Planning to pop over to Europe this summer in your EV? Chris Ramsey of Plug In Adventures took a little break from his Mongol Rally Adventure to tell us his top tips on driving Electric Vehicles in Europe.
- Preparation is Everything
As with any long distance road trip, Chris says planning is key when driving Electric Vehicles in Europe. Make sure that you know in advance how to access the charge points which you plan to use on your journey. Order your Access Cards well in advance and download any apps that you might need.
“I did about 2 months of planning and research solely around the charging network providers and this has been a god send. I have everything laid out on a route planner, which also details each charge point location and operator, so I always know which network I am going to use in advance.”
If you are in a location where charge points are scarce make sure that you take any additional cables you might need in case you need to get a charge at a campsite or from a domestic source (of course make sure you get permission first!)
- Brush up on the Rules of the Road
Make sure that you are boned up on the driving laws in the country you are visiting, and check if you are required to carry any additional items with you in the vehicle such as a high-vis jacket or breathalyser.
“There are so many factors to consider. For example some countries require you to buy a road tax sticker after crossing the border and display in your window while driving. In some cases you may require an international driving permit to go with your license.”
The AA has some great advice about legislation for motorists taking to the roads. Check it out here: https://www.theaa.com/driving-advice/driving-abroad/general-advice
- Check if you are going to be driving through a Low Emission Zone (LEZ)
Make sure you have the correct documentation if you are driving through a Low Emission Zone in Europe. Even if you have an EV you may be required to register or purchase certification for your vehicle. Some places like Paris, Lyon and Grenoble, for example, require you to display a sticker in the window on the Crit’Air scheme.
The AA also has some good information about low emissions zone in Europe with city-by-city advice here: https://www.theaa.com/european-breakdown-cover/driving-in-europe/european-low-emission-zones
The RAC has information specifically about the Crit’Air Scheme which operates in Paris, Lyon and Grenoble: https://www.rac.co.uk/drive/news/motoring-news/law-change-for-uk-drivers-in-french-cities/
- Be Prepared for Hot Weather!
Average temperatures in mainland Europe are higher in comparison to those in the UK and that can affect how your battery performs.
“The average temperature we have faced since Belgium has been about 32°C. We have found that the battery is almost in the red after 3 Rapid charges due to the high heat.”
Chris recommends keeping a keen eye on the temperature gauge and making use of undercover parking wherever possible, and to look after yourselves too! Make sure that you have plenty of water available for long road trips in hot weather!
- Don’t be afraid to ask locals for help and advice
EV drivers are a friendly lot, and that is no different out on the continent. If you are really struggling to find a charge in the area you are driving to, don’t be afraid to ask for advice when driving Electric Vehicles in Europe.
“The people we have met on the road have been so kind and offered us advice and tips while driving in their countries. It always strikes me how great it is when you pull up to a charge point anywhere in the world and people immediately extend a hand to one another and start chatting as if you already know each other.”