There is no question that in a few years, electric cars will be commonplace, eventually taking over regular engine vehicles. But how easy is it currently to go on a long road trip in an EV?
At the Electric Broker, we put this to the test. As a result, we decided to take on the ultimate UK road trip. We challenged ourselves to journey from Land’s End to John O’Groats in a Porsche Taycan. With roughly 837 miles of beautiful British roads, we were ready to make the iconic journey. The pressure was on to complete the trip prior to Lockdown 2.0 taking effect.
We were lucky enough to have the help of Zoom EV. Their EV bundle offers numerous benefits, including discounted and free charging on the UK’s largest networks.* Spoiler Alert, this meant we spent drastically less money on ‘fuel’ compared to a regular car.
Getting to Land’s End
The road trip did not start at Land’s End. It started over 400 miles away on a dark cold morning near our head office in Harrogate.
100% charge with 100% optimism, however, our hopefulness of a seamless journey was quickly squashed a mere 150 miles away from our start point.
Our planned route was disturbed when the Porsche Satnav suddenly changed course, convincing us to leave the motorway. This left us with little juice (around 30 miles) and no fast chargers nearby. We were resigned to using a 43kW charging in Birmingham to give us enough charge to reach the next leg of our journey. Altogether, this added a couple of hours to an already long trip.
Furthermore, to make matters worse, we realised we were unprepared when the phone charger we brought along did not work with the integrated USB-C drives in the Taycan. So, we were stuck at a slow charger, with a dying phone, struggling to find the next fast charger to help us continue our trip.
Nevertheless, we persevered and made it to a Shell EV chargepoint which offered 150kW charger in Stratford-Upon-Avon. As a result, we were able to fully charge in 30 minutes, instead of the 8 hours at the previous charger.
The next leg of the journey down to Land’s End ran a lot smoother due to being able to consistently reach fast chargers in Bristol and Exeter. What started as an early morning, optimistic start, finishing late at night we were left wondering if it would get any better.
We finished the day around 80 miles from Land’s End, so the next morning we completed the first leg of the journey. What felt like an eternity was just the start of our trip across Britain.
Day 2: Setting off to John O’Groats
Luckily, setting off from Land’s End on Day 2 was a lot less troublesome than the previous day. We knew where the fast chargers were up to Bristol. It was just a case of planning our road trip to make it to John O’Groats.
With some more time spent preparing, the trip went ahead without any issues. We were able to use Zoom EV’s benefits bundle to our full advantage with the Plugsurfing network. Having the option to utilise the ultra-rapid fast chargers available at Porsche dealerships was an added bonus and are hoping that other manufacturers will offer owners the same opportunities as demand increases for in the EV market.
Once we made it into Scotland, we realised all Electric Vehicle charging was free! A huge incentive to get an EV if you are located there. You do need to join the ChargePlace Scotland network, which we would highly recommend.
As we got closer to John O’Groats, we were met with more Ionity chargers. All we can say about these is how reliable and easy to use they were. If you are going on a long journey, they are ideal for fast charging while also giving you a break.
Once making it to John O’Groats, we were met with a rainbow, a sign that this journey really was worthwhile. We had made it from one end of Britain to the other in an Electric Car. It was possible.
It was a cold, blustery day, but nothing was stopping our positive mood. We wanted to put the EV infrastructure to the test and demonstrate it is possible to travel long-distance in EV’s in UK. We believe we did just that!
What We Learned
On the other hand, we know the journey could have been smoother, and it probably would have been quicker in a regular ICE vehicle. Here are a few things we learnt on our road trip and tips we to share with you.
You need to plan
We were punished for this on the first day. Unfortunately, while we could make it across Britain, the EV charging infrastructure, although growing rapidly, is not quite there yet. We were left with no ultra-rapid chargers in sight on a couple of occasions. You soon realise it is not as simple as finding a petrol station every few miles.
Use numerous charging networks
While Plugsurfing was easy to use and gave us all the information we needed, we had to use additional networks to get to our destination. You cannot rely on one. Luckily, Zoom EV also has benefits for Polar (BP’s charging network) and Osprey (One of the UK’s largest networks). Using numerous networks means it will be easy to find faster chargers on long road trips.
Further than usual
Since there are fewer chargers than petrol stations, we had to go out of our way a couple of times to locate the charge points. As a result, we ended up travelling further and not being able to take the optimised route to John O’Groats.
Given the growth in the EV markets and infrastructure projects, these niggles on our roadtrip will be eliminated in the very near future. Access to charging will become even more convenient. It was a bonus to wake up each day with a full charge and spend very little on charging during the whole trip.
Finally, the trip had more meaning than just to see if an EV could make it from Land’s End to John O’Groats. Between now and 24th December, our Managing Director, Chris Brown, has chosen to walk the same distance, 874 miles. Every day he will be walking roughly 20km around Harrogate. He is doing this to raise awareness for Wellspring, a local mental health charity. Click on the picture below to find out more about Wellspring.
If you have any questions about our journey across Britain, or if you’re interested in getting an electric vehicle, get in touch with us today to see how we can help.