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Sunday, May 26, 2024

EV Overlanding: 3 Steps for Making It Work

Any overlanding trip requires a lot of planning and preparation. But when you’re planning an EV overlanding trip, the planning and preparation phase becomes all the more important.

Though the nationwide network of charging stations is rapidly expanding, many areas still need more public infrastructure for charging electric vehicles. What’s more, where you might find a gas station near your favorite overlanding spot in the mountains, you might not have access to an EV charging station.

But, planning and preparation are just part of the equation…

Let’s have a look at three critical steps to make EV overlanding a success.

Table of Contents:

Take Time to Plan and Prepare

overland in an ev

Photo by blyjak via iStock

As I noted a moment ago, the planning and preparation stage of your EV overlanding trip is critical for your success.

On the one hand, you have to be aware of your vehicle’s base battery capacity and range, that way you can find locations along your route where you can charge up. On the other hand, you have to determine how the added weight of your overlanding gear (whether that’s gear loaded into your vehicle, towing a trailer with your EV, or a combination thereof) affects your vehicle’s range.

Moreover, the terrain on which you’re traveling needs to factor into your planning. For example, if you’re in rugged, mountainous terrain, your EV will use more power than if you’re cruising along a flat highway. Likewise, if you’re overlanding in cold weather, your EV will lose even more range.

ev overlanding consider the range of your vehicle

Photo by Marcus Lindstrom via iStock

Of course, you’ll have to plan your trip with your vehicle’s range in mind. For example, there are only 11 Tesla Superchargers in the entire state of Wyoming. In some cases, there are hundreds of miles between them. Now, obviously, you can charge your Tesla or any other EV at any charging station (or anywhere with shore power, like an RV park). But the point remains – your EV’s range and the availability of charging stations need to factor heavily into planning your EV overlanding adventures.

Your best bet is to take a few practice trips to get a feel for your vehicle’s range in various weather conditions and terrain. Load your EV up with gear, hook up your trailer, and figure out how those elements affect your range as well.

Of course, you have to pick an appropriate EV for overlanding in the first place, too! A Rivian R1T is a great choice. A Chevy Bolt, maybe not!

EV Overlanding is Better With a Trailer

aero teardrop with rivian

I know what you’re thinking…

I just spent all that time talking about EV range, and now I’m suggesting you add a trailer to the mix, which definitely reduces range. What gives?

Well, it’s simple – the benefits of having a trailer for EV overlanding outweigh the cost of reduced range. I mean, I’m all for car camping, but if I’m taking an extended trip, I’d rather be comfortable and have to stop a few more times to charge my vehicle than have a longer range and cramped sleeping quarters.

Besides, if you get the right trailer, your EV’s range will take less of a hit.

Aero Teardrops Steel Interior 3

For example, a compact teardrop trailer is one of the best EV overlanding options you can buy. Think about it – these trailers are more aerodynamic and weigh much less than traditional trailers. My 27-foot bumper pull trailer is about 10 feet tall, has the aerodynamics of a semi-truck, and weighs nearly 6,000 pounds dry.

However, a teardrop trailer like the Aero Teardrops Steel shown above and below is just 5.5 feet tall and weighs 1,500 pounds dry. That kind of setup is far better for EV overlanding.

Aside from the benefits of having an actual bed to sleep in at night, teardrop trailers like the Steel offer other amenities that will make your EV overlanding trip that much better. For example, you can add a bunk and a rooftop tent to the trailer to expand the sleeping capacity from two to five people. That means you can load up your EV with your significant other and your kids, and head out for a fun family adventure. That’s hard to do when the only place to sleep is in your car!

aero teardrops interior 4

Another benefit of EV overlanding with a compact teardrop trailer is that the trailer is self-contained. You can run the trailer lights and fan off its battery rather than using power from your EV. You can even add a solar power system to keep your trailer batteries topped off.

Perhaps best of all, having a trailer like the Aero Teardrops Steel gives you a galley space where you can keep your food items and prepare tasty meals on the road. Again, if you’re overlanding in your EV, you’ll have far less usable space in your vehicle for food storage and prep space. Towing a compact trailer alleviates this issue.

Of course, this just scratches the surface of what a teardrop trailer provides for your EV overlanding trips. Get more details about the benefits you can derive from a teardrop trailer by visiting Aero Teardrops. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know the Aero Teardrops team, and a better bunch of people you will not find!

Bring Necessary Gear for EV Overlanding

ev overlanding have the right plugs

Photo by swissmediavision via iStock

Necessary gear for EV overlanding doesn’t just refer to your usual camping stuff like bedding, flashlights, food and water, and so forth.

For example, upgrading the tires to all-terrains and adding a full-size spare tire are excellent ideas for overlanding trips, even if you aren’t planning much off-road adventuring.

When overlanding in an EV, you also need to have the required charging connections. If you have a Tesla, bring your J1772 to Tesla adapter for Level 1 and Level 2 charging. A J1772 extension cable is a good idea, too.

Of course, what you don’t want to do when EV overlanding is overload your vehicle with stuff. This means you need to strike a balance between bringing what you need and keeping the added weight to a minimum to spare your EV’s range.

At the end of the day, EV overlanding isn’t that different from overlanding in a gas-powered vehicle. You still need to plan and prepare, have the right gear, and have a comfortable space to rest, cook, and hang out. As EVs become more popular, range issues will be minimized, and more and more manufacturers will offer overlanding features to their vehicles. Until then, it’s on you to make sure your EV overlanding outfit is ready for the road!

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