One of the most common questions we hear at Cartelligent from clients who are thinking about switching to an electric vehicle is “How can I charge it when I’m travelling?” As recent EV owners, my husband and I recently put this to the test when we took our brand new, all-electric Volkswagen ID.4 up to Mendocino County for the weekend.

We had booked an Airbnb in Albion a couple months in advance. Once we knew we were getting an electric car, we reached out to the owner to see if it would be possible to plug it in while we were there. He was a little unsure about it, but said to reach out if we needed to give it a try.

The ID.4 has a 240+ mile battery so driving up to Mendocino from our home in Marin was no problem at all. We took Highway 1 up the coast so we could enjoy the majestic views on the drive up.

We had downloaded a number of apps including Chargepoint and EV Go, so we know there were chargers in Mendocino itself as well as several in the surrounding areas. What we did not realize was that all EV charging stations are not created equally.

The first day we stopped at Van Damme State Park thinking we could charge while we hiked and come back to a full car.

Volkswagen ID.4 charging at Van Damme State Beach

We soon discovered that this charger only got around 20 miles per hour–unless we were on a 12 hour hike, this was not going to work out!

The next day we drove down to Point Arena and used the public chargers there while we explored the town. Once again we had a gorgeous drive, but the car only charged at a trickle.

Volkswagen ID.4 charging in Point Arena

We did get some really yummy muffins from Franny’s Cup & Saucer.

The next day we tried the ‘big city’ and went up to Fort Bragg. After two hours of charging, we were only up 40 miles–and it was 20 miles each way to get up there!

Volkswagen ID.4 charging in Fort Bragg

It was time to reach out to our Airbnb host. We explained the situation and that we weren’t sure we could get home if we weren’t able to charge at the property. He was hesitant about how much it would cost him, so we offered to leave a little extra in cash when we left. We stopped at a hardware store to pick up an extra-long extension cord and we were finally able to get a decent charge.

Volkswagen ID.4 charging in Albion

That said, we still opted to plug in when we went down to Elk for breakfast on our last day. We got a few miles on the car while we soaked in phenomenal views and ate at Queenies Roadhouse Cafe.

Volkswagen ID.4 charging in Elk

Gorgeous views in Elk

On the way home, we found a fast-charger in Cloverdale and couldn’t resist topping off while we grabbed a bite to eat!

Volkswagen ID.4 charging in Cloverdale

So lessons learned, do your research on how fast the chargers are where you’re going. The best answer is a fast charger or the ability to charge at the place you’re staying. It was a fun adventure and we’re definitely wiser about road charging than we were before embarking upon it!

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