You’ve checked and double-checked. The hotels are booked. Everything’s packed. Your playlist is set. And your electric car is fully charged and ready to go. It’s holiday time! Although … Is it even feasible to take an electric car on holiday? And if so, what’s the best way to do it?
These are important questions. Which is why our colleagues selflessly cast their normal work aside to bravely go on holiday in search of the answers taking into account all safety measures.
Tried and tested
By sending out two teams, we were able to examine which driving style is best when holidaying with an electric car. We eliminated as many variables as possible:
- We used two completely identical, fully electric Mercedes EQC vehicles.
- Both journeyed 942 kilometres from Almere (Netherlands) to Sölden (Austria).
- They left at the exact same moment and travelled the exact same route.
The one variable we allowed?
Speed. Team Hypermilen was restricted to 100 km/h. Team High Speed was permitted to drive at the speed limit and up to 140 km/h on roads in Germany that have no speed limit.
Eventually, team High Speed arrived at the end destination three hours after Hypermilen.
How is this possible? Hypermilen completed the journey in fifteen hours. This included the hour and a half they were stuck in traffic and the three charging stops they made. They were faster, despite their speed limit, because High Speed had to stop and recharge on two extra occasions.
Preparation is key
Begin your preparation by planning a route. The website A better route planner is one of many that will help you out. Make sure you examine your planned route properly. Note down which fast chargers are available along your way. Check which suppliers are connected to your charge card. And make sure you know how your car works and which settings will reduce battery consumption.
Include your navigation system in your preparations. It’s possible to set options for the fastest and shortest routes. Be aware that your navigation system might reroute you onto an alternative route without notifying you. Stay on top of the situation, or you might find yourself with a flat battery without a charger in sight.
Cruise at 110 km/h
At times, Hypermilen felt terribly restricted by the 100 km/h limit. And experience shows that driving at 110 km/h gives you much better momentum. It’s also safer. The extra 10 km/h makes a huge difference if you’re on a two-lane freeway passing a truck. The difference in energy consumption between 100 km/h and 110 km/h is also relatively low.
Take a break every two hours
General safety advice also tells you to plan a short break every two hours. There’s a bonus here. Young children become accustomed to the rhythm very quickly. It’s also good for your electric vehicle. Unlike a regular car with a combustion engine, you should charge an electric car when you can, not when you have to. The short breaks you take are enough to recharge the battery for the next part of your trip.
Navigate from fast charger to fast charger
For this reason, we recommend you travel from fast charger to fast charger. Unfortunately, most navigation systems lack the ability to set a route based around fast chargers—the ones with a minimum of 175 kW—or a specific brand of charger. This brings you back to your planning and preparation. It’s worth taking the extra time to plan a route that allows you to visit fast chargers.
10 extra tips
- Know your car. Investigate all the options.
- Know which charge card/tag works where.
- Make sure you download the right apps before you hit the road.
- Always keep a sufficient reserve capacity in your car battery. Our advice? Plan to have at least 10% up your sleeve at all times.
- Use your car app to check progression when charging. It sometimes charges faster than expected. This puts you back on the road faster.
- Filter your apps based on the type of fast charger. Our advice: >50 kW or >175 kW.
- Finished charging? Unplug straight away. There’s no need to stay connected to the fast charger. Make it available for the next driver.
- Make sure your passenger is an active co-driver. And make sure they’re suitably prepared for the trip with a knowledge of the car and the apps you’re using.
- Pick ‘smart travel days’; e.g. a trip from Sunday to Sunday.
- Fast chargers are indicated on traffic signs. Nice and handy.
Stay on track
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The Athlon office in Almere, the Netherlands, accommodates over 600 colleagues – in non-corona times that is. Additionally, the location has a large parking garage where ex-lease cars are parked until they are sold at auctions or through the Athlon Car Outlet, where we sell ex-lease cars to the public.
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