Benitez travelled to Italy with his EV without preparation

4 min to readSustainability
Whoever takes an electric car on a trip to a faraway destination usually prepares well. Downloading the right apps to find charging stations, mapping out a route with stopovers in advance, searching for a hotel with charging station, etc. -- almost every EV driver swears by such measures to have a pleasant and carefree holiday. LeasePlan employee Benitez Asakome, however, decided to drive to Italy without any major preparations. Wondering how that turned out? So did we!
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Destination: Loano (Italy) Distance one way: 1,125km in 14h30 (overnight stay in between) Car: Polestar 2 Real range: ± 400km Stops: 2 Total distance travelled: 3,000 km Total charging cost: ± €150

Benitez set off with his wife and two little sons aged 3 and 1 to Loano, a coastal town between San Remo and Genoa. The family planned to take a few trips from there, including towards Monaco. With his Polestar 2 Lounge Edition, Benitez rested assured that would be a pleasant trip. "There is so much technology on board an electric car, which makes even long journeys feel very comfortable. Thanks to lane assist, every little steering error is corrected. And with adaptive cruise control, you constantly maintain the right speed and distance from your car in front. When in a traffic jam, the car automatically drives and stops while maintaining the correct distance. This means less steering, accelerating and braking, so you get less tired. Only benefits, in other words," Benitez waxes enthusiastic

Stopped more often for the children than to charge Benitez covered the journey to Loano (a good 1,125 kilometres), in two goes, with an overnight stay in Basel, Switzerland. He made one stop each time to charge at a fast charger along the motorway. "I am not the type to drive only 90 kilometres per hour behind a truck to save on battery. But that wasn't necessary either, because with my Polestar 2 I hit about 400 kilometres, which is more than enough. Eventually you have to stop for lunch anyway, and then you plug your car in the fast charger," says Benitez. "With two young sons, you have to stop more often anyway for a pee break, or just to let them stretch their legs. Let's just say we stopped more often for the boys than to charge the car!"

Hotel without charging station Although most EV drivers prepare well for a journey with an electric car, Benitez was not immediately concerned. All he did was apply for a Shell Recharge charging pass. "You have good coverage all over Europe to charge your car with that pass," Benitez says. "Of course it's a good idea to map out your route in advance, but I personally used Google Automotive. You just navigate to the destination, and Google chooses the charging stations. It's no problem if you miss one or want to stop at another. There were charging stations everywhere along the motorway, especially in Germany and Switzerland."

Benitez didn't even go looking for a hotel with a charging station. "A hotel without a charging station does not have to be a limiting factor. We chose our accommodation with our children in mind," he laughs."I could just charge my car at a fast charger near the hotel, in the car park of a supermarket." Benitez also had a windfall here and there. During a trip to Monaco, for example, he was able to charge his car for free. "I drove into an underground car park where there were dozens of charging stations. When I took my card to start the charging session, I found that I could not scan the card anywhere. Charging was free throughout my parking session. So I only paid for parking, but got back a fully charged car. And even parking was not expensive. I think we paid more for our soft drinks in an outdoor café than for the parking itself!"

Never again with a fuel engine The drive back to Belgium also went smoothly, although Benitez ran into some traffic jams here and there. "But even that wasn't too bad. The adaptive cruise control really makes a difference.” He drove around 3,000 kilometres over the entire trip, and around €150 in charging sessions. "It’s a lot cheaper than petrol or diesel. And I didn't even pay attention to the charging rates, in fact. Otherwise I could have done it even cheaper. In Switzerland, for example, charging was more expensive, but actually everything there is expensive."

Benitez is convinced that electric cars need not be a limiting factor for travelling. "This trip has confirmed it once again. My Polestar 2 is a fantastic car, and electric driving is absolutely pleasant and comfortable, especially on long trips."

Will you be travelling with your EV? Benitez is happy to give some tips:

• If there is no place free at the charging station, talk to people and ask how long they need to charge. There is more solidarity among EV drivers than you think. • Trust the software in your car. It knows when it is time to recharge. • You can see in advance how many charging stations are still free for each charging stop. Use this information to make any necessary adjustments. • Drive on cruise control and put your air conditioning on eco mode: that is pleasant and economical. • Don't panic when you only have 10% driving range left. There are plenty of charging stations along the motorway.

In many countries, you already find more than enough charging infrastructure along the highways for a worry-free road trip. In other European countries, the development still continues. Do you want to discover where you can travel with your EV worry-free? Read our blog!

Published at September 29, 2022
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September 29, 2022
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