How many countries could you visit in 24 hours? How many could you visit in an electric car? That’s what the company “What Car?” wanted to find out. Actually, the people at What Car? wanted to do more than figure out their limit — they wanted to set a new world record. Did they succeed?
Oh yeah, you already read the headline. Yes, they did.
Technically, we don’t really know if someone else has beat them at some point — probably a less publicized adventurer has. However, their search pulled up Audi’s 10-country road trip in an e-tron back in 2019, which was part of an Ionity promotional tour, as the standing unofficial record. Beating that by a wide margin, the What Car? crew entered 14 countries in under 24 hours.
Unsurprisingly, they used the Porsche Taycan. The Taycan has an 800-volt system that allows it to charge ultrafast — more ultrafast than other ultrafast-charging cars.[embedded content]
Setting the stage a bit, they wrote about the long-loved British pastime of driving around mainland Europe, or driving down to France or Spain. They then posed the question of whether this would still be possible as we switch to electric cars. (Of course it will, but remember that they are writing for a more general audience than we here at CleanTechnica serve.) I thought it was a nice open-minded intro to the topic and to the idea of switching to an electric car. (Though, it might have been more relatable if they didn’t use a wildly expensive Porsche Taycan, but what can you do?) To wrap up their intro, they write:
“The theory being that, if we could drive almost the entire breadth of mainland Europe in less than a day, you should hopefully have the confidence to undertake your annual family trip in an EV.
“Just a few years ago this kind of adventure would have only been an option for Tesla owners thanks to the company’s widespread Supercharger network, but thankfully, that is no longer the case. Over the past few years a joint venture called Ionity — formed by the BMW Group, Ford Motor Company, Hyundai Motor Group and Volkswagen Group — has been rolling out 350kW charging stations across the Continent. Because they’re intelligently placed on the most commonly traversed throughfares, we found it surprisingly easy to schedule in six charge stops along our route, none of which required a major detour.”
There are also growing networks of other ultrafast charging stations — like Fastned in the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, France, and the UK; and Greenway in Poland and Slovakia. Combine these with Ionity and several other networks, get a PlugSurfing account, and you can get nearly anywhere in Europe.
The authors note that while their road-trip Porsche Taycan can charge at up to 270 kW, a more typical (and affordable) ID.4 has a max charging rate of 130 kW.
To get back in the car and onto the road ASAP, a Taycan can go from 10% to 80% state of charge in just ~20 minutes. That’s barely enough time to go to the bathroom and grab a snack and a coffee. In fact, I am writing this while at a Tesla Supercharger where my estimated charging time was 25 minutes. I’m hungry and need to use the bathroom and the Supercharger is right behind a Whole Foods where I planned to solve both issues, but I decided to wait to charge first (while working on this article) because I was concerned I would have to rush while eating in order to get back to the car in time. Long story short: a 20 or 25 minute charge from 10% to 80% (I was in fact going from 11% to 80%) is really not much time.
The team’s target was visiting 13 countries in 24 hours. The rationale was thus: “Speaking of theoreticals, Google Maps calculated it would be possible to visit 13 countries in 19 hours and 30 minutes. Add in six 30-minute charging stops and a couple of 20-minute border crossings and that adds up to a total time of 23hr 10min. Tight but achievable.”
In laying out how they would start their journey, the writers explained their well thought out plan for charging to 100%, getting on the Eurotunnel to France, and then charging again ~200 miles away in the Netherlands. However, they added a short top-up right after the Eurotunnel and felt compelled to explain themselves. The explanation is useful and provides a good little nod to the Porsche Taycan (which, from my previous understanding as well as their comments, is well deserved). Here it is: “Well, in all honesty, we just didn’t trust the Taycan quite yet. Despite Porsche telling us how efficient the Taycan would be at speed on account of its slippery aerodynamics and clever two-speed gearbox, we seriously doubted that it could get close to its official 301-mile range while sitting at around 70mph – a doubt seeded from our experience covering big distances in other EVs.
“Mercifully, this feeling did not last long. After just a couple of hours behind the wheel en route to the Netherlands, photographer John Bradshaw was the first to notice that the Taycan’s predictive range was decreasing at a steady rate of around one to one — one mile lost from the readout per one mile covered. This predicted range, combined with a relatively quick charge in Sevenum, where the peak speed hit a respectable 150kW, gave us the confidence to crack on with the attempt.”
Overall, it’s a useful account of a hardcore, extensive, 24-hour road trip around part of Europe. The writers do justice to the experience, the car, the charging stations, and the fun of it all.
Backing up my comments above, regarding one charging stop in Germany, they wrote the following: “After 30 minutes we were back up to 90% and ready to go; we barely had enough time to grab a coffee and some greasy food before heading off to country number six: Switzerland.” If you’re acting like a normal human being, there really is not much waiting at a fast charging station on an EV road trip. It’s not something to worry about. By the way, one thing I did with my young girls on a road trip across Florida was that I took some jump rope and they jumped rope a little bit at one stop. I figured it was a good way to get some blood flow and exercise on a long drive. Electric car or not, that can be a helpful short activity.
Oh, and how fast were these guys actually able to drive their Porsche Taycan? I don’t know about top speed, but in the 23 hours and 50 minutes they took to “visit” 14 countries, they averaged 61 mph (98 km/h). Not bad! And their total cost, across 1199 miles (1930 km): just £120! (Though, that is also thanks to having “Porsche Charging Service,” a complimentary package for Taycan owners for the first 3 years — which thereafter costs £179 per year — that lowers the cost to charge from £0.69 per kWh to £0.30 per kWh.)
Related story, CleanTechnica review: Porsche Taycan Review: “The Best Electric Performance Car On The Market”
Related story, CleanTechnica road trip across Europe in Porsche Taycan: Driving The Porsche Taycan Across Europe
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