Today, Russ, a Chargemap member from Scotland, tells us all about his experience of journeying 5200 km (3200 miles) in his Kia Soul EV. As you will discover, he met with many amazing adventures along his travels through three countries.
A memorable road trip by electric car – which he heartily recommends!
What is the advantage of owning an EV with a 180-km range? “The frequent stops to charge your car,” claims Russ. Behind the wheel of his Kia Soul EV 27 kWh, he underlines the opportunity of exploring myriad small towns, villages and wonderful places which “we might have passed by if we’d had a longer range vehicle”. Even if they travelled at a more leisurely pace than a car equipped with an internal combustion engine, the journey by EV provided a perfect balance between the road and discovering beautiful landscapes.
Their route plan is impressive. They started off in the middle of Scotland and split their journey into 4 stages. The first stage took them through England and the Channel Tunnel to France. Once in the north of France, they embarked on the second stage to Paris. The next stage saw them visiting the south of France from west to east notably passing through Bordeaux, Toulouse and Narbonne, not forgetting Monaco. After seeing the sights, they journeyed northwards on the last stage – a trip taking them through the Alps, via Grenoble, Chamonix and Annecy.
Chargemap, the ideal travelling companion on the road trip
The Chargemap app proved to be a godsend time and again throughout the journey. Firstly, it meant they could check out which charging stations were up and running. “The information was always spot on and meant we avoided going to some charging points that weren’t operational.”
The Chargemap community provided vital help, being “very informative and ready to share their experiences about every charging station”. Finally, “as a badge, the Chargemap Pass proved to be invaluable for topping up” at most charging stations on the networks in Europe.
What about the charging station network in France?
At the present time, what is most needed are new EV infrastructures. According to Ross, the current infrastructures available at French charging station facilities “are not sufficient considering the growing number of EVs on the road” – especially in some areas where they are few and far between. He told us he mostly used the Total Energies and Ionity networks.
A few tips for embarking on a road trip by electric car
“Get yourself an RFID badge that gives you access to a broad range of charging networks and an application that lists all the charging stations available and their operational status.” Fortunately for him, Chargemap offers both. He believes these are the two key tools for stress-free travelling.
Russ also recommends making frequent charging stops to avoid getting down to a battery level of 5%. He thinks you should always keep your batteries sufficiently charged to cover a few dozen miles so that you don’t come a cropper if you find that the charging station you were counting on is out of order. He also favours “strategic” stops to charge his car, i.e. taking a break for a meal, a nap or to visit a particular site. On this point, his opinion echoes that of Michel and Marie-Hélène on their 6500 km road trip by Renault Zoé.
Russ’ road trip in a nutshell
Russ had some pretty unusual experiences. “We were able to plug in and recharge our various appliances along with our EV in the middle of a campsite without any other connections,” a scenario that has stuck in his mind and that he still finds amazing.
Russ tells us another tale where “in the south of France we camped every evening in our EV rooftop tent and one evening, we even found ourselves surrounded by wild boar.”
To conclude, Russ wants to do away with the gloom and doom myths surrounding EVs and long journeys. He thinks that his own road trip, which went off perfectly well, should be taken as a benchmark. He was not expecting it to be that simple and enjoyable.
Want to go on a long EV journey?