Driving to Austria in an electric car? No problem!

Driving to Austria in an electric car? No problem!

On Thursday, Job Devos' electric company car was delivered. Three days later, he was setting off for Austria on holiday, a drive of over 1,000 km, all without any charging-related stress. “I would recommend it to anyone, as the ride comfort is so much better. With a certain amount of preparation, your trip is guaranteed to be plain sailing.”

No stress whatsoever

For Job Devos, Site Manager at timber construction company Woema, the trip was made extra exciting as he carried a trailer with a heavy engine on it. “My Business Manager was unequivocal: just because you choose to go electric, doesn't mean you have to sacrifice comfort. I therefore opted for a Škoda Enyac iV, with ample space, sufficient range and a tow bar, just like with my previous company car.”

Be sure to look for plenty of charging locations in advance, ones with multiple charge points. If you do this, you'll never have to wait.

Job Devos

“I left three days after my Škoda was delivered. I had no ‘charging stress’ to speak of. I had already taken a long electric drive, so I knew I had to prepare.” This mainly involves researching charging locations. “With the weight I was carrying, I was sure I could cover 350 km. Still, just to be on the safe side, I made sure to visit a charging location every 250 km. Fortunately, the car's GPS helped tremendously with that.”

Tip: never wait for a spot

“Unfortunately, the GPS never knows everything. It does not know, for example, which charge points are compatible with my MobilityPlus charge card. Fortunately, this wasn’t a problem, as the MobilityPlus app gives you this info. I would also advise everyone not to seek out fast chargers where there is only one charge point – something that the GPS does tell you. All this meant I never had to wait for a spot. Charging with a fast charger only takes about 20 minutes.”

On the return leg, I stopped four times to charge. If you were going to stop occasionally anyway to eat or drink, this doesn't feel like any sort of imposition.

Job Devos

While this did mean a longer journey time, it also meant being much more relaxed along the way. “On the outward leg of the journey, I stopped five times. On the return leg, I was more aware of what the car could handle, so I did it in just four stops. I’ve not used to stopping along the way, so it did add about an hour and a half to my overall journey time. On the other hand, I did arrive at my destination much more refreshed and feeling far less rushed.”

Always plenty of locations to choose from

Despite Austria’s notoriously mountainous terrain, Job never ran into any difficulties. “The range was always at least 400 km without a trailer, regardless of the gradient. What you lose riding uphill, you gain right back on the descents. Naturally, your driving style also has an impact on your range. In the evenings, I could always find a slow charger less than 10 minutes' walk away. Germany and Austria are well equipped in this respect. Every petrol station, and even every church, has at least one double charge point.”

With fast charging, you pay about 85 cents per kWh, with slow charging about 45 cents.

Job Devos

“Only once was there already a car parked at a free charge point, which meant I couldn't use it. However, there was always an alternative. The next day, I simply sought out a fast charger and was quickly on my way. In Austria, I opted to use slower charge points wherever possible. While I wasn't obliged to take that into account for my employer, it does save a lot on their bill. With fast charging, you pay about 85 cents per kWh, with slow charging about 45 cents.”

Is it for everyone?

Job is unequivocal: electric cars are for everyone, including for long journeys. “I think the biggest challenge is that every charge point works slightly differently. One model may require you to plug in first, another may require you to use your charge card, yet another may require you to press a button... Some people may find this difficult. I would advise them to stay calm, as it always works out in the end. That being said, having good start-up support is crucial. While you will have to do some things a little differently than before, your ride comfort is so much greater in return. Once you've gone electric, you won't want to go back.”