Travelling Internationally With the ZOE – Part 1

Waiting for the ferry (Image: Surya)
Waiting for the ferry (Image: Surya)

Two weeks ago I went on a road trip of about a week with my ZOE. It was kind of a last minute decision as a free time slot came available and stress levels at work were high. We had the ZOE for about a month by then so we did have some experience with the car, we had put about 2000km on the odometer. But a road trip is not something we had done yet. In fact I hadn’t traveled outside the range of the car a single time (I don’t normally need to).

To prepare I went to a public charger in Belgium to make sure the charge card I had for Belgium worked. I would have to charge once in Belgium, in De Panne, close to the border of France. I had also received an Ecotricity card, but I didn’t have any other charge cards for the UK and I had ran out of time to order any. They simply wouldn’t arrive in time. I phoned Trevor to talk about the feasibility of the trip with just an Ecotricity card. We agreed that if we didn’t divert from the Electric Highway too much, we should be fine.

The day before we left I got the great news that the ‘granny cable’ to charge from domestic sockets had arrived and I could pick it up. This added an extra charge option just in case, which increased my confidence.

To get to the Electric Highway would be about 60km from Dover, where the ferry would land. To get to the ferry in Calais would be about 60km from the charger in De Panne, so well within the range of the car if I didn’t do anything crazy. The De Panne charger itself is a 22kW unit about 100km from my house. So I had to charge for about an hour to be full enough to make it to the Ecotricity charger on the M2 in Medway. To be sure I bought a flex ticket for the ferry in case we’d run late. And we did. Not because of technical reasons, we just left too late.

The trip to De Panne went smooth, the charger was easily found and free and worked. The car was full in about 40 minutes, charging from a remaining 64km. The car had predicted more time but we also stopped charging at 99%. I noticed the car keeps on charging very fast up until then, and then it takes a very long time to finish that last percent. For the rest of the trip I would always cut off at 99%. It’s simply not worth the extra time.

For the trip to Calais we didn’t take the motorway but a parallel road with speeds of 70km/h and 90km/h, as proposed by the GPS when selecting eco-route. That is something else we would use for most of the trip as usually it isn’t that much slower but it can make a big difference on range.

Coming off the ferry, we entered the postal code for the M2 charger. We knew we could make it, as we had 60km to go and 90km of range left. Clearly not a problem, but the car thought otherwise, constantly proposing to add a charger along the route, sometimes multiple times in a single minute. A bit annoying.

First charge of the trip (Image: Surya)
First charge of the trip (Image: Surya)

We arrived at the charger with 28km of range left. The charger on our side of the road was down, as indicated by the Ecotricity website, so that wasn’t a surprise. But there is a public bridge just past the services so going to the other side wasn’t a problem, and that charger worked fine. This was our very first quick charge, and man, that is indeed quick! The car was full (that is, 99%) in less than half an hour.

Charging at Clackett Lane (Image: Surya)
Charging at Clackett Lane (Image: Surya)

We did a second quick charge in Clacket Lane to take us to the Gatwick area where we stayed in a B&B for the night.

[Part 2]

Home Forums Travelling Internationally With the ZOE – Part 1

This topic contains 22 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  Dexter1979 2 years, 12 months ago.

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  • #9303

    Surya
    Participant

    Two weeks ago I went on a road trip of about a week with my ZOE. It was kind of a last minute decision as a free time slot came available and stress l
    [See the full post at: Travelling Internationally With the ZOE – Part 1]

    #9309

    timbo
    Participant

    Great report @surya, thanks for sharing your experiences so far. Reading this in rural France whilst visiting family, I’ve been wondering how easy or otherwise it might be to bring Zoe with me one day.

    #9359

    Surya
    Participant

    Thanks timbo
    I haven’t looked into France yet, but with the different connector, that could prove problematic. But my wife wants me to look in to it for next year, so I might have an update then 🙂

    #9444

    GJ
    Participant

    Nice report and being an new ZOE driver, quite a challenge. Belgium is improving but very changing experiences. You could check the AC fast chargers map of MartijnEV for your next trip ( ). We drove from the Netherlands to Denmark ( ) with our family. The ZOE itself is not that convinced of her capability’s as she indeed quite often states a destiny can’t be reached. We know better now!

    #9445

    GJ
    Participant

    Since the links don’t show up in my post:
    Operational fastchargers: http://www.ac-lader.nl
    Denmark trip: http://zoe-en.tumblr.com

    #9448

    Trevor Larkum
    Keymaster

    GJ – Welcome! I see you’ve used a FastNed station – what did you think? Are they on to a winner, or are they destined to go bankrupt?

    #9454

    GJ
    Participant

    Well Trevor, they did a really good emmission of shares, so for the moment the money is OK. But for the long time it’s depending on the development of electric driving. Are these shareholders people who actually want to support electric driving, or just moneymakers in search of a quick profit. The latter will, to my opinion, quickly discover that this was the wrong bet. For the moment I expect that Fatned has a long way to go and will only be profitable when there is a uge amount of electric cars on the road. Last year in the Netherlands there was a lot of electrical cars sold, but most of them where PHEV like the Mitsubishi Oulander and the Volvo hybrid (v40 or v60). They are mostly business drivers but with there little battery not the one’s who will charge at Fastned; they charge their little battery at home or at work, and driving on highway’s they wil use their ICE. The other large group of EV is Tesla. They might be good customers, while they don’t care about money but care for convieniance. On the other hand, their range is large and they have their own superchargers around Europe. What remains on EV is mainly driving of the highway’s. TheNewMotion is now rolling out their new fastchargers, alike the Fastned chargers, but located in the city’s. Finally; it’s expensive. That’s in fact a wrong description; it’s a lot of money. Taken into account the facility’s, it’s not expensive, however one can wonder who’s willing to pay these amounts for fast charging, when there’s a cheaper (but slower) option? For the moment the use is still for free at Fastned!
    Not that positive for Fastned, but their facility’s are good quality, as well as the organisation behind these facility’s. It all depends on enough customers and that will only be the case with as steady an large growth of the EV market now. That growth depends on the strategy of the Government of country’s and the EU. These have to devellop a clear and steady policy with support for this technology.
    Now where heading for an other topic. There’s a lot to be said about governance policy, but I think your question is answered 🙂 The future will tell and Fastned deserves support and credit.

    #9455

    Trevor Larkum
    Keymaster

    Thanks for that, GJ. For those who don’t know FastNed, their website is here.

    #10199

    Dexter1979
    Participant

    I’m planning on driving to Holland myself next year and seeing this account was great. How easy is it to get from Belgium to Holland in Zoe?

    I think I may choose the Harwich to Hook of Holland ferry. I belief Ecotricity will be putting up Rapid chargers along this route as part of the rapidchargenetwork(dot)com project. It should be finished by the time I travel or at least make it easier. I will be coming from Farnborough and get a bit lost with chargers and networks after I leave the M25. Having just the Ecotricity card would make things easier.

    Any advice welcomed.

    #10200

    Surya
    Participant

    For charging in Belgium and the Netherlands I use a card from The New Motion. They let you use a number of other networks as well and so far it has worked fine. In fact I just used it to go to Germany last week.
    You can check out their map here: https://my.thenewmotion.com/
    The card is free, the costs depend on the charger.
    Keep in mind that the map is not 100% accurate. I went to a 22kW charger, turned out to be a 43kW one. So that was positive.

    So I’d say it’s very easy, just get the app to find chargers or write down some beforehand.

    Germany was an other thing, but I’ll make a post about that shortly.

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