Travelling over 400 miles for free wouldn’t even be an option for most drivers

Travelling over 400 miles for free wouldn’t even be an option for most drivers, but when Indira Chima, a member of our Owners’ Club, took a trip to Wales, that’s exactly what she did managed in her 100% electric Renault ZOE.

A pure electric vehicle has a range of around 100 miles and can be perfect for everyday use, especially given that the average commute in the UK is around 10 miles. So when Indira took her ZOE much further afield, we asked her to share some details about her trip with us to see how she got on.

When she got back, Indira was encouraged about the ZOE’s potential for longer journeys, having realised the importance of careful planning for such journeys, but, more than anything, she was thrilled that so many miles had been covered for free!

For those regularly making longer journeys, plug-in hybrids like the Toyota Prius Plug-in or the Golf GTE could be the most convenient option, as these vehicles can travel more than 500 miles before needing to recharge or refuel. To find out more about more about how Indira’s trip with her ZOE went, read on…

  • Total mileage = 440 miles
  • Cost for charging = £0

“We had a great trip to Wales. Our first really long journey in the Zoe, and we certainly learnt how to make the best use of the Zoe and the free rapid chargers.

On the outward journey we set out from home in St Albans with 5972 mile ODOM and a 76mile range.  We though we would stop and charge where we could and play safe.  We soon learnt that this wasn’t the best way to go as it was taking time waiting each stop, and the roads and stations were busier than we’d anticipated.

We left our final charging stop in Port Abraham with a full charge and 6190 mile ODOM.  From here on we knew we’d have no charging points until our return trip from Port Eynon on the Monday. I drove in ECO, except on any steep uphill bits until we reached Port Eynon to ensure we kept as much range as possible.  We arrived with a 37mile range at Port Eynon, which was more than enough for the journey back to a charging station.

With our learning, we revamped our EV charging strategy on the journey home.

On the return journey, we stopped to charge five times (roughly 50 miles apart) for a charging duration of 20-30 mins each time to full or almost full (96%-99%) and received a  total charging time of two hours.  Our total journey time was seven hours (including charging time) and we spent £0 on fuel and experienced no wait time.  It was slick and worked well and we would do it again.

Our learning points were to check with Ecotricity in advance of the journey to help us plan and to check the charging points at planned stops were all online.  Also – it is best to plan to stop at services where there are more than one charger to minimise the risk of waiting/queuing.  Driving at 65mph on the motorways elongated the range sufficiently to allow charging every 50 miles.

We were left heartened and would definitely consider taking our ZOE on our trip to Scotland next month.  The good news is Ecotricity is planning on extending the charging points at the services which will only make it easier for electric car drivers like us in the future!”

Update: please note that since the publication of this article, Ecotricity have now introduced a cost for using their rapid charging network. Please click here for details.

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