Traveling by electric car? “Be sure to bring a ‘grandmother’s plug'”

With the summer holidays approaching, the great exodus of motorists to southern Europe is about to begin. More and more people are doing it in an electric car. “Anyone following the route south through Luxembourg can sometimes run into problems,” says Mitch Vergoen, a VAB spokesman.

Peter Gordets

How many Belgians drive electric cars now?

There are just over 100,000 electric cars in Belgium. That may sound like a lot, but out of a total of nearly six million vehicles, that’s just 1.7 percent of the total fleet—more than 85 percent of those vehicles are company cars. So, electric driving continues to be an incredibly special story.”

Is the network of charging stations in our country equipped enough to handle peak times during the summer holidays?

“In the past, France may have been a desert freight station, but now that applies more to Wallonia. Those who follow the route south through Luxembourg can run into trouble. Even for petrol and diesel cars, we noticed that on the E25 from Liège there is a gap It is 134 kilometers without a filling station.There is a gap of 98 kilometers from Brussels on the E411 motorway.

“For electric cars, the problem is more severe. This means that those who leave home with a full battery can cross Wallonia, but they will have trouble on the first charge. Everyone will want to charge in Luxembourg, for example on Air de Cappellen or Air de Berchem. There are six Charging stations for each. This will cause problems at peak times. So we advise drivers to charge for the first time at a Tesla Superchargers charging station in Arlon, where you can also charge with other brands. So first you have to get off the highway. It’s easy to figure out: It is best to download the Tesla app in advance.

What about the network of charging stations in our neighboring countries?

“We know from experience that most people go to France. We investigated it ourselves: this year it really has become a lot easier than last year. In a year, the country has caught up considerably, especially in terms of fast charging stations. It may not seem like a hundred A thousand French charging stations overload – the Netherlands has 50,000 – are well distributed on tourist routes.

“It’s of course a different story in the destination itself. It’s better to check in advance what charging infrastructure is there. The rule is: the further south you go, the lower the quality of coverage. But there are also fewer electric cars.”

What tips do you have to save battery?

“Saving equals adjusting the pace. Last year we had two cars driving in the south of France: one going at 100 kilometers per hour and the other at top speed. The first was faster at the destination: it consumed less and had to charge less.

But we really need to change our mindset: accept that travel takes time. There is no point in wanting to get to your destination as quickly as possible. Make the ride to your destination part of your journey: stop somewhere, stretch your legs and charge your car in the meantime.”

What should first-time electric vehicle travelers know?

“Give yourself a margin to deviate. Maybe the charging station provided isn’t working or there’s a queue too long. If you’re diving under the 80-100km range, you’d better add more.”

“It is also better to offer more than just a charge card, some kind of bank card that you can charge at fast charging stations. In principle, they should accept all charge cards. In practice, this is not always the case. There are many applications, such as Charge Map, to study which charging stations accept cards.That’s why it’s important to plan your route in advance.

Finally, it’s not a good idea to put a ‘grandma’s tampon’ in the trunk. (He laughs) By this I mean a conventional plug that can be plugged into a regular socket. This may charge the car battery very slowly, but it can be the ultimate backup.”

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Denton Watson

"Friend of animals everywhere. Evil twitter fan. Pop culture evangelist. Introvert."

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