Electric cars are becoming a viable transportation solution with almost all major car manufacturers now offering many models of electric vehicles (EVs). This is thanks is a large part to the hype surrounding the development and manufacture of Tesla cars by the iconic Elon Musk.
Anyway I decided to take the electric car on a day’s around Ireland tour to see how it can be managed when pushed to the limit. It basically involved a Dublin-Galway-Limerick-Dublin drive over 14 hours and 3 meetings, which amounted to over 600 km in one day (I did not do this just for the fun, I also had to visit sites in the 3 locations in the one day).
I was driving the BMW i3 which has an all-electric range of about 180 km in real driving conditions. It also has an on board backup generator for emergencies, although this will only add an additional 100 km range on a full tank.
The first thing to be said about driving electric is that it is great fun and much more enjoyable than an internal combustion engine (ICE) car. I think that this has to do with the acceleration that an electric motor has and also almost all electric cars are automatic, so no fussing with changing gears. But the lack of noise and vibration is a surprising benefit, especially on long journeys as you do not feel as tired when you reach your destination.
Using an EV for regular commutes is very straight forward and 1000s of people do it every day, however doing a grand tour creates different challenges and these are the points that I discovered from my intensive day tour:
The world of motoring is anxiously awaiting the imminent arrival of the Tesla Model 3; which will be a game changer. This is not because the Model 3 will be so much better than other EVs already on the market. The Nissan Leaf practically has an equally good specification and has been on the market for years. The big difference is the dedicated Super Charging network. Because Tesla have their own charging stations they can ensure that the speed of charge and the car specification are optimised to the maximum (Tesla Supercharge can deliver 120kW, the alternative fastest is 45kW, this is 266% more power). This results in consistent super charging speeds and the knowledge that the charge stations are not occupied by any other EV brand owners. Already they have 8 super charging points on the motorway between Dublin and Cork, so this journey is already easily doable in a Tesla car. And with new charging stations coming online near Limerick and Kinnegad getting around Ireland in the Model 3 will so much easier when they become available this summer (that is if you pre-ordered yours). With varying estimates of between 400k and 600k pre-orders it is clear the Model 3 will be a huge success. EVs are the future of motoring and it makes me feel really positive about the future. For people with a regular commute it requires very little change in habit and EVs are ideal for this type of journey. For people like me who have to do visit various parts of the country on an irregular schedule it requires more preparation and planning, but what I have found is that it is possible and even very rewarding to arrive more relaxed while helping protect the environment.