I drove an electric van cross-country for a month. It was cheaper than a normal car, but the challenges showed how far EV travel has to go.
The trip required meticulous planning, and still, one in four charging stations had an issue.
She encountered long waits and out-of-service charging stations but found EV travel more affordable.
The ABT had a range of only 80 miles, so my trip required numerous charges during the day and constant planning. Each morning, rather than setting a location in a GPS and simply setting off, we’d have to map the route via fast-charge points, individually checking each point against recent Google reviews to ensure they were in service.
Even this couldn’t guarantee that another driver wouldn’t slip in before us when we arrived.
Apps like PlugShare and Zap Map allowed for route planning. User-sourced data theoretically allows drivers to see which charge points are out of service or in use, but even using this information I found issues with one in four of the 36 charge points I visited over the month.
We had to wait at times for a charge point for up to 45 minutes. Repeatedly doing this could add hours onto a longer journey.
I was also glad I wasn’t alone, as some of the charge points were badly lit
The VW ABT and other electric vans such as the Mercedes eVito — which has a range of 93 miles — have a significantly lower range than personal vehicles like the Tesla Model 3 (278 miles) and Mustang Mach E (370 miles). Range anxiety might be gone, but numerous inconveniences can still add hours to cross-country journeys.
So infrastructure, infrastructure needed before EV trend really takes off.
Of course, many households have more than one vehicle so an EV makes sense for a daily errand runner around town. At this point in time the plug-in hybrid (PHEV)makes the most sense for those who be using their vehicle for long distance travel. Congested charging stations can be by-passed until one can find an open charging station.