This State Is One of the Best for Electric Vehicle Road Trips — Here’s Why

Here's what you need to know about road tripping in Florida in an electric car, according to someone who has done it.

Aerial highway interchange with green landscape in Florida

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Though most visitors know it as a tourism wonderland, Florida is becoming an eco-friendly paradise to boot. Unsurprisingly, the Sunshine State produces more solar power than most others, and now it’s encouraging mass adoption of electric vehicles (EV). Currently ranked second in the nation for EV ownership, Florida is making quiet but undeniable progress toward a more sustainable future.

Florida Power & Light Company (FPL), America’s largest electric utility and the main provider of energy in Florida, recently launched the EV Expressway, an online toolkit for EV owners and renters to plan their routes. The interactive website helps travelers map out road trips in Florida, including where to charge along the way; you can follow a recommended route or make your own. Drivers can also download FPL’s EVolution app to check for the closest charging station, nearby amenities, and port availability.

FPL’s public charging network, known as EVolution, is powered by clean energy. Currently in the process of installing more than 1,000 charging ports at 200-plus locations along major highways and at popular destinations, EVolution is positioned to become the largest public charging network in the state.

It’s an important incentive for Florida: According to FPL, by 2030, one in four vehicles sold in the U.S. will be battery-powered and the number of EVs on Florida’s roads will double.

“In Florida, having a car is a necessity for many residents and travelers, given the vastness of our state and driving distance required to get between popular destinations,” Crystal Stiles, FPL’s executive director of development, distributed technologies, and mobility, told Travel + Leisure. “We’ve seen the number of electric vehicle sales in Florida increase significantly, partly because of overall population growth, which makes it the perfect place to continue to invest in EV infrastructure.”

FPL Evolution chargers at Turnpike Plaza in Pompano, Fla.

Thomas Winter/Courtesy of Florida Power & Light Company

As an EV owner myself, I can attest to the ease of traversing my home state on electricity. With family in northern and Central Florida, a home base in South Florida, and a penchant for trips to the Keys, I’ve crisscrossed just about every highway and byway the state has to offer. Though I usually opt for a Supercharger to get my Tesla back on the road quickly, I know that no matter what off-the-beaten-path destination I have in mind, there will be a charger available along the way to replenish my long-range battery.

If you’re the ultra-efficient type, keep in mind that batteries drain faster in the ruthless Florida heat, so don’t cut it too close between charges. Between the high temperatures and a car loaded with suitcases, your estimated remaining miles will dwindle much faster than the car indicates.

Despite the gas price roller coaster travelers have been riding in recent months, the allure of road trips endures — drivers are simply finding new ways to hit the road, including going electric. (Taking a train between Miami and Orlando will soon be another option.) In many cases, the typically higher price of EV rentals is nullified by the savings accrued from bypassing the gas pump.

FPL Evolution chargers at Turnpike Plaza in West Palm Beach, Fla.

Thomas Winter/Courtesy of Florida Power & Light Company

Still, the main roadblock for potential buyers and renters is the concern that there won’t be enough places to charge along their route or, even worse, that they might have to drive out of their way for a charge. But in Florida, FPL’s EVolution network has charging stations about every 25 miles along major highways like the Turnpike, I-95, and east-west corridors. Chargers are located in convenient spots near highway exits or along major thoroughfares, and almost always at a destination with some sort of amenity for drivers to enjoy while they charge, from Wawa (hot hoagie, anyone?) to Target stores to museums and zoos.

There is one insurmountable difference you’ll encounter by going electric, and it does take some adjustment: “Refueling” stops are never a three-minute fill-up-and-go encounter. But it’s not a drawback so much as an invitation to travel differently; instead of pulling off for drab, unremarkable rest stops and a quick stretch of the legs en route to a destination, the road trip of the future looks like taking in highlights, attractions, and roadside quirks along the way.

After all, the journey is the destination — and electrifying Florida’s future will ensure every driver has time to soak up a little sunshine (even if it’s just through the massive glass roof of your Tesla).

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