Despite the ever-expanding range of electric vehicles and the increasing number of charging stations, for many EV drivers, range is still a cause for concern. The fear of getting stranded somewhere, with no ability to recharge, is what puts many people off, taking longer road trips in their EV. But, as one LeasePlanner recently discovered, there’s nothing stopping you from hitting the road in your EV this summer.
This Easter, Martin Racman, Senior Marketing Manager at LeasePlan Czech Republic, took his four-month-old KIA EV6 on a 2,300 km road trip from Prague to Cinque Terre. So, who better to ask for some EV holiday tips!
Why did you want to travel to Cinque Terre?
I’d heard that the UNESCO World Heritage site is very beautiful and I’ve been longing to experience the unique atmosphere of these Italian towns for many years.
How did you plan your route?
Leaving Prague at 9 pm, I made sure my car was fully charged, with a 365 km range. I headed to the Rozvadov border crossing to Germany. Once I hit the German motorway, I made sure to keep my top speed to 130 kph because higher speeds mean higher consumption and my first planned stop in Germany was after 300 km. My journey then took me via Munich to a charging station in Holzkirchen and then on to Brenner where I charged for 40 minutes to 100% capacity while taking a nap. The next leg of my trip was again more than 300 km, almost my car’s maximum driving range limit. My last charging stop was in Carpi where I charged for 28 minutes. I thought about stopping in Modena at the Ferrari Museum but in the end, I decided to continue straight to La Spezia, my final destination. Italian highways are expensive and full, but you can't really avoid them.
What are your top tips for new EV drivers planning a long trip?
What every EV driver will have to get used to is to plan their trip, and more importantly, trust their car. I trust mine, although I still sometimes give myself some spare kilometres because one should always try to be economical on a long-distance trip. The type of road will also affect your driving range, so if you’re driving through the mountains, keep this in mind. If you can, plan your trip on a weekday night, because many of the charging stations will have long waiting times during the day, especially in the summer season. Finally, one of the most important factors to consider on a long journey is the charging curve of your car model. For example, after a few minutes, the KIA EV6 can charge at a rate of up to 239 kW to 60 % of the battery. After that, the power drops to 130 kW and remains that way until 80 % of the battery is charged. After this value is reached, it doesn't make much sense to continue charging on longer journeys because the power drops and the time needed to reach 100 % battery capacity becomes longer.
Do you have a favourite type of charging station?
Yes, the IONITY network. In my opinion, it’s currently the best option for travelling around Europe. Of course, the infrastructure is expanding a lot, but the multitude of different providers doesn't make travelling much easier. With IONITY, you only have one app on your phone and, if you pay their monthly subscription, they will only charge you €0.35 per kW. And that's currently one of the cheapest charges in Europe on an ultra-fast charger. The power of up to 350 kW is unique and, in my experience, the KIA EV6 can use up to 239 kW of it. The charging stations are very easy to use and only require a credit card authorization on the phone and a few clicks on the app to start charging.
How was your return trip?
On the way back, my route passed Florence, Modena, Innsbruck and Munich – so lovely! All in all, it took me 12.5 hours, including charging, and Easter Sunday was a good choice for travelling as the roads were still fairly quiet.
How long was your trip and how many hours did you spend charging? Also, what did it cost and what was your average car consumption?
It was a 4-day trip over the Easter weekend. On the way there, my total charging time was just under 2 hours and on the return trip, it was just over 2 hours. The total cost of charging came to just over €170. The average car consumption of my KIA EV6 was 23.1 kWh/100 km but I drove on a highway about 90% of the time.
Looking back, how was your first fully electric road trip?
It was a great experience! I spent three unforgettable days on the Italian Riviera walking around the villages of Cinque Terre - this spot is well worth a visit. It was also great to take my new KIA on the road and see what it could do with its 77 kW/h battery and 4x4 drive.
Finally, we have to ask: What’s next?
As an EV lover, I’m thrilled to work for a company like LeasePlan, where everyone’s as committed to achieving net-zero emissions as I am. My EV6 and I have travelled quite a bit together. Outside of Cinque Terre, we've already been skiing in Austria and Italy, to Berlin for a weekend or to South Moravia for wine tasting. And, of course, I’m already looking forward to my next EV road trip.