Jack Scarlett, Head of Automotive Content at Fully Charged Show, reflects on a 2,000 mile electric vehicle road trip across Europe. Read and watch his thoughts below.
Last month, and entirely by chance, we found ourselves with two shoots scheduled in Germany inside the same week: one in Zwickau, visiting VW’s state-of-the-art EV factory and one in Munich to have a sniff around the utterly remarkable Mercedes EQXX.
Which was all the excuse Andy, Louis and I needed to take a wintery European road trip.
Now, depending on who you ask, driving long distances, in foreign countries, in an electric car can be fraught with uncertainty.
We EV drivers like to meticulously plan ahead and know exactly where and when our stops will be, in order to minimise risk of any traumatic charging fiascos.
This is tricky when you’re covering hundreds of miles a day in unfamiliar territory.
So, having now completed the near-2,000 mile round trip, I’m here to share a shocking revelation: it was bloody easy.
Over the seven days we must have made over 30 charge stops between our two cars. Do you know how many times something, anything went wrong? None.
Not a sausage. No broken chargers, no lengthy queues. It was a seamless, effortless, joyous experience.
We have two heroes to thank for this: one is the Ionity network, which we used almost exclusively during the trip.
These 350kw chargers are abundant across Europe. They’re fast and they work. My only complaint concerns the price: they are frighteningly expensive.
Truthfully, doing the whole journey in a thirsty, petrol-powered Range Rover would barely have been cheaper.
But the star of the trip, the main reason for our effortless charging experience was my newly purchased Chargemap card.
Chargemap is Europe’s equivalent of Zapmap, but with one standout bonus feature: as well as an app which helps you locate nearby chargers, sort them by speed and gauge their availability, Chargemap also sells a membership card which can be used to activate just about every charger on continental Europe, resulting in a Tesla-like experience.
No flicking through a zillion apps, no rummaging for the right RFID on your keychain with cold fingers. One card to rule them all. Park, plug, tap, zap, done.
Which raises a burning question: what on Earth is taking the UK so long to emulate this model?
Why is driving to Scotland a more daunting prospect than driving to Dresden and back for an EV owner?
I’m aware of the existence of a few brands that are endeavouring to unify the various charge networks under one banner and I have no doubt that someone will eventually manage it – I just wish they’d hurry up a bit, because I have seen the future.
For now, let’s focus on the good news: European road trips in an electric car aren’t just doable these days: they’re downright easy.
Watch the video below: