Sitting behind the wheel of a 2020 Renault Zoé equipped with a 52 kWh battery, Michel and Marie-Hélène embarked on a journey that was out of the ordinary. They covered 6,500 km (over 4,000 miles) and demonstrated that long-distance driving in an electric vehicle is neither frightening nor impossible – quite the opposite, in fact. We met up with them so that they could tell us all about their extraordinary experience.
Michel and Marie-Hélène’s route in their Renault Zoé
During their long voyage, the couple passed through many towns and cities. Departing from Paris and stopping off in the Ardennes, they travelled far north to the Faroe Islands, 1000 km north-west of Denmark, visiting many places on the way. The journey back from their Danish adventures took them to Jouques, in the south of France, via a detour through Bavaria before returning to their final destination in the outskirts of Paris.
Was this journey a good or bad experience?
When we asked them for their overall impressions, the couple was in complete agreement. They had a fantastic time and the journey was easy without a single stressful day. For them, it all boils down to “not letting charging become a burden”.
In short, they followed a rule they called “hidden charging time”. They explained that every time they stopped over somewhere, took a break, or did an activity where they didn’t need the vehicle, the couple arranged for their EV to charge at a nearby charging station. For example, whenever they decided to stop and see the sights – visiting a museum or simply going for a walk in the countryside – they looked out for the nearest charging stations so they could drop their vehicle off there.
“Using this method, we said goodbye to long breaks where you’re just sitting around in your car, waiting for it to charge. We got the most out of our travels while topping up our car.” It is what they justly call “mixing business with pleasure”.
Is the charging station network in Europe reliable?
The couple constantly praised the charging station network in northern Europe and repeatedly insisted that long journeys by EV can be perfectly trouble-free as long as your vehicle’s range exceeds approximately 400 km (250 miles).
They highlighted the density and reliability of charging stations in northern Europe. In contrast, they also told us of some issues they had in France in regions that are less well-equipped in this field.
Furthermore, they pointed out that it is necessary to have an RFID badge for this type of travelling, providing access to a broad range of charging stations throughout Europe. In the case in point, they used the Chargemap Pass.
What about waiting time at the charging stations?
There were some notions the couple kept bringing up – most frequently the Chargemap community and sociability. This is a core facet of the app.
“During our charging stops, we had the opportunity of chatting with people whom we probably would not have spoken to normally. You don’t find the same warm-hearted, social side at the petrol pump.” On this point, they are totally in tune with Stanislas’ story about his travels by electric motorcycle.
Any advice for anyone wanting to set off on a journey in their EV?
One tip that might help save money is to charge at free public charging stations whenever possible – especially those located at large supermarket chains.
On days when you go for a “long haul” of between 500 and 700 km (300 to 430 miles), think about using reliable charging stations on the motorway, especially Ionity charge points. They may be more expensive but can prove to be very useful on these long travelling days. By combining these 2 factors you can keep charging costs under control. For the 6,500 km they travelled with their Zoé, the couple estimate their total budget at 330 euros (all expenses included).
To simplify searches, the Chargemap app offers a number of filters, including only displaying free charging stations, those located on motorways and charge points belonging to one or more networks in particular.
We would like to thank Marie-Hélène and Michel for sharing their story with us, and for their many contributions to the Chargemap app. Do not hesitate to get in touch with us to tell us all about your EV journeys, we will be delighted to hear about them and share your experiences.