In Europe, the summer holidays are just around the corner – and with airlines struggling to cope with the surge in traveller numbers, many people are opting to drive to their destination. This could be a cause for nerves among any new electric vehicle (EV) drivers with uncertainty about range and charging, but there’s no need to worry!

At LeasePlan, we’ve been driving EVs for years. We’ve collected some top tips from our colleagues to make your electric road trip a (summer) breeze …

Three things to remember

  1. Plan ahead: With an electric car, a little planning goes a long way. When planning your route, make sure you’ll pass enough charging points (in the right places). Did you know you can use a route planner specially designed for EVs? These are a good option: often they’ll plot charging stops based on your estimated battery level. Planning your charging stops ahead of time means you can combine charging with sightseeing, shopping or meals. Try Lidl for groceries – its stores offer customers free charging!
  2. Find the best apps: In your everyday driving, you’ll probably manage with a single app that helps you find charging stations, but if you’re travelling abroad or even touring multiple countries, you might find one app just isn’t enough. We recommend downloading a few apps, such as:
    • Chargemap: See 450,000 charging points in Europe and filter locations based on your specifications.
    • Plugsurfing: Fast, intuitive app – create a free account to get the most out of it. It’s possible to pay for your charging through Plugsurfing or to use the app to just find stations and not manage payment. 
    • Shell Recharge: Easy-to-use app supporting a wide charging network.
  3. Check your charging cable and card: For longer road trips, it’s important to have a few charging options. We recommend bringing a cable that can plug into a conventional socket, in addition to your normal cable, in case of emergencies. You might also need an extra charging card for your travels. Not all cards will work at all charging locations, so check your planned route before you set off.

Which app is right for you?

With so many charging apps and route planners available, it can be hard to know which to choose. We’ve tested out three of the most popular apps: you can see our verdict on their benefits and drawbacks below.

Chargemap – great for a European road trip

Chargemap is one of the most popular charging apps and is trusted by a large community of users. The contributions of EV drivers – including photos, ratings and updates – are essential to the app’s success. However, for journeys outside Europe we recommend looking at more local apps.

Pros Cons
  • Lots of filtering possibilities, including cable type, networks and station ratings
  • Chargemap pass is heavily promoted in the app
  • Allows you to adjust battery start and end levels
  • No option to select alternative routes
  • Features users’ photos and ratings of charging stations


Shell Recharge – find a charger quickly and easily

Shell Recharge focuses purely on chargers – and it does the job well! The app has information on 300,000 charging points in Europe, with real-time details on prices and charger availability. With a simple design and an intuitive user interface, it’s a pleasure to use. The only thing missing is a route-planning feature (but there are plenty of other apps for that).

Pros Cons
  • Fast, easy-to-use mobile app
  • No route-planning feature
  • Great network coverage


  • Shows an overview of your charge history and billing


A Better Routeplanner – good for planning longer journeys ahead of time

A Better Routeplanner (ABRP) is best for mapping out longer trips, ahead of time. You’re able to customise your journey in great detail, including information such as your EV make and model, starting battery charge, extra weight, maximum speed and battery degradation. You can also choose the types of chargers or charging network you prefer.
The web browser version isn’t the easiest website to use so we recommend downloading the app for a better user experience.



  • Allows you to select your car make and model
  • Web version isn’t easy to use
  • Lets you adjust your battery’s starting level, e.g. you can tell the app if you’re setting out with 60% charge
  • No overview of charging station availability
  • Functionality lets you choose stops at specific locations or with certain facilities

Tales from the road

Of course, charging is only one aspect of driving an EV – but when it comes to taking an electric car on a long trip, it’s most common concern we hear. Hopefully, the above advice will put drivers’ minds at rest, but if you’re curious to hear from real EV drivers about their holiday experiences, check out our EV road trip stories!

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