Destination Charging

Destination Charging: What Is It, Why Is It Important, and How To Find It?

Destination Charging: what is it and why is it important during multi-day long trips?

This article will dive into the importance of destination charging, why it is crucial for multi-day long trips, and where to find destination charging. 

While 83% of electric vehicle (EV) owners charge at home, per National Idaho Laboratory, charging during long trips (200+ miles) requires the use of DC Fast Charging (DCFC) and destination charging. DCFC is great while making stops along the highway for food or restroom breaks, but what about while staying overnight at the hotel or friends/family? Since most charging is done overnight since it is convenient, why not take advantage of overnight charging at the hotel while making long distance voyages?

What is Destination Charging?

In brief, destination charging is overnight charging at the end of a leg during a multi-day long trip. This can be at or near a hotel, AirBnb, or friend’s/family’s house. 

To further understand this, It is best to know the typical three charging locations and the primary use for each. The three typical charging locations are at home, at public charging stations, and at destination charging locations. 

Home charging is utilized for the vast majority of charging events. Because it is at the home and can recharge the EV overnight, it is by far the most typical since it is readily available and convenient. Public charging at Level 2 and DCFC speeds are available for the infrequent need for a quick recharge. Specifically, Level 2 charging is great for when low on range while shopping or eating at a restaurant for an extra 25 miles of range per hour, while DCFC is for the essential need to recharge an EV to 80% SOC (State of Charge) within around 30 minutes during long trips. 

Lastly, there is destination charging. 

Why Is Destination Charging Important?

By utilizing destination charging, EV drivers can travel much faster since the electric car is charged to 100% overnight. This is much better than having to stop at an additional or two DCFC station after departing the hotel.

To further illustrate this point, see the two planned routes from Morro Bay, California to Phoenix, Arizona in a 2020 Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus with an overnight stop in Palm Springs, California. Furthermore, Scenario A does not have destination charging while Scenario B does. 

Destination Charging: Calculation
Scenario A: No Destination Charging
Destination Charging: Calculation
Scenario B: Destination Charging

As you can see, by utilizing destination charging in this particular trip, Scenario B saves two DCFC stops, 41 minutes time spent charging, 58 miles traveled, and 1 hour and 54 minutes total travel time. In essence, charging at the hotel overnight saved nearly 2 hours of travel time! The time spent charging overnight is not counted since the driver would already just be sleeping and the car would just be parked. 

How To Find Destination Charging?

There are numerous ways to find electric car charging stations. 

Primarily, EV drivers use the Plugshare website and app as their first resource to find a place to charge. As detailed in a previous article, How to Use Plugshare, Plugshare is a great tool for EV drivers to search, rate, and navigate to charging stations.

Within the website, users can filter charging stations with a hotel/lodging amenity. This will only show charging stations with hotels nearby–ergo destination charging! Searching for plugs with hotels/lodging as a nearby amenity is not currently available in the smartphone app just yet. 

Destination Charging: Plugshare
Hotels with Destination Charging via Plugshare

Another great resource is found within the website and app! While you are looking for a hotel, you can add a charging station amenity filter to narrow your results. From there, you will only see hotels in the specified area that have charging stations. Keep in mind may not show all hotels or AirBnBs with a plug. It is best to double check with Plugshare since Plugshare is by far more accurate. 

Destination Charging:
Destination Charging Filter In

How about this filter for Airbnb? Unfortunately, Airbnb does not have a charging station filter yet. Hopefully, it will in a future update.

Lastly, you may be able to charge at your friend’s or family’s house in the event you stay with them. Even if they only have a 120-volt outlet (regular household outlet) for Level 1 charging, it is still better than nothing. Charging on Level 1 overnight will provide around 60 miles of range. In other words, despite a slow trickle charge, destination charging on Level 1 will provide an hour of travel time on the road. Again, much better than having to immediately stop and charge at a DCFC station.  

Closing Thoughts:

As explained, destination charging is very helpful for multi-day long road trips. While it does not apply to plug-in hybrids (PHEV) since they have gas tank of 300+ miles, it is very helpful to all-electric cars (known as BEV or Battery Electric Vehicle). 

The aforementioned example of how the Tesla Model 3 saved nearly 2 hours of trip time from Morro Bay to Phoenix by using destination charging highlights the advantage of searching for a hotel that has a charging station. Even if that hotel costs a little bit extra, saving hours in a long trip is well worth it. 

One last thing to note is that hotels are quickly adding chargers as they are realizing the value. Electric car hotel guests are greatly motivated to find hotels with destination charging. To monetize this, hotels are keeping up with the trends and are installing them as they can. One notable chain that comes to mind is Best Western Plus. 

Personally, I have found Best Western to have at least one charger at their locations. Check back every once in a while to your favorite or frequented hotels to see if they have added any. If not, leave a comment with management.

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