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Driving electric: A field report from LeasePlan Austria

3 min to readSustainability
Since the end of 2021, all LeasePlan Austria employees have been driving fully electric. Find out what it's like to be on the road "under power".
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Driving electric – a field report

Don’t talk, take action – that is our premise at LeasePlan. This also applies to the company's own vehicle fleet. By the end of last year, all our employee company vehicles in Austria had been converted to electric. Since then, electric vehicles have become part of the everyday lives of many of our employees.

 

Fully electric on the road in Austria and Europe

The LeasePlan electric cars have already seen a lot in the short time they have been in use. In addition to the usual journeys of our sales staff throughout Austria, some of our employees also drove their electric cars on vacation, for example to Italy, France, Hungary, and Croatia. We would now like to share with you the main findings from the many trips made by our employees.

Planning beforehand is crucial

Spontaneous driving can quickly backfire with electric vehicles. Especially for long distances, you should therefore take the time to plan your route and charging stops properly before starting the journey. Our employees rely on the app "A Better Routeplanner" and on the vehicles' own navigation systems. With both variants, reliable route planning throughout Europe is simple and intuitive. In addition, it makes sense to use the app of the respective charging card provider to obtain up-to-date information on the availability and prices of charging stations. More information on useful apps can be found here.

When planning, I always make sure that I make charging stops in places where there are several charging stations. If one doesn't work, I always have an alternative.

Markus MittermannKey Account manager

Travel times increase less than expected

Current electric vehicles have realistic ranges of around 300-400 km. If you drive from Vienna to Innsbruck (approx. 476 km), you can get by with a single charging stop. Ultra-fast chargers (up to 350 kW charging power) are often found on freeways, which charge the vehicle to 80% range within 20 to max. 60 minutes. Off the highways, ultra-fast chargers are rather sparse, and you have to plan for longer charging times.

Summer offers optimal conditions for electric cars despite air conditioning in the car. In winter, however, the range suffers significantly from the cold temperatures. That's when charging stops are necessary more often

Robert SchilhanslSales Manager

Having to wait at charging stations deteriorates the experience

The key factor for an acceptable travel time is how long you have to wait at the charging station to charge your vehicle. Our employees have hardly ever been confronted with waiting times. However, many made the experience that charging stations were repeatedly defective or out of order. In countries with less developed charging infrastructures, this already leads to longer waiting times in some cases, as some of our customers experiences. It is therefore all the more important to always plan for a buffer of 50-100 km range.

In many countries in Europe, the existing charging infrastructure covers the demand. However, due to the rapidly increasing share of e-cars, the currently short waiting times at charging stations are at risk. I am therefore reassured that there is strong investment in the further expansion of charging infrastructure.

Hessel KaastraManaging Director

Fast-charging infrastructure in Europe

The availability of fast chargers and ultra-fast chargers varies widely between countries in Europe. While the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Austria, and Denmark have a very dense network (more than 7 fast charging points per 100 km), Spain, Italy, Portugal, Poland, Hungary, Greece, Croatia, and Lithuania still lag behind. In the graphic below, the main transit routes, such as the north-south highways in Germany, France, and northern Italy, are clearly visible. Ultra-fast chargers are marked in red, fast chargers (usually with 50 kW charging power) in blue.

A different driving experience: less hustle, more sense of community

High speeds have a significant impact on range and make more charging stops necessary. So, the bottom line is that driving fast saves virtually no time. A more moderate driving style therefore makes much more sense and makes driving more relaxed and safer. Our employees also reported numerous friendly conversations with other e-car drivers at the charging stations. A sense of community that you can only experience as an e-pioneer.

At the charging stations, I always get to talk to other e-car drivers. People share their experiences and help each other. This is a completely new experience for me that I really appreciate.

Wilhelm HemersamHead of Order & Delivery

Are you ready to make the switch to electric, too?

With LeasePlan, making the switch is a breeze. We provide comprehensive advice from car policies and subsidies to charging solutions.

Published at September 6, 2022
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September 6, 2022
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