-anything' mindset. Keep one ear out for news and real time events that might affect your journey such as traffic conditions, weather changes, and unexpected delays. Allow yourself time to check things over before you leave, and use those charging stops as opportunities to check on the road and charging conditions too. And of course, keep an eye on your battery level and give yourself some wiggle room to make adjustments if you need.

Happy travels, wherever you go, and we look forward to keeping you topped up on the road.

Related articles

Long distance driving in your EV


Long distance driving in your EV

Planning your first EV cross-country trip? These 10 tips can help you get in charge of your charging, mile after mile.

Long commute? Make EVs work for you


Long commute? Make EVs work for you

Run the numbers – it doesn’t take long to work out that EVs can be the ideal partner for your trip to the office.

Essential EV route planning tips


Essential EV route planning tips

Enjoy a successful road trip in your electric car by following essential route planning steps and vehicle checks