Can I Take an Electric Car on a Long Journey?
In early 2019 we swapped our Mini Cooper Convertible for an electric car. Our goal was to reduce our carbon footprint from flying. So, needed good range to make Europe accessible by road. At the time, other than Tesla, there were only 3 electric vehicles with a range in excess of 200 miles, all of them SUVs. So, that June we took possession of our Firenze Red Jaguar I-PACE HSE.
We've now had the car for 4 years, and recently we drove to Spain. Below I discuss various practical matters:
driving the Spain
advertised range vs actual range
how easy is it to charge
what was a typical day on our way and back
maintenance, repairs, and recalls
Range: Actual v Advertised
Our Jaguar I-Pace has a theoretical range of 292 miles. The battery is 90 kWh and in theory, the car can travel 100 km on under 20 kWh.
In practice, less than 85 kWh of the battery is usable, and we don't drive that efficiency. During regular use, we get around 221 miles on a full charge.
On road trips, your actual range. So, you have to consider both travel speed and charging speed.
As an aside, there is a good app for monitoring your Jaguar I-PACE, called WattCat. This app gives much more detailed information than Jaguar's own app.
After 4 years and 16,000 miles, WattCat says that our usable battery capacity is now 82.1 kW. So, the battery has degraded a little bit, but not that much.
Energy consumption varies greatly at different speeds. While driving in Europe we tracked kWh consumed per 100 km traveled -- keeping both the instantaneous and averaged consumption rate displayed at all times.
The maximum motorway speed in France is 130 kph. However, at this speed we consumed over 40 kWh per 100 km, giving us an effective range of only 132 miles.
Our best consumption rate was driving at 90 kph, winding off a truck. In this situation, we used around 25 kWh per 100 km (for a range of 211 miles).
Rapidly we settled on 116 kph as the best compromise - consuming about 32 kWh per 100 km - giving us a range of 165 miles.
Theoretically, we could have gotten better energy efficiency; however, we:
have the larger wheels,
were carrying a lot of stuff on this particular road trip,
our route was not level terrain, and
it was cold outside.
A Jaguar enthusiast produced his own graph of energy consumption. He found that the most energy-efficient speed is around 50 kph (30 mph) -- falling off rapidly after that. He figured we should have been consuming 27 kWh per 100 km at 125 kph. So, in better driving conditions you will get better range.
keep a close eye on your energy consumption,
figure out the best speed for you, and then
set your cruise control to minimise braking and accelerating.
The speed of charging varies significantly on how full the battery is. Officially, on a fast charger, our Jaguar can draw 100 kW when the battery is less than 40% full. Half this when 80% full, and half again when 95% full.
In practice, we were never able to charge faster than 87.5 kW (when we were at 30% full), and were only able to charge at around 37.5 kW once we got to 80% full.
Each morning we started with a 100% full battery. Our goal was to drive for around 2 hours (230 km). At 116 kph and 32 kWh/ 100 km, this would drain our battery down to 10% full.
We then stopped for around an hour to recharge and to get an early lunch. On a fast charger, an hour we get us to around 85% full.
After lunch, we would then drive for another 1.5 hours or so, and a stop and a recharge. Sometimes we would be at our destination and we would be charging for the next day. Other times we would get a snack and then drive a bit more.
In summary, we aimed to drive around 450 - 500 km per day.
A key constraint was finding fast chargers at around the right distance.
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