Speak EV - Electric Car Forums banner

1 - 18 of 18 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
82 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
I found it hard to find useful information about travelling through France and Switzerland with my EV / BMW i3. Much of the comments online are from 2015/16 or earlier. In April 2017 I found it more straight forward than I expected:
- ordered a Sodetrel RDIF card online and it was delivered via the post within a week;
- I also used free charging posts at several branches of Lidl in France; and
- via email, found a helpful BMW garage on my route in Switzerland where they provided a way for me to get a free charge on a fast charger even when the garage was shut.

It took a bit of planning. We only used fast chargers with the CCS connectors. Even then, without a range extender to give you the petrol boost (as a get out of jail card) it would be risky. But we found it fun.

The blog aims to provide some useful information for others and a bit of colour about our 1000kn day which started at 3.30am in Harrow on the London suburbs and ended 18 and a half hours later in the village of Champery in the Swiss Alps.

Blog at www.i3gb2ch.wordpress.com

Tweets from @i3gb2ch
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
115 Posts
Did you find the mapping on the satnav helpful for chargepoints in mainland Europe?

Sent from my SM-G935F using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
82 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the question. Yes and no. I spent an hour or so pre-planning at home using Chargemap - which seemed to have the best and most up to date information - and lets you filter so that you just see DC CCS. But en route as we drove we used the BMW sat nav to confirm things or reroute every now and then. The ability to check all of the nearby charging points on the dashboard was good.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
10,660 Posts
Well done. You are a greener and more patient man than me. I would have just kept filling the tank and using the REX! Is your the 94ah model?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
191 Posts
Reminds me of my first Essex to Glasgow drive in a Nissan Leaf nearly 3 years ago. The Electric Highway was very sparse back then
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
82 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the comments. The i3 I have is the old model with the smaller battery capacity - I think 60 Ah. I bought it from the dealer in January, but it had been a long term demonstrator and was registered in December 2015.

I can see the argument for just filling it up with petrol (rather than stopping to recharge it). I suppose my approach was as Mr. Green Scrooge - but tempered with a desire to manage the risk of range anxiety. I'm currently having a think about how to approach the drive back next week. Now I know for a fact that the i3 *can* cope with a 1000km trip and make it through Jura mountains, I'd like to do the drive back in a faster time but still using electricity rather than petrol as much as I can. After all, Champery is at 1050m above sea level and my home in London is 49m - so we've a whole 1000m of potential energy advantage.

Tips for the best strategy very welcome.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
10,660 Posts
Thanks for the comments. The i3 I have is the old model with the smaller battery capacity - I think 60 Ah. I bought it from the dealer in January, but it had been a long term demonstrator and was registered in December 2015.
Based on number of chargers you did I guessed so.

On a long journey, personally (if I had an i3) I would stop and charge if it fitted in with my plans - a meal or a comfort break. Otherwise I would use the REX.

I tried to plan that with my Tesla experience week, but it didn't always work. For example - I wouldn't have stopped at Winchester Hotel if I had been in my Ampera and to make it worse I had to wait 15 mins to get on a charger! Total stop was only 30 mins but the charger was a noticeable detour too.

I do respect you for trying to keep it "EV" and wish you a good time there and a safe journey back.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
82 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for the comment. I've done a bit more on the blog today - tidying it up and adding a bit more about what I think we learnt.

www.i3gb2ch.wordpress.com

There's also a Backstory page which explains a bit about me, my i3, what the Range Extender does, getting a Sodetrel card and using public charging posts.

We're planning the return journey. And are thinking 15 hours might just be do-able. Or maybe that's another target we might miss by just a bit.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
82 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
So. It’s time to plan the return journey. 1000km to be driven tomorrow.

On Good Friday, we drove out from London to the Swiss Alps in our second hand (but new to us this year) i3. It sounds naive to some of the experts on the forum, but we were worried the electric car wouldn’t manage it along the motorways at 130kmph and over the Alps (a total distance of 1000km in a day).

Boy 2 and I will be live blogging tomorrow at www.i3gb2ch.wordpress.com and Tweeting as we go @i3gb2ch – so you could track our day. Will it be another minor triumph? Or a series of tragedies?

Here’s the plan (based on the rough time predicted by Google maps at breakfast time just now):

Set off 0700 (0600 UK time) from Champéry (Switzerland)

Arrive 188km later at Lidl in Besancon (France) at about 0930 (0830 UK time)

Free Lidl 30 minute charge, so set off 1000 (0900 UK time)

Going on A roads via Gray, arrive 180km later at Aire de Chateauvillain at about 1140 (1040 UK time). Running total 368km.

Paid for Sodetrel 30 minute charge, so set off at 1210 (1110 UK time).

Motorway. Arrive Aire de Sommesous 124km later at about 1315 (1215 UK time). Running total 492km.

Paid for Sodetrel 30 minute charge, so set off at 1345 (1245 UK time).

Mainly motorway. arrive Lidl Laon 131km later at 1500 (1400 UK time). Running total 623km.

Free Lidl 30 minute charge, so set off at 1530 (1430 UK time).

Mainly motorway, arrive 135km later at Lidl Bully-les-Mines at 1650 (1550 UK time). Running total 758km.

Free Lidl 30 minute charge, so set off at 1720 (1620 UK time).

Mainly motorway. Arrive Eurotunnel Calais 95km later at 1825 (1725 UK time). Running total 853km

Free Eurotunnel 30m charge, so drive towards train boarding area 1855 (1755 UK time).

We have Eurotunnel Flexiplus which means we should board a train without a big delay. On the way out it took 1 hour 25 minutes. I’m assuming it will be a bit faster and so I’m allowing 1 hour and 15 minutes. So, we’ll be driving off the train in England at 1910 UK time.

Mainly motorway. Arrive home in Harrow 164km (102 miles) later at 2140 UK time. Running total 1017km. (about 630 miles)

On the way out it took 18 hours 30 minutes. If we were able to stick to this plan we’d have brought the time down to 15 hours 45 minutes.

But if we hit traffic, get held up at Eurotunnel or one of the charging points is in use by another EV when we arrive we’ll build up delays.

@i3gb2ch www.i3gb2ch.wordpress.com
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
82 Posts
Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
snow on roof.jpg

Okay. So, snow overnight was not part of the plan. We'll still be sliding away from Champery at six o'clock UK time.

Nine hours 13 minutes and counting down.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
82 Posts
Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Thanks. It's not been plug and play all the way. And we've made slower progress than our target. Details at www.i3gb2ch.wordpress.com - with a few photos too.

And now we're on board the Shuttle. And hoping that it'll be rolling in a few minutes.

Current charge 85%. Current distance driving through Switzerland and France so far today 827km.

As I type this, we're moving off.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
115 Posts
Thanks. It's not been plug and play all the way. And we've made slower progress than our target. Details at www.i3gb2ch.wordpress.com - with a few photos too.

And now we're on board the Shuttle. And hoping that it'll be rolling in a few minutes.

Current charge 85%. Current distance driving through Switzerland and France so far today 827km.

As I type this, we're moving off.
Having been to Switzerland and back, would you repeat this again in your i3?

Sent from my SM-G935F using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
82 Posts
Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Will we try it again?

Yes. It was a bit of fun - a minor adventure. We'll probably try to:

1. Beat our time coming back. Better planning and doing the turnaround at charge points faster.

2. Doing a route via other countries with different charge post firms / operators. Germany? Belgium?

3. Doing it in the winter - with winter tyres and seeing how the battery performance changes.

Blog still getting visits www.i3gb2ch.wordpress.com

Any other suggestions for challenges welcome.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
82 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
On holiday in China for ten days. Currently on another 1000km journey from Xi'an back to Beijing on a high speed train (the Chinese equivalent of a TGV or bullet train).

Pondering the practicalities of the train's route with an EV.

Talking with someone we met in Xi'an there are tax breaks here that are comparable with the UK. Also, we were told (in Xi'an, at least) EVs can drive in bus lanes (which I don't think we could have done anywhere on our GB to CH run).

This article (which is fairly old) suggests charging posts are an issue. So I reckon we might be relying on the REx for even more of the trip than we did in Europe).

China Puts Billions Into Electric Cars & EV Charging Stations

Masses of China's urban housing is high rise and if you have a car you need to buy or rent a parking space. That adds to cost, and you might need a v long cable for a grandfather charger.

In Xi'an I didn't spot any EVs. But we did in Beijing earlier in the week. See i3GB2CH

With air quality and pollution a big issue (every time I look out of the train window it feels as if I spot another coal fired power station) it's no wonder China has its own targets for electric cars.

Mind, of course, getting the i3 out here in the first place would be the first challenge. From the advice on here to Andy Swan about moving to Cyprus, maybe that would be an even bigger project than the 1000km.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
82 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
Setting off from central London at lunchtime we've made it to a hotel just beyond Reims in France. Just in time for the first episode of the Apprentice on the telly.

A couple of times today, I have come close to being fired. There was the charging point that didn't exist, and the slight mix up at a French roundabout. Tomorrow we head for the Swiss border.

Don't panic.

www.i3gb2ch.co.uk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
82 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
We made it to Switzerland. But there were a few glitches on the way. Not least a charger that failed to fire up - even after Sodetrel had done a complete reset of the pump. Thanks to the REx we were not stranded. But it's cold comfort to be here thanks to a long stretch on petrol.

The blog tells the bumpy story. We're here for a week, then we zap back.

www.i3gb2ch.co.uk
 
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
Top