There has been one major roadblock preventing me from making the shift to full-electric driving: a 530 km (330 mile) journey into the unknown. With the help of a Volvo C40, it was time to look fear in the eye and try not to blink.
I regularly travel from southern Germany to northwest Italy. In my BMW X3 it takes as little as 5 hour and 15 minutes with one re-fueling stop. When the dogs come along the time increases to 6 hours with at least two stops.
I knew it wouldn’t be possible to match those times in an EV because my colleague, Andrea Malan, provided sage advice after he completed two journeys of 850-plus km between Milan and Paris this summer. He said: “Try to keep your speed between 100 and 110 kph to preserve the battery.” That’s well under the 130 kph or higher I usually drive, given that parts of the trip are on the Autobahn.
I kept the speeds down, which to be honest made the drive a little less stressful. I was also uber-cautious about range, adding more power to the battery than was essential at three recharging stops. Why? Because I had no idea whether the infrastructure along the route was robust enough to allow me complete the journey. As a result, the drive took 9 hours and 30 minutes.
Here are the key takeaways from round one of the journey.
- Purchase a Type II cable that can be plugged into a regular socket because the last recharge, which took more than an hour, was done solely because I had no way to replenish the battery at the location I would stay.