Summer vacation: Travelling 4,000 km in electric car is easy-peasy!

An electric car charging

Summer is here. Sun is shining bright. And you want to travel. But…

Flying increases the carbon footprint. And so do combustion cars.

Easy and sustainable solution? Travel by electric car.

Range anxiety used to scare electric vehicle (EV) drivers, but times have changed! EV charging infrastructure is developing rapidly and taking long trips in your electric car is becoming the new normal. Jorrit Berkhout, Sales Director Europe at GreenFlux, drove with his wife and dog from the Netherlands to Lithuania and back – almost 4,000 km roundtrip – in his fully-electric car this summer. Read his story:

Where did you travel this summer and how?

My wife is from Lithuania. We, along with our dog, decided to visit our family in our electric car. I drive a 2019-model Hyundai Kona with a 64-kilowatt battery and a highway range of approximately 350 km.

Why did you decide to travel such a long distance in your electric car?

We did the same trip last summer. It is important to be more conscious about the environment and how our behaviour impacts the world around us. When we give attention to some easy changes in our lives, we realise small things can make a stark difference. My family is climate-conscious, including even our dog!

How did you plan your route?

Planning this year was not a problem, though we ended up being in the car for around 14 hours on the first day as we got stuck in traffic in Germany. We still covered around 1,000 km and reached Poznan, in western Poland.

On the second day, we had to cover the remaining 800 km. To reach Vilnius, you need to go some distance off the highway east from Warsaw to the Lithuania border. It is a slow drive, which is good for the battery. But we ended up being on the road for another 12 hours. We did 1,900 km in total including some short detours for charging.

On our way back, we wanted to take a shorter route to the Poland border off the highway to save the battery. But I missed an exit and reached the border of Belarus. Since you cannot enter without a visa, we had to turn around and lost all that time we intended to gain.

How long were you on the road?

It was an approximately 26-hour journey (one-way) overall with a night stop in between. We spent around 2-2.5 hours charging each day –about 1/6 of the total travel time. It was good because stretching our legs and those of the dog was actually needed.

Did you have range anxiety?

No, not at all. I started with a full battery and knew that another two full charges are sufficient to cover half the distance. My car can take 70 kilowatts as a maximum charging speed, approximately a full hour is needed to charge it from zero to 100.

But of course, I was mindful about charging and charged every time we made a stop.

What was different this year compared to last summer?

Firstly, we learned from our past mistakes. Last summer, we did not pre-book a hotel. That was stupid. We had to drive 40-50 km away from the highway. We found a nice place, but it did not have an EV charger.

The next day, we could still drive about 100 km. We reached the first charger back on the highway, but it was not working. Then there was only 50 km left and the closest charger was along the highway in 45 km. That was stressful. We drove at 80-90 km/hour on the highway to save the battery. In the end, we had 2% battery left. With fingers crossed, we made it to the station, and thankfully, it was working. This is the kind of experience one wants to avoid.

Another thing we noticed this year was that EV charging infrastructure has improved a lot, especially in Poland.

What advice would you give to EV drivers for their summer travel?

Continuous charging works well. If you stop for coffee or toilet, or to feed the dog, make sure you charge, even if it is just 20-30 percent.

Use specialised mobile apps to plot the route and find charge stations as per your preferred stops. Download, register, and save your payment details in advance to avoid wasted time.

Ensure your hotel has an EV charger and try booking it in advance. Sometimes hotels have a charger, but because they do not keep the place free, you may see a combustion engine car blocking your spot.

Drive according to the range of your car. If you have a battery range of 400 km, you can probably drive 350 km on highways but do not push beyond that.

Lastly, go with a relaxed mind. If you are going long distances especially and spending around 14 hours in the car like us, it is better you are calm and prepared for some adventure.

What was your average car consumption and how much did you pay for charging?

I probably used about 12 times a full battery in the overall trip for about 4,000 km. Given that fast (DC) charging is more expensive, I must have spent around 300 euros.

Would you like to share any interesting stories from your trip?

I discovered a fuel station brand in Poland that provides charging facilities and has a very good kitchen for vegetarians. They sell a halloumi burger, which became our favourite on-the-road snack.

I would have never found this without stopping to charge. You never know what you will discover and enjoy while looking for an EV charger.

Would your travel again in your EV?

Of course, I do not see any limitations whatsoever. We likely covered the maximum distance that one would want to drive. If this is possible, shorter distances would be smoother. It is also a fun way to take a break from everything and spend some quality time with your family. I believe in around five years travelling in an EV will be as normal as in a combustion car for everyone.

Does GreenFlux have a role to play in your travel in EV?

In all fairness, I would say GreenFlux has a part to play. I try every day to reduce my carbon footprint, but GreenFlux improved my awareness in terms of logistics.

At GreenFlux, all lease cars are fully electric. And this makes sense considering we are a sustainable company. If you would give me a choice tomorrow to choose between a combustion car or an EV, I would always opt for an electric car.