Spring break: EV trip to snowy mountains
Electric cars are becoming increasingly popular. LeasePlan employees Ann-Laure and David also lost their hearts to electric driving. This spring break, they headed for the French Alps. In this blog, they share their experiences with this busy vacation period. “The EV calls for a shift in the way we drive. Not just in terms of the vehicle and time, but also of where and when we go on vacation.”
Ann-Laure went skiing in Modane
- Destination: Modane (France)
- Distance single journey: 931 km in 13 hours and 30 minutes
- Car: Kia EV 6 (2021)
- Real driving range in winter: +- 380 km
- Stops: 4
“It’s not the first time we use the EV to go on a road trip. My family lives near Lyon and we have gone to visit them before. But it is the first time we drove this far south to the Alps. Modane is close to the Italian border.” Since the drive was quite long, Ann-Laure decided to take the opportunity to split the journey into two parts. “The first day we drove up to Lyon. There we spent the night before continuing the trip the next day. We did the same thing on our way back home.”
The outbound journey was completed with 4 stops at the Ionity network. That’s not excessive over a distance of more than 900 kilometers. Ideally, you drive for two hours and then stop to take a break. Ann-Laure and her boyfriend had mapped out the trip in advance using the app A Better Route Planner (ABRP). She highly recommends this app: “You can save the route and then open it with Google Maps. The premium version costs €50 a year, a small amount for carefree navigation from charging station to charging station.” In the end, their journey took a bit longer than planned. “Sometimes it was busy at the charging stations, and we had to wait a while. The advantage of this is that it forces you to take a break. And it was certainly not boring because it gave us an opportunity to talk to other EV drivers. That turned into very pleasant conversations that would never have taken place otherwise. You exchange experiences and tips. Traveling in an EV creates a bond.”
“Traveling with an EV takes more time, but we never felt like we were losing time. We could always use our breaks to take a walk, visit the shop, have a picnic, or chat with other drivers. Thanks to these breaks, we could divide the trip into manageable chunks. You just go with the flow. That way it became a relaxing ride.” Whether she would like to take more EV trips? “Yes, of course! It requires a different mindset but by doing it more often, it quickly becomes a new, good habit.”
4 tips from Ann-Laure:
- In some countries, you can use Tesla charging stations with different car brands. This reduces the pressure on the regular charging network.
- Use the app to see if the charging stations are occupied. That way you can mentally prepare for any waiting time.
- Don’t let the consumption in the mountains scare you. When you climb, you consume more. But while descending, you regenerate that energy.
David braved the slopes in Le Grand-Bornand
- Destination: Le Grand-Bornand (France)
- Distance single journey: 828 km in 12 hours
- Car: Tesla Model 3 (2021)
- Real driving range: +- 450 km
- Stops: 4
Last summer, David made his first EV trip to Bordeaux. In February, he drove to the French Alps. He tells us about the big difference between the winter and summer trip: “Driving an EV is driving with the natural elements. We left at night in temperatures of around zero. Of course, the cold has an impact on your power output. When the sun rose and the temperatures went up, the consumption went back to normal.” Eventually, David stopped four times on the outbound trip. “The hotel did not have a charging station, so we took an extra charging break to be sure. You never know.”
The spring break also means traffic jams on the road. At the charging stations, however, everything went smoothly. “That’s the advantage of Tesla”, David explains. “Tesla has its own ecosystem. The car matches the route and the charging stops in real time to the consumption and its own network of superchargers. An absolute plus for the experience. Also for my son, by the way. He is 11 years old and a Tesla is the Porsche of his lifetime. Because of his fascination, he has not been bored a single time and that’s a good thing, of course”, he laughs.
According to David, the EV is not only changing the way we drive, but also where and when we go on vacation. “We all go to the same destinations at the same time for the same vacations. And then at the charging stations it does become clear that you are not the only EV driver. There is certainly potential for more charging stations in the future. Until then, I think it’s a smart idea to travel more flexibly: different periods and different destination, spreading out tourism a bit more.”
4 tips from David:
- In winter, try to leave during the day and not at night. This will limit the impact on your power.
- Do not worry about charging breaks. Going to the toilet, visiting the shop, and taking a short walk are enough to pass the time.
- Check the available kWh of the charging stations in advance. Older chargers are often capped and charge slower. Use recent charging points and save time.
- The further south you go, the more limited the infrastructure. Hotels are also not always equipped for EVs either. Check carefully in advance where you can find charging stations.
Curious for more? LeasePlan colleagues Mark and Ken went to the mountains in the winter months. You can read about their experiences here. When making vacation plans, be sure to check out our 10 tips for becoming a courteous Happy Charger. This will make the life of any EV driver a lot more enjoyable!