A little planning goes a long way

All you need to know about travelling long-distance in an EV

Despite the ever-increasing range of electric vehicles and the fast-growing number of charging stations on the road, range anxiety remains real for many – especially when it comes to taking long road trips. Luckily, this needn’t be the case.

Last summer, Nils Hazekamp, International Account Manager at LeasePlan, took his Polestar 2 on a 3,500 km road trip from Amsterdam to Italy. Who better to ask, then, about how to best prepare for an EV road trip and what to expect on a long-distance journey. We picked Nils’ brain about his recent road trip:

Firstly, what is range anxiety, and did you personally encounter it?

It’s the fear that your electric vehicle will run out of juice before you reach your destination, leaving you stranded somewhere with no ability to recharge. I did have to face that fear but it quickly went away.

While preparing for your trip, was there one route planner that stood out for you?

Yes, I used the ABRP route planner app to plan my road trip. It takes various things into account, from the condition, model and weight of your vehicle to your driving style and your preferred route. It optimizes your route plan and offers good recommendations on routes and where to stop and charge. You can select how many stops you would like to make and which charging station brands you’d like to include. The app shows you the available chargers on your route. It also adjusts the estimated battery level upon arrival. This way, you can adjust your driving style to ensure your battery level is where you want it when you arrive.

Did you have a preference for specific charging station brands?

There was good coverage of Ionity fast-charging stations along the way, so I did charge my Polestar at Ionity charging stations most of the time. There were often cafés and shops at these spots and I found it relaxing to have these amenities while waiting for the car to charge. In Italy, I used a local charging provider called Enel X. I was surprised at the coverage, even in small Italian towns.

Do you have any tips about the logistics of charging?

I always ensured I had a minimum of 20% battery before each stop. My car generally charged in about 20 minutes but I found that the charging speed slowed down when the battery charge exceeded 80%. However, with an 80% charge, you can easily drive 250 km before you get down to 20% again. I, therefore, found it more efficient to stop charging at the 80% mark.

What were the perks of travelling with an EV?

There were so many! As there are more ICE cars on the road, you can avoid the long queues when you stop to re-charge your car, because only a few cars go to the EV charging station. As a bonus, this also provides free parking. And, when visiting historic towns in Italy, I found that the charging stations were always in the middle of the city centre. This meant that I always had a better parking spot than I would’ve had driving an ICE vehicle. The driving experience is very comfortable and relaxing as there is less noise from inside the vehicle and driving and acceleration feel smoother. Finally, I felt very safe, as my Polestar (and many other EVs) is equipped with high tech functions for longer journeys such as lane assist, automatic blind spot detection, navigation assistance, etc.

That sounds almost too good to be true. Did you have any challenges?

I was very satisfied with the overall experience. That said, it takes a bit of planning. You have to pre-select the route and charging stations and ensure that you maintain a healthy battery level between each stop.

What did you learn after spending 3,500 km on the road in an EV?

That I had to get used to driving fewer kilometres at a time. This isn’t a problem if you plan your route but it’s less spontaneous than driving an ICE vehicle. I also learned that you don’t have to drive eco all the time – you can also go along with the flow of the highway. As long as you’ve planned it into your route you can keep up with the speed limit on the German motorway, for example.

Finally, we have to ask: What’s next?

I’m happy to work for a company that is so committed to achieving net-zero emissions. Not only are we advocating the uptake of net zero emissions among LeasePlan’s clients and stakeholders, but our own fleet will be completely emissions-free by 2030. On a personal note, I see many more EV road trips on the horizon for me.

Follow LeasePlan on social media

What’s next?