Proof of Concept
One of the most common questions we get asked when talking about Electric Vehicles is “How far will they go?”
‘Range Anxiety’ still remains one of the most associated misconceptions with EVs, even though technology has improved dramatically over the last few years. We’ve had endless conversations with friends, colleagues, customers, and the general public – trying to change their views and really educate on the capabilities of an EV.
So, when Christina Bu, CEO, General Secretary of the Norwegian EV Association invited us to Norway for their annual EV summit, we felt this would be the perfect chance to demonstrate a proof of concept; and decided we would drive to Norway.
Our Electric Road Trip
Our electric road trip took us through five countries; The Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Norway. All of which the intelligent Tesla Model S had routed for us as well as calculating the number of charging stops and minimum time required at each, according to driving style.
In my opinion, this is one of the best features of the electric car as it takes away all the brain work. You don’t get a chance to go through range anxiety because the technology onboard has already assured you; especially if you’ve never driven such a long distance before, let alone in a fully electric car! Luckily, I had the pleasure of sharing the drive with Mark:
“The last time I did a road trip to Norway was in 1984, from Basel, Switzerland to Bergen and back in a Citroen 2CV AK, with an air cooled 2-Cylinder Internal Combustion Engine rated at 29 Bhp. At the time this was considered a pretty cool and economic car with a fuel consumption of only around 8ltr/100 Km when fully loaded with camping equipment and food for 4 weeks. For the 4000km trip the 2CV would have burnt around 320ltr of Petrol, that’s over 1.5 oil-barrels full!
The trip was beautiful and adventurous, visiting and camping in remote areas of southern Norway and listening to our favourite songs recorded on cassette tapes. The main concern would have been getting back home without any major mechanical failure of engine or transmission or running out of funds to pay for the fuel. Although my wanderlust has not ceased, technically things have moved on a bit since then and this time round the 3800km roundtrip from Telford, UK to Oslo, Norway was undertaken in a Tesla model S P90D with 691 Bhp and two electric motors. We didn’t spend a cent on fuel and the round trip was absolved in 7 days, including the 3days we enjoyed in Oslo.
The Model S was often “driving itself” in auto pilot mode and we couldn’t run out of favourite songs streaming off the internet. The concern of running low on battery during this long drive never raised its head and usually we would need a break to stretch our legs long before the Tesla required charging.” Mark Maurice, CTO, Director
The Seamless Journey
We caught the ferry from Harwich to the Hook of Holland, and as a bonus, we could skip the queues by requesting an EV charging point on board. The ferry journey allowed us to recharge our own batteries too, after driving five hours with only a dinner break in between.
We arrived in The Netherlands the next morning at 8.30am. Driving off the ferry, we waited a few minutes for Google maps to update but it seemed that the car didn’t realise we had crossed the sea. So, we gave Tesla Technical Helpline a call; the friendly guy (based at the Amsterdam HQ) requested we parked up safely and performed a software reset. Within a few minutes of driving on, the navigation had picked up our location and off we went.
This experience alone was just amazing; being in a foreign country with a technical glitch is slightly nerve-wracking, but I don’t know any other car manufacturer that can perform such a seamless remote service and this increased our confidence levels for the rest of the journey!
Driving With Complete Confidence
We drove that day for around 10 hours, enjoying the bright sunshine and speed-limitless autobahn. The car handled like a dream; with most of the weight being along the floor of the car, you get an extremely low centre of gravity and experience complete confidence. The dual-motors are digitally controlled, resulting in unparalleled traction. It was truly a fantastic and fun driving experience!
We stopped at Superchargers along the way; boosting the 90kW battery to 80% in 20minutes and 100% in less than an hour. It was fantastic and not once did we feel like the charging stops were interfering with our schedule – instead, it felt like it was timed well with our own biological clocks!
The need to stop for food, drinks, loo breaks and stretches seemed to be far greater than the car’s need to top up. Most of the superchargers were located conveniently at hotel carparks, service stations and ironically, some even on petrol station forecourts!
That evening we decided we should find somewhere to sleep and resume our journey in the morning. We simply went onto the Tesla interface and searched for hotels under the ‘Destination Charging’ so we could get an overnight charge whilst we slept. We found a lovely place on the coastline of Northern Germany called the Beach House.
The next morning, after a chilly stroll along the seafront and a scrumptious breakfast, we continued our drive, catching a short ferry through to Denmark. Soon after, we were driving up the Swedish coastline – as beautiful as the roads were though, the weather was quite horrific. So, we engaged autopilot, allowing the radars and sensors to work out the lane positioning and the traffic aware cruise control to speed us up and slow us down accordingly. It was genius!
It took us two and a half days to arrive in Oslo, Norway. Once there, we were greeted with -1o degrees in temperature! Upon arrival at the Radisson Blu, we were able to simply hand over the car keys and let them take care of parking and charging. What a doddle! Now, all we had to do was look forward to the upcoming days at the Nordic EV Summit.
Norway – World Leaders in E-Mobility
An interesting fact that in December 2017, every second car sold in Norway was Electric! Norway has been exemplar in leading the way for EVs, with low tax benefits, as well as initiatives such as driving in bus lanes, no toll charges, free parking, etc.
The summit was very interesting, covering topics such as current and future EV market shares, insights from five different countries, upcoming research into technology such as V2G, plans for electric aviation, developments in hydrogen and much more! We met some highly interesting individuals and had some really engaging discussions. It was lovely to catch up with our friends from the UK too; Funmi, Albert and Marsha from 3FEV; a London based car sharing company, and Richard and Simon from R Symons Ltd; EV specialists and resellers based in Bournemouth.
Click here to view our downloadable PDF which gives our thoughts and insights following the EV Nordic Summary.
Our Short but Sweet Excursions
Following on from the summit, we only had one more day in Oslo before heading back to the UK, so we decided to spend this day exploring the fascinating city of Oslo; visiting the scenic Holmenkollen and iconic Vigeland Sculpture park.
After an eventful time in Oslo, we took our place behind the wheel again and started the return trip. In total, we covered 3,200km, over 45-48 hours of driving, and we didn’t once run out of juice!
Watch the time-lapse video of our road trip here –
Our vison and mission for the future is that such a road trip will be powered by 100% renewable energy to make this a truly sun-driven experience.
Author: Parveen Begum, CEO, Director