The newest Tesla Superchargers and other Level 3 DC fast charging stations are peaking between 250-350 kW of power these days, that means most charging stops during trips are usually between 15 and 25 minutes in length. From our observations, while charging most people will stay in their cars and endlessly scroll on their phones. Instead, we have come up with some obvious (and not so obvious) alternative ideas to treat yourself or your EV.
On longer journeys, having to stop every 2-3 hours to charge is actually in sync with the human bladder capacity. Fast charging stations are almost always paired with fuel stations, cafes, or strip malls. In fact, it is exceedingly rare to find a charging station without restroom facilities nearby unless you are traveling in the middle of the night in underdeveloped regions. (Where no one will see you run to the bush)
Stretch Your Legs (and the rest of your body)
Hours of sedentary positions really take a toll on your body and mind. Charging stops during longer drives enforce breaks on the travelers, so why not get out of the driver’s seat and explore the area on foot? If you’ve got a furry and leashed passenger, take them out for a walk.
If you’re feeling extra stiff and sore, try these stretches and movements that can be done inside (and near) your car like no one is watching.
Coffee & Food Break
A short charging stop leaves just enough time for hydration and to get you re-caffeinated on a road trip. However, with longer food breaks with sit-down meals, the EV is likely going to finish charging well before you’re done eating. Watch out for hefty idle-fees charged by station operators, as well as try to be courteous to fellow EV drivers. Especially at busier locations with people queuing to charge, you want to get your car out of the charging stall as quickly as possible once you get enough juice to continue.
DC chargers at shopping centers are typically not as fast as the ones along major highways. This is actually by design, to give the driver more time to run errands. Tesla’s “urban” version of the Supercharger for example, tops out around 72 kW compared to 150 and 250 kW at V2 and V3 Superchargers. There are also benefits to the EV battery to keep charging speeds (and temperatures) lower. This means a typical stop at these urban chargers will take 30-45 minutes giving you plenty of time to pick something out.
Check Tire Pressures and Tire Tread
We’re big advocates for monitoring tire pressures, because most people don’t think to do it unless they have a flat. However, under-inflated tires will have very noticeable effects on efficiency and range of your EV. Many modern cars will have tire pressure monitoring sensors built-in, so it is super easy to check pressures from the car’s information screen. But note that if you’re looking at pressures after taking an extended drive, the pressures will be higher than baseline cold pressures due to tires warming from driving. Just make sure it’s within a few PSI of spec and that all tires are at approximately the same pressures.
This may also be a great time to also give your tires a visual inspection. Are there signs of wear? Any screws sticking out of the tread? Are the tires wearing evenly? If there is a difference in tread depth between front and rear tires, it may be time for a rotation. (This should be done every six months or so anyway)
Shut Eye or Meditation Break
Taking rest breaks is extremely important for remaining alert on road trips. A charging session is actually a perfect length of time to recharge the driver’s batteries too. Unless you feel the location is unsafe, try to recline your seat and set a timer for some shut-eye time.
A guided meditation is another great way to restore energy and calmness, especially during high stress driving situations. Check out numerous apps like Headspace, or one of the many great videos to stream on YouTube.
Short Burst of Productivity
Ok, this one is the opposite of rest and self care. But if you’re a “knowledge worker” out on the road, a charging stop could be the productivity hack you need to complete a task you were dreading and delaying.
Are you familiar with the Pomodoro time management method? Spoiler: It is an effective tactic that uses a simple timer to help you channel your focus and eliminate distractions during 25 minute intervals. Twenty-five minutes also happens to be about the same length of time it takes for a nearly dead EV to change up to around 80%.
Amazon has tons of popular folding desks for Teslas and other EVs specially for use during charging stops.