The holiday season is the busiest time of year on the road and at shopping centers. The National Retail Federation projects 2013 holiday sales to rise by 3.9%, and for some retailers, the holiday season can represent as much as 20 to 40% of annual sales. For the over 150,000 electric vehicle (EV) drivers in the U.S., it is important to know where they can shop and travel while plugging in. Check out the below tips to help make sure you’re charged up for all of your holiday travel and shopping, while staying safe and saving money.
#1: Traveling During the Holidays -- Use An Online Trip Planner
Use the ChargePoint online trip planner to build a road trip and find which charging stations to use along the way. If you’re flying, check the ChargePoint map, to see if your local airport has a charging station. You can plug in while you fly and make sure that your car has a full charge to get you home upon your return. Also to save money and miles on your car, you can rent an EV for any of your holiday travels.
#2: Crowded Parking Lots – Check Out EV Priority Parking
The holidays are always a crazy time at grocery stores, malls and other retailers. Check out the ChargePoint map to see where charging stations are located in your area.
Not only can you charge up while shopping, you may also get priority parking, which is a great perk when facing the seasonal parking lot traffic jams. Some major retailers in the Bay Area who offer their customers ChargePoint stations, include Target, Whole Foods, Mollie Stones, and Safeway.
#3: Save Money -- Charge During Off Peak Hours
Since winter electric bills generally run high, you can switch to Time-of-Use rate and pay less on your electric bill when charging at off-peak hours. Some utility providers also offer lower rates for alternative fueled cars. Ask your utility provider if they offer a Time-of-Use rate or an Alternative Fuel Rate.
#4: Maximize EV Efficiency -- Check Your Tire Pressure
For safety reasons alone, it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on your tire pressure, and some EV drivers say that by keeping your tire pressure at maximum capacity, you can also help to increase range. It is very important however, to first check your vehicle’s manual for recommended pressure levels or refer to an online tool.
#5: Protect Against Cold Weather -- Keep Charging
Thermal management systems are designed to keep your battery warm if temperatures outside drop too low. If your EV has a thermal management system, cold winter weather makes it more likely that your vehicle will lose battery energy even when it's parked and not in use. When the thermal management system kicks in, it uses battery energy and can reduce the normal range of an EV by 30 percent or more. You should also consider using your car heater in moderation to increase range. If possible, park indoors to save battery life or plug in more often to stay charged and warm.
ChargePoint is the largest and most open electric vehicle (EV) charging network in the world, with more than 14,000 charging locations and a 65%+ market share. Ranked #1 by leading independent research firm, Navigant Research, ChargePoint makes advanced hardware and best-in-class cloud based software. ChargePoint’s open network is utilized by many leading EV hardware makers and encourages all EV charging manufacturers to join.
ChargePoint also manages the only mobile app that provides EV drivers with real-time information, including availability of charging locations throughout the nation. Every 11 seconds, a driver connects to a ChargePoint station and by initiating over 3 million charging sessions, ChargePoint drivers have saved over 2.6 million gallons of gasoline and avoided 20 million pounds of CO2 emissions.
For more information about ChargePoint, visit www.chargepoint.com.