“It’s a different mind-set, but it doesn’t bother me that I might have to stop for 20 minutes, or even longer,” said Mr. Cowing, 41, a father of two and the chief executive and founder of Protectli, a computer hardware manufacturer. “Especially with kids. By the time we all get out of the car and into the bathroom, grab some snacks, it’s not such a big deal.”
Here are five scenic drives around the United States that are well suited to E.V. travel:
California: up the coast, down through wine country
California is lousy with scenic drives, from its extensive, 840-mile coastline to routes through the magnificent Sierra Nevada. But it’s hard to beat the majesty of the coast north of San Francisco, where Highway 1 twists and turns along vertiginous cliffs and jaw-dropping panoramas of the wild Pacific. Head north from San Francisco to Point Reyes National Seashore before following the coast through Bodega Bay and Jenner, where a meal or an overnight at the Timber Cove Resort or the Sea Ranch Lodge will recharge you for the 60-mile leg to the picturesque town of Mendocino. Loop back and head east through the redwood forests of Philo and Boonville and south to San Francisco via Highway 101, right through Sonoma wine country. You’ll find charging stops in Healdsburg, Sebastopol, Sonoma and Petaluma, and wineries like Ridge and Martin Ray are equipped with charging stations as well.
Washington: White Pass Scenic Byway
The Pacific Northwest is a gold mine of stunning scenery, boasting everything from rugged coastline and towering mountains to wildlife-rich forests. The White Pass Scenic Byway cuts through the heart of Washington from between the towns of Chahalis and Castle Rock to Naches via U.S. Route 12. The 120-mile route is a fine way to explore much of the wild and remote parts of the state, including a stretch that passes through Okanogan-Wenatchee and Gifford Pinchot National Forests and offers views of Mount Rainier. The road, winding past rivers and waterfalls, is known as a place for excellent wildlife spotting; it’s also a great starting point for hikes, fishing trips and more (find suggested itineraries online or via the byway’s trip planner app). The route is also the focus of a new electric vehicle-centric initiative, with eight new E.V. charging stations are currently being built, all of which will have at least one Level 3 fast charger. (A ribbon cutting for the newly electrified route is planned for July 11.)
Colorado: West Elk Loop
Colorado has been a leader in the United States when it comes to electrifying its scenic routes, and has committed to installing charging stations on its 26 scenic and historic byways by 2030. While there’s no way to go wrong when planning a Colorado road trip — circuits in the Rockies, through the desert and around historic mining towns are all options — we love the West Elk Loop for its combination of natural beauty, wildlife viewing and destination-worthy towns. Circling the West Elk Mountains, highlights include the charming towns of Carbondale and Crested Butte, fruit orchards and wineries in the North Fork Valley and the absolutely jaw-dropping beauty of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. The route takes you past opportunities for boating, mountain biking and hot springs dips, plus live music and art festivals in the summertime.
New Mexico: The High Road to the Enchanted Circle
A road trip between Santa Fe and Taos — two standout New Mexico destinations — is a decided win. The route has beautiful scenery, a dose of history and is easily doable in an E.V. Start by accessing the state’s helpful E.V. planning tool and then hit the 56-mile High Road to Taos, which passes through villages with epic views of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Worthy stops include El Santuario de Chimayo, a church built in 1813 that’s still a destination for pilgrims. From Taos, the Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway winds through striking mountain scenery (some of which was featured in “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”) and mountain towns like Red River and Questa — these towns are excellent bases for hiking, fishing and other outdoor adventures. A detour to Taos Ski Valley is well worth taking, both for a charge and for mountain biking.