An excellent electric city car, the Volkswagen e-Up! received a new battery in 2019 that increased the available energy capacity from 16 to 32.3 kWh. To get away from home. But is it that simple? Is the charging network up to scratch?
The meeting will be extended
Perhaps you remember Stéphane, this Alsatian motorist who recently switched to electric mobility, and who our videographer journalist Max Freyss met. Our very friendly reader announced that he will make his first long-distance trip in July 2022, between Alsace and Normandy, with his Volkswagen e-Up! received in May.
” It is a very good EV and frankly doing 400 km on the road in the summer does not scare me (there are 2 terminals of 50 kW on the road) (Winning); ” The big flaw in e-Up! is insufficient DC charging power, making it unusable on the highway (Xavier0624).
” The secret is to avoid the motorway and drive max 90 km/h in the fast lane, especially on long journeys, otherwise watch out for the batterygate after 2 or 3 DC recharges in a row (breezhrider); ” Very good for my peri-urban use but I wouldn’t go on vacation with it (Ferruginous Water); ” However, with Ionity + Tesla “open” + Allego + Fastned + Electra, we can go far without worries. (e-Lionel); ” Good luck to them… The adventure has begun (alinat0821).
These encouraging comments, Stéphane read. They asked us to contact him again to collect his feedback after his stay in Normandy.
More than 700 km in 2 days
Stéphane and his wife left around Strasbourg (Bas-Rhin – Alsace) on Tuesday July 12 at around 9:30 a.m. Objective: To reach Honfleur (Calvados – Normandy) in 2 days, with a stop at Gasny in Eure, a few kilometers from the house of impressionist painter Claude Monet. In total, forgetting the highways, the whole journey will be more than 700 km.
Not to mention the detours due to some charging problems. ” We arrived in Gasny at 11:30 in the evening, much later than we thought. The journey out is quite complicated. Mainly because we want to limit the cost of billing. That’s why we avoid the highways. Maybe this is a mistake “said Stéphane.
” RN4 is a little rounder and the route is shorter. I run simulations on ABRP and Chargemap planners. They advised us to stop in Nancy for the first recharge. Since it’s only about 120 km from our house, I prefer to go to Toul, focusing on the Lidl fast terminal. He was there, but not active: first disappointment “, he testified.
The bad streak is getting longer
In Toul, Stéphane still plugged in his Volkswagen e-Up! in a 22 kW AC terminal. With the 7 kW on-board charger, this period of time does not allow the battery energy level to increase significantly. But 36% is enough to reach Bar-le-Duc about sixty kilometers away, and the fast charger placed in the Leclerc parking lot. The same one our editor used when he switched to electric utility.
” Leaving RN4, we no longer have the same roads. Our average is reduced. We chose not to get badges and just use smartphone applications. Referred to the Freshmile network, the Leclerc fast terminal in Bar-le-Duc does not want to start, even after several attempts. We called the hotline which restarted the charger remotely, with no further results. », Stéphane lamented.
” This is how we waste time! Fortunately, the Volkswagen dealership allowed us to charge for free, up to 58%, in 1 hour. We received a warm welcome there. Concessions should not be forgotten for long flights “, he advises.
550 km on the first day
” Then we joined Épernay. The Freshmile fast terminal in the Gallice car park initially worked well, with a power of 35 kW. To compare with the maximum 40 kW accepted by the e-Up!. We started a ride, but I saw on my smartphone after 15 minutes that it stopped charging. Back to the parking lot. Again: 20 kW. It’s 7pm and it’s hot. We stayed, and the operation did not stop “Stéphane reported.
Although the autonomy is approximated by the mini Up! Allowing him to reach Gasny, the Alsatian electromobilist preferred to reassure himself by plugging in 30 minutes of 22 kW AC in Herblay.
” It seems a bit tight for me, with a distance of only 20 km. I prefer to play it safe,” he pleaded. “It was a long, hard journey first “, he estimated, with a late arrival after about 550 km, detours included. ” Between the inoperable terminals and the bad jobs, we can easily get 30 minutes late here and there “, he underlined.
More terminals damaged
” Being a morning person, I got up at 6am to charge the car in Gasny, a 10-minute walk from the Airbnb accommodation we booked for the night. I like this 22 kW AC terminal from Siege27, very easy to use, no badge, only the blue card to be presented and a 4-digit code received to secure and stop the operation. At 3:30 p.m., full power is available for 6 euros, with hourly billing. “, explained Stéphane.
” Before going to Honfleur, we want to go to Cabourg with a lunch break and recharge in Lisieux. The terminal is right in front of the restaurant, again operated by Freshmile. There is no way to start it after several attempts. The restaurateur told us that we were not the first to encounter this problem “, he explained.
How this Kia dealership boosted sales of electric cars
” To troubleshoot, and after the meal, we like to use the one in the Leclerc car park in Lisieux, also in the Freshmile network. It just held on to its protective railing and didn’t work. It was again the local Volkswagen dealer that drove us out of there. Again, we were well received, and were able to take advantage of the coolness inside and regain 55% battery. Just enough to reach Cabourg then Honfleur “, he explained.
A terminal in a town with 600 inhabitants
” During the time we stayed around Honfleur, everything was fine. We were able to take advantage twice of a charging station in the Tesla destination, accessible without payment and without identification. Plug in and start charging. It is in the Normandy Outlet group of stores “, announced Stéphane.
” From there we went to Etretat and Dieppe. I want to see the birthplace of Alpine. But there was nothing left. As long as we were doing small trips around, we didn’t encounter any problem with recharging “, he insisted.
” To return, we got a little closer the other day by staying in Fresnoy-Folny, in the Seine-Maritime. In this town with 600 inhabitants, there is a terminal of SDE76 300 m from our accommodation. It allows us to change 100% of the battery. In my Alsatian eco-commune no bigger, we don’t have that, and that’s a shame “, he compared.
Come back more peaceful
” We experienced the return, Sunday July 17, in a less stressful and more peaceful way than the outward journey. And yet it is not so simple. We are targeting Vic-sur-Aisne for quick reloads. The terminal is occupied, and is not identified as such in the application. While waiting for it to come out, we plugged in the 22 kW AC for 15 minutes. Finally, in three quarters of an hour on the high power charger, time to drink coffee, the energy level is only from 42 to 85%. “Stephane’s numbers.
” In Fismes, a 22 kW terminal is a 10-minute walk from the restaurant where we had lunch. We used it for about an hour. Another stop in Laxou, this time at a Tesla station. It starts with the dedicated application, with a power of 37 kW “, he saw again.
” Undoubtedly due to the heat, this power quickly fell. It pretty much took a good while to go from 10 to 73% power. Enough to go home. We arrived home around 9:30pm, after an 8:45am departure, 3 recharges and about 600 km of driving. “, he was about to rejoice again.
Small balance sheet
” During this little outing of 5 days, we traveled 1,500 km for 42 euros to recharge and no motorway tolls. We favor the Eco+ mode which limits the speed to 95 km/h and therefore does not abuse the air conditioning. This allows us to get tight consumption. For example, over 548 km traveled with an average speed of 58 km/h, we recorded 10 kWh/100 km. », our interlocutor calculated.
” In retrospect, we would happily do the trip again, but differently. Since most of the time we can benefit from an electric car from cheaper energy than gasoline or diesel, we should not hesitate to pay the price if necessary during occasional long trips. For example by passing highways he pondered.
” Beware of free terminals, for example Lidl and supermarkets in general, and favor reliable terminals, such as Tesla. It is necessary to carefully prepare your itinerary by consulting, for interesting chargers on the route, Chargemap comments. Do not forget the departmental networks with several 22 kW AC terminals “, he warned.
The Volkswagen e-Up! on long journeys
” The Volkswagen e-Up! allows for long trips. But it is first and foremost an excellent car for everyday use. I advise against traveling long distances with children on board “, emphasizes the head of the family.” I repeat that the absence of a tablet that forces you to juggle a smartphone on the dashboard is annoying! “, he felt.
” Operators have a lot of work to do in terms of maintenance. It is not normal that in the middle of the holiday period the terminals remain down for days in a row “, he regretted.
” I want to launch meetings in my region of Alsace for users of Volkswagen e-Up!, Seat Mii and Skoda Citigo triplets. And then extend these meetings to other owners of electric cars “, he concluded.
Automobile Propre and I thank Stéphane very much for his new testimony in the form of feedback. If you also want to share your electric adventures, positive or negative, don’t hesitate to contact us!