Is it possible to drive around Europe with an EV with no hussle? Franco Barbieri, the Founder of Route220, drove from Italy to Prague with his electric car using the evway App to charge all around. Below it’s the story of his amazing travel experience!
I admit, I am an early-adopter and I have wasted lots of cash in buying products that never took off or the service got cancelled after few months. But that’s the price for keeping my appetite for innovation satisfied. In 2014, after buying my first electric vehicle, I decided to put my money where my mouth and actions were, in a new charging service for electric vehicles where the locations are promoted. So I opened a “start-up” in Italy called Route220, ideally “the electric road”.
To get to the point fast, the business got bigger and now we have a quite extensive network of stations, an app called evway that enable the charge in more than 80.000 plugs in Europe. Our Company only owns electric vehicles and even my wife has been “brainwashed” and owns an EV. If we both run out of battery we are doomed.
Every summer we enjoy a trip with our EV in Europe, just for fun but also to test what we propose, the way the whole movement is growing. And this year we drove from Milano to Prague with our i3 BMW. Just electric, no other support than our app. How did we do?
Day 1, Milano to Meran
The trip started in Milano and in one day we drove to Merano, a nice and elegant town in the German-speaking part of the Italian Dolomites: 300 km, two charging stops, 20 minutes each, free of charge. In the first stop we had a quick but delightful lunch break.
Day 2, start in Merano, direction North-East
During this leg, we charged our car in Prutz and Seefeld (AU), Garmisch (DE) and then reached the beautiful lake of Starnberg. All the stations were spotted, planned, activated and then eventually Paid with our app. Total charge time, about 60 minutes, during which we had many slices of strudel, Cups of tea and strolled around nice city centers.
Day 3, Starnberg to Prague
As the hotel did not have any charging facilities, we got a quick refill in Munich and then drove towards the border with Czech Republic. After a quick charge (20 minutes) in Deggendorf, we went off the highway and drove through the Bavarian Forest. Very beautiful, a must see. The evway map gave us the suggestion to stop in the town of Arnschwang. We found a rest area in the middle of green landscapes, quiet and cool (those days the temperatures were above 35 all over Europe). Close to that station, we found a fantastic local restaurant. Such a great way to drive and enjoy the trip!
After lunch (no beer unfortunately for me), we entered Czech Republic. After few kilometers, the difference vs. Germany, especially Bavaria, is quite evident. Time has stopped in the 50s in some Areas far from the main highways. We looked in the app and found a fast station close to Plzen. Of course, a beer was mandatory there! Late afternoon arrived in Prague, no problem, fully relaxed and happy for the trip.
Driving back, from Prague to Austria
After few days in Prague, where the car was at a parking all the times, ready and fully charged, we drove our way back to home. We did not have any plan, we decided to let the car and the map deciding what to see and where to stop. We drove for over 550 Km, stopped in Roetz for lunch, charging at Wand in a Gastof Park during a traditional wedding, and arriving in Wattens (AU) at night in time for dinner.
Last leg, sparkling!
Well, Wattens is the home of Swarovski, where they created the most sparkling crystals in the world. It was fun even at my age and I truly recommend that stop. Moreover, they have 6 ev stations, for free, for guests. What more can you ask? Come on, the price of the Museum is worth the stop and the charge.
After a nice lunch, drove back to Meran (IT) driving through the Brenner pass (free fast station) and then Giovo Pass, to arrive downhill in Meran with 82% SOC (State of Charge of the battery). Almost 180 km still in the bank.
Few days later, back to Milano.
Total driving was 1.900 km, none of the stations used were outside of the evway network, we did not have any need to use anything more than the app and the car.
So: is driving across Europe possible with an electric vehicle? Well it was for us, and it is for all of you.
Just two litte precautions:
1. enjoy your trip, if you are in a hurry, take the train or the airplane, do not blame the ev or the charging networks. Consider stop time as a way to enjoy the places you see;
2. plan ahead with the appropriate tools that allow you to know where all the stations are, their status (free, busy, out service) ahead of time, that will allow you to charge with one device (your phone) cross borders.
I hope you enjoyed reading about my trip. Ciao