Everyone looked at us with a small smile and twinkling eyes as we unveiled our travel plans. We were going through Germany by electric car, straight to Wroclaw in Poland. The last fast charger was at the border crossing. They asked us if we were afraid of finding ourselves without charging options in the middle of nowhere. Needless to say, we could could hardly deny that we were a bit nervous. But after checking everything in the app twice, and double checking with our hotels to see if they had power sockets outside, we set off.
Why we covered more than 1,000 km with an electric car
Around 23,000 fully electric cars are now on the road in Belgium. Thanks to group purchases, car-sharing initiatives, lowering purchase prices, a greater variety, a wider range and extra charging stations, electric driving has become more affordable and more user-friendly. But for many people, covering long distances, such as for holidays, is still a major barrier.
We also hesitated to take the train to Poland. A quick calculation of the number of advantages against disadvantages was won without a doubt by the electric car. Why? It’s would only be an hour longer with the electric car compared to a normal car. We would still be independent enough to go where we wanted, even if Covid-19 made things difficult. And of course we would keep our emissions super low.
We drove to Poland with the Audi e-tron Sportback, which had an approximately 350 km range during our trip. For the outward journey, we needed to hit five charging stops. In the return journey, only four. The car itself calculated the stops to recharge and we always double-checked with the Audi app if there was a fast charger available.
Since most of our trip was through Germany, we had more than enough options. Some stops even had more than 30 charging stations! Every two hours we had a short charging stop (20-30 minutes) for coffee and a toilet break and we could change drivers. Several times, the app sent us a notification that the car was fully charged, even though we weren’t even ready to hit the road again yet!
We thought that it was going to be more difficult to find (fast) chargers in Poland itself, but that was actually no problem at all. In our first hotel in Wroclaw, Puro Hotel, we found a charging station for the car in the covered parking of the Narodowe Forum Muzyki, a two-minute walk away. Around the city, there are several chargers scattered at shopping malls.
From the moment we left the city and started exploring the nature around Silesia, we had slightly fewer options. But we could always plug our car into a socket in our hotel, which meant we could charge up to 80 km extra driving range every night. In addition, we were also able to charge at the Greenway charging points. You can find our full itinerary, including the hotels with charging options, in our Lower Silesia post.
What we learned about traveling with an electric car:
- Even in a regular car, you actually spend almost the same amount of time at stops during a long car journey.
- You get much further than you think with your electric car. Sometimes hotel owners are also genuinely thrilled when you are the first guest whose car they can plug into their infrastructure.
- Traveling with an electric car is super pleasant. You drive so quietly that it almost feels like you’re floating towards your destination.
- Always double check whether your car is actually charging. Sometimes all the lights are on and the car is correctly connected, but there is still a technical fault somewhere in the charging pole itself.
- Also double check whether you have set the GPS correctly, especially if you do not know the region well. You don’t want to drive 100 km in the wrong direction to find out that there is no charging point within your radius. It almost happened to us. Fortunately, we still had enough reserves on the battery to make a ‘small detour’ without any problems. A little stressful though.
Still in doubt about electric driving?
We listed all the benefits of electric driving for you in a separate article. Furthermore, the Belgian ‘Bond Beter Leefmilieu’ has a ton of information and answers to frequently asked questions on their site. There is also a handy tool from the Flemish government that allows you to calculate the total cost of your own (electric) car.