These Epic Road Trips Don’t Require a Gas Station

These five EV drives are charged up with plenty of adventure.


Places around the world, like Portugal’s scenic Algarve, are getting a lot more accessible for EV travelers.

Photo by Kathleen Rellihan

A new era of road trips is here, as more and more electric vehicle charging networks are popping up across the United States and beyond. Some destinations already offer a robust network of charging stations, or EV experiences to test-drive, such as a Porsche supercar or an all-electric VW camper van. (And it’s easier than ever to rent an EV in the USA.)

The clear upsides are gas savings and a lower footprint, but think of the adventure potential of the charging stops, too. Besides breaking up a trip, stops become prime opportunities to meet fellow drivers and exchange tips and tales.

“Adventure only happens when you get off plan, and EV road trips are a great way to do just that, intentionally or not,” says Eric Noble, founder of the automotive consulting group the CarLab. “There are more chargers now than ever before, but finding a whole series, on one’s planned route, that are unoccupied and in working order, is still a bit of Russian roulette.”

While the EV revolution is still picking up speed, these five drives are charged up with plenty of adventure—from zipping along Switzerland’s Alpine passes to motoring down Oregon’s central coast.

Wide angle view towards the Julier Pass (Graubunden, Switzerland).

Have your own cinematic drive on the Julier Pass, which reaches nearly 7,500 feet of elevation.

Photo by WOOP Productions / Florence Gross

1. Switzerland’s Alpine Passes

Go for: cinematic Alps on the Julier Pass or E-Grand Tour

From James Bond to the cover of Accidently Wes Anderson, the dramatic hairpin turns and rising elevations of Swiss mountain passes have a certain photogenic appeal. But while Sean Connery’s Bond revved his Aston Martin on Furka Pass, take a more modern spin in an EV on Julier Pass, another of Switzerland’s iconic Alpine crosses. Charge up in Zurich, then pass through Switzerland’s oldest town, Chur, and set the GPS for Juliertheater, a Wes Anderson–esque landmark with a seemingly unreal backdrop. This octagonal-shaped wooden tower is worth the photo—with the added plus of a break after the serpentine twists of Julier Pass, rising to 7,546 feet.

Or follow Switzerland’s E-Grand Tour, the world’s first long-distance road trip for electric vehicles (1,021 miles) with more than 300 charging stations, from Geneva to St. Gallen to Lugano.

Where to stay

Ultra-hip 25hours Hotel Zürich Langstrasse overlooks Zurich’s main train station, hence the rooftop “Trainspotting Suites,” but the hotel also has two EV charging stations, as well as Mini Cooper fully electric and hybrids for guests to take on free test drives.

Waves receding from a beach with green grass and black rocks on the shore.

Explore the more than 360-mile Oregon Coast on an EV road trip.

Photo by Kirsten Alana

2. Oregon’s Central Coast

Go for: dunes and bluffs, from Florence to Gold Beach

Oregon is home to one of the largest networks of EV fast-charging stations in the nation, making it one of the best states for an EV road trip. Cannon Beach might be more in the spotlight, but the state’s central coastline is full of dramatic bluffs and wild and rugged beaches. Begin the coastal drive at Florence, a historic and adventure-hub town at the mouth of the Siuslaw River, for a drive south along the coast to uncrowded beaches at Coos Bay and Gold Beach. Stop at the Heceta Head Lighthouse and Sea Lion Caves, and follow Highway 101 to see the dunes that inspired the sci-fi novel-turned-film Dune.

Feeling adventurous? Try flying down the sand dunes (emissions-free) strapped to a board, à la snowboarding, with a lesson at Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area’s Sand Master Park, the country’s first sandboarding park. Stop at Novelli’s Crab & Seafood, a crab shack on the docks, to crack fresh-caught crabs or warm up with its signature clam chowder bread bowl.

Read more: An Outdoor Lover’s Road Trip on the Oregon Coast

Where to stay

Bay Point Landing, a Scandinavian-designed luxury RV campsite and resort in Coos Bay, offers two charging points, as well as modern cabins and Airstreams, plus a saltwater pool and ocean views.

Yellow Volkswagen electric vehicle on a road near water during sunset.

Sunset views from an EV vehicle are easier thanks to the plentiful EV charge points located around the Algarve and Alentejo.

Courtesy Image

3. Portugal’s Algarve and Alentejo Coast

Go for: beach hopping in a VW electric camper van

The future of vanlife is electric, too. Siesta Campers, a camper van rental company in Portugal, is adding five all-electric camper van VWs to its fleet of classic and modern VW camper vans this summer.

Pick up a VW EV. camper van in Faro and drive along Portugal’s scenic Algarve and Alentejo coasts. Beach hop, while heading east toward the Alentajo coast, where the crowds thin and the resorts fade into the distance. Take a dip at Praia da Marinha, and then head toward the fishing town of Salema. Odeceixe is a favorite stop for surfers, families, and hikers. (Don’t forget to stretch out along the undeveloped coastline on Portugal’s Rota Vicentina hiking network.) While Portugal is developing its EV charging infrastructure, it now has more than 5,000 EV charge points with over 1,000 of those located around the Algarve and Alentejo. And charging the VW ID Buzz from 5 to 80 percent takes 30 minutes when using a DC fast charger.

Where to stay

Salema Eco Camp in Algarve and Orbitur Sagres near the surf beaches and town of Sagres let travelers recharge in secluded, natural settings along the coast.

Aerial shot of winding road over water

Opened in 1989, the Atlantic Road can be experienced in an all-electric Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo thanks to EV tour offerings.

Photo by Marius Beck Dahle

4. The Fjords of Norway

Go for: upping the ante with an EV supercar

Hugging Norway’s dramatic fjords in a supercar might be the stuff of dreams, but 62ºNORD makes this a reality with its “Drive the Fjords'' trip. On this six-day self-guided road trip, travelers drive an all-electric Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo while cruising along some of Norway’s most iconic roads: Trollstigen (Troll’s Ladder in English), a steep, narrow mountain pass with 11 hairpin bends through the Sunnmøre alps, and the famed roller-coaster Atlantic Road, a stretch that looks as if it’s floating on the fjords.

If an electric supercar is out of the budget, it won’t be hard finding an EV car to rent—about 80 percent of new cars sold in Norway are electric vehicles, and the country says it will end the sales of internal combustion engine cars in 2025. Charging stops are also plentiful: There are over 10,000 in this country.

Where to stay

After heart-racing views zipping along the fjords in an EV supercar, slow things down at the 30-room Storfjord Hotel. The stay also offers electric-car day trips.

Route 66 pavement sign with Mojave desert red rock mountains.

Gearing up for its centennial in 2026, Route 66 has gotten a lot more EV friendly.

Photo by trekandshoot/Shutterstock

5. Route 66

Go for: An electric remix on a classic

The mother of all road trips, Route 66, has been electrified. Driving America’s historic Highway 66 is synonymous with images of gas-guzzling Mustangs revving through desert highways. Now travelers can take a nostalgic spin in an all-electric ride—perhaps in a Ford Mustang Mach-e—on stretches of this 2,451-mile route from Chicago, Illinois, to Santa Monica, California.

This classic stretch is getting modernized, in time for its centennial in 2026, with over 900 charging stations. Iconic Route 66 iconic landmarks have installed chargers, such as Goffs Schoolhouse in California and the historic La Posada Hotel in Winslow, Arizona. (Elon Musk recharged his Tesla here when the hotel first installed Tesla chargers.) Cherokee Nation added three electric vehicle charging stations on Route 66, including one at its newly opened cultural and welcome center in Vinita, Oklahoma, so drivers can charge while checking out the exhibits and souvenirs. Or charge at the world’s first EV museum, Route 66 Electric Vehicle Museum in Kingsman, Arizona, and spend time checking out electric micro cars from the 1940s–1960s and one of the fastest EVs in the world, Buckeye Bullet 2.5.

Apps to use on an EV road trip

Chargers aren’t always where people expect them. Apps such as PlugShare, A Better Route Planner, and Chargeway help you pick the best route by showing compatible chargers on the way to your destination.

Kathleen Rellihan is a travel journalist and editor covering adventure, culture, climate, and sustainability. Formerly Newsweek‘s travel editor, she contributes to outlets such as Afar, Outside, Time, CNN Travel, and more.
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