I have good news for you. The time when going on holiday in an electric car was an adventure is well and truly over… 2020 now, equipped with more powerful batteries and motors, they are no longer afraid of long distances. Of course, there are a few rules to take into account as this is a completely new driving experience.
Come and experience with me this exploration where progress is an electrifying preoccupation. Far from the challenge, far from the performative itinerary. With departure and arrival no longer a goal, the journey begins.
At a time when the number of electric car models is multiplying, it is also perfectly possible to use a 100% electric car to cover long distances, such as going on holiday, for example.
So it’s with the new Audi e-tron Sportback that I take to the road for a trip in two key moments. The first for a trip between Paris and Marseille. The second for a road trip called Pulse In The South – to be discovered here – A journey of more than 1000 Miles in this new electric Audi on motorways, roads, towards the sea and the mountains.
4 stops for charge
Near. 10 hours
For a long journey like this, the Audi e-tron is a suitable vehicle. Called the “55 quattro”, this Sportback version develops up to 408 horsepower (300 kW) for a 0 to 62 Miles speed in 5.7 seconds. You know the aim is not to break a record, but above all to reappreciate what happens between the start and finish. That’s what we call the journey, isn’t it?
When I arrive on board, I enter my final destination, Marseille, in the GPS on the pleasant central screen, it is also possible to integrate the GPS on the virtual cockpit screen for more visibility. It seems to be a detail, but what appeals to me is the almost infinite possibility of modulating the interior space. From the addition of favourites between the two central screens to the possibility of having information on the virtual Cockpit. You immediately feel at ease at the wheel of this spectacular vehicle. I have an announced range of 200 Miles.
Before taking the road, I have the possibility to ask the computer to find the charging stations with the estimated autonomy each time. Honestly, it is not necessary to browse the sites that list all the recharging stations in France, and calculate my steps. The computer does it for me. I download the My Audi application to have all the information about the vehicle at my fingertips, as well as almost instantaneous information about the charging stations and their availability.
In my case, since experience rhymes with travel, I prefer to let myself go and make a stop every 124 Miles, leaving me a margin of about 93 / 105 Miles of autonomy. So the calculation is quick. I will be passing through 4 Ionity supercharger stations. These fast charging stations reserved for several manufacturers including Audi are a major asset in the commercial battle with Tesla. With a power that can exceed 150 kW, allowing you to recover 80% of your charge in 30 minutes. (The first time, I didn’t have time to finish my lunch).
I hit the road, I cross Paris for a few kilometers before reaching the highway and the first thing that strikes me is my great dexterity in driving the vehicle – well, rather – the technological feat of making a colossus as imposing as the e-tron Sportback practicable. It is remarkable for its balance and dynamism. Obviously, this is made possible by the electronic armada. But it’s just as reassuring to know that we’re in a real car, an Audi!
The first 62 Miles on the motorway
The improved aerodynamics play on the vehicle’s range and charisma, spectacular with this more sporty, streamlined rear profile. Called Sportback, it has become a full-fledged range at the German manufacturer for several years now. The Sportback doesn’t go unnoticed with its bulky appearance, especially with this galaxy blue metallic, and of course… its silence. Throughout my journey, I will have gathered a lot of goodwill.
For my first stop at the Nemours Ionity station. It’s the first time and it’s a relief. Not that I lacked energy, but like everything else, the first experience and a series of questions. Once there, I put my badge on the terminal, having chosen my type of recharge, here, an HPC socket. I have 30 minutes. I can then go to the service area to have lunch and check my e-mails. Finally almost, as the waiting time was longer because of the Covid, I swallowed my sandwich quickly. It’s short 30 min when you wait 20 min to pay for a sandwich.
AIRE DE NEMOURS A6 77140 NEMOURS, FRANCE
Wifi. Toilets. ATM
80% charge in 30 min
This is a crucial moment. As I said earlier: the first time is discovery, the second is adaptation. Now that I’m starting to familiarise myself with this new driving mode. I’m adopting a different pace, driving just below the speed limits imposed, which adjusts the time between stages and ensures that my range doesn’t decrease quickly. As an electric vehicle recovers energy during deceleration phases, these long distance and high speed journeys are relatively hard on the battery. It is therefore recommended that you drive 6 Miles below the limit, 74 Miles on the motorway for example, to optimise the ratio of driving time to stopping time. With a battery that empties less quickly, the stopping time at superchargers will logically be shorter, which is still advantageous compared to the time lost by driving slower. Honestly, the interior is so pleasant that you don’t even notice the time spent.
Discover more pics and videos On Instagram
After leaving the Ionity station in Nemours with about 205 Miles of available autonomy, I continue my motorway journey. Still keeping my margin to my second stage, to the superchargers of Lochères. Access to the station is rather easy, with its four bollards visible from afar and adequate signage. The layout of the loaders, laterally to the parking areas, allows you to enter and leave the site without manoeuvring. Knowing the process now. Starting the recharge is quick: just plug in your vehicle and pay with your card. Important to know, pricing is based solely on the energy delivered (per kWh). Note that owners of Daimler, BMW, Porsche, Volkswagen and of course Audi vehicles can benefit from advantageous rates (around 0.30 €/kWh) by using the badges offered by these manufacturers, members and financers of the Ionity consortium.
A6/E15/E60 AIRE DES LOCHERES 21320 EGUILLY, FRANCE
Wifi. Toilets. ATM.
I am 124 Miles from Lyon. A torrential rain falls on the road. For me, as for everyone, I think, this kind of situation is not very pleasant. I take the opportunity to activate the driving assistant. This type of configuration allows me to adopt a different attitude. While remaining alert, the vehicle helps me with the driving effect. In addition to adaptive cruise control. The vehicle follows the lines of the road and remains active, eliminating the need for the driver to repeatedly move back and forth between the brake and accelerator. Of course, I must always keep my hands on the steering wheel and be ready to react in case of a problem.
Playlist for the road
- Polynation – Anther
- Superpitcher – Delta
- Fat Sushi – Fanfare
- Coma – Raindrops
- Cigarettes After Sex – K.
- Ride with you – The White Lamp
- Jim Henderson – Never Ending
More than 3 hours of music…
The interior ambiant of Audi e-tron Sportback.
I change the colour of the interior by switching to solar mode. I play the last Roadness playlist and here I am in a completely different atmosphere. Seriously, it’s all said and done. All it takes is a few well-orchestrated manipulations to go from monotonous to very cool.
Aire de Moinnay A46 01390, France
Wifi. Toilets. ATM.
Here I am a few km from Lyon, I take 30 min to recharge at the station of Mionnay Chatanay and having nevertheless planned to spend a night in Lyon. Anticipation is fundamental when driving this kind of vehicle. I have an appointment at Villa MaÏa. Autopilot + breaks every 2 hours + electro music playlist. I’m in great shape, the evening is going to be sporty.
Where to sleep at Lyon?
On the Fourvière hill, time has stopped, this hill “which prays” watches over the city of Lyon. From a conventual silence, it brings serenity and spirituality like nowhere else. Come and discover my experience at Villa Maia Continue Reading…
It is 6 o’clock in the morning, it was a short night. Why? It is to be discovered here. The car is fully loaded. It’s time to hit the road again. Last straight line before my arrival in Marseille. I like to take the road at the first light, it’s my source of energy!
As the subject around energy is launched. Let’s talk about the e-tron Sportback which has received several updates on energy management. When put together, the benefits are considerable. The battery still has a rated capacity of 95 kWh, but reprogramming has increased its useful capacity from 84.5 to 86.5 kWh. A new heat pump is being introduced and energy recovery during deceleration is much more efficient.
Discover more pics and videos On Instagram
This last point is particularly sensitive to driving: there are still three recovery levels (controlled by the paddles), the highest of which offers a pronounced engine brake while remaining easy to dose. I know, it’s technical, but it’s important to point that out. You don’t buy a vehicle of this capacity just to claim an ecological spirit. This detail makes the Audi e-tron Sportback a sure bet against the competition.
A7 Morières-les-Avignon 84310 Morières-lès-Avignons, France
Wifi. Toilets. ATM.
My predictions were right, it’s a beautiful day
I start a last reload before arriving in the Phocaean city. It had to happen, the terminals are not accessible. Bad reading on my part on the app. The one opposite is available, all the lights are green. It indicates a distance of + 18 Miles. I have more than 74 Miles of autonomy left. After 20 min. I reach the terminal that works correctly. This unfortunate experience shows that it is imperative to always have a reserve of at least 93 Miles of autonomy in order to foresee this kind of problem.
I arrive in Marseille with a little over 40% of the battery, or 105 Miles available. For a long journey of 487 Miles, the comfort of the seats and the general behaviour of the vehicle and its silent engine clearly allowed me to conserve my strength.
Things to do Marseille
Let’s talk about the trip! I had the impression that this was my first vacation. You know the one when she turned 18.Between doubt and excitement… giving way to letting go. Throughout my journey, I was reassured to be a real vehicle, with a manufacturer that moves with the times. This first stage is a real success.
The journey continues with the discovery of the Pulse In The South.