The hardest piece to write when reporting an event is the final one, the one summarizing it all up after the event is over. Excitement fades away, you are back to your daily chores, and the faint memory of the electric Porsche Taycan turns more faint every hour. A promise is a promise, though, and I’m back to share with you more data on WysokieNapiecie.pl‘s e-rally to Cabo da Roca.
It wasn’t immediately obvious and not really intentional when we gathered data, but it seems our figures suggest there are EVs that can match, or even beat, fossil fuel vehicles on long journeys. Let me start with our record of doing 1500 km (932 miles) in one go on a beautiful Tuesday in August.
We left from Avignon in the south of France to arrive in Jelenia Góra in the south of Poland, following our best friend, Google. Depending on the day and time of day, Google forecasts the journey should take between 13 and 18 hours (net driving time). Let’s take the optimistic middle scenario of 15 hours, since we were travelling on a Tuesday (holiday time in Europe), and add 20-minute breaks every two hours of driving. That totals 17 hours, following Google guidelines, and of course Google means a combustion car by definition, doesn’t it?
I’m happy to report that on that very Tuesday, August 11, our team needed exactly 17 hours to cover the distance in an electric vehicle, including all necessary charging, with the first charge being 20 minutes after we left (no charging options in the hotel that night). In total, we stopped 8 times (every 180 km, on average) and spent 15–30 minutes charging (22 minutes on average). Clap your hands, EV aficionados, open champagnes and celebrate. We matched Google! 🙂
Well, it will still take a while before EVs truly beat gas and diesel vehicles on such trips, but our example shows exactly where we are heading. I realize it was only possible because Taycan can suck energy in at incredible rates, up to 260 kW at the start. I also realize a fossil fuel driver could grab two liters of coffee, a pack of strong mint chewing gum, control the bladder, and just drive on and on and one, beating us by an hour or so. We are not racing, though. We are proving the point that electric vehicles can now conveniently make such trips, and I am honestly satisfied.
I further realize there is a price to this success. If we relied on such ultra-fast charging more often, it would inevitably take its toll on our battery’s longevity. At maximum charging speeds, Taycan’s battery would heat up to 50°C (to go down to 10°C in a quarter of an hour, cooling systems in place). Yet, we don’t normally do 1500 km every week or month (or even year), so I won’t despair too much.
How long did it all take?
The whole trip of 7,500 km (4,660 miles) from Warsaw, through Berlin and Paris Cabo da Roca and back through Lisbon, Madrid, Barcelona, Lyon, and Nuremberg, took us 8 days. According to Google, again, you can do this trip with an average speed of 99 km/h (61.5 miles/h). Our hands-on (or foot-on) experience shows that the actual speed on such a long-distance trip, when you don’t always travel on motorways, was closer to 90 km/h (56 miles/h). That includes driving within allowed speed limits, mostly on motorways (120–130–140km/h depending on the country, and up to 200–250 km/h(!) in some places in Germany, with road conditions permitting). All in all, things like road construction, toll gates, traffics jams, etc. will reduce your mathematically possible average whether in an electric vehicle or a fossil fueled one.
If we assume pure driving time, with our final average, the journey would take a gas/diesel car driver about 84 hours. Let’s add the regular breaks of 20 minutes every two hours and the total journey time would amount to 98 hours, including resting and filling up (not counting sightseeing or sleeping). Driving an electric Taycan, the WysokieNapiecie.pl team took 108 hours, 90 of which was pure driving and 18 of which was charging at fast charging stations during the day.
Consider this — driving across half of Europe, there and back, in an EV took 10 hours more (that is 11% more) when compared to a smelly internal combustion car. That is huge progress from our e-rally two years ago when we travelled to Nordkapp in a Nissan Leaf. With poorer charging infrastructure, almost no infrastructure beyond the Arctic Circle, a much smaller battery, higher energy consumption on motorways, reduced charging capacity, and problems with battery overheating (which further reduced charging speed), the journey took 40% longer than a gas/diesel car would have. This year’s e-rally in an electric Taycan simply proved you can compete with fossil fuel vehicles as long as, of course, there is ultra-fast charging available.
Let’s look at some more data.
How long did we charge?
Throughout the whole e-rally, apart from the 18 hours of fast charging on the go, the Taycan was charged for a total of 43 more hours at semi-fast AC charging stations (at 10.5 kW) during our well-deserved rest (including 8 hours during the day and 35 hours at night).
The number of charging sessions totaled 42, every 180 km on average (112 miles), even though the battery level and road conditions would normally let the team drive 250–300 km in between charging stations.
The longest distance we covered on a single charge was 424 km (263 miles), and we still had 40 km of range left.
How much energy did we use?
According to the onboard computer, the average energy consumption along the whole distance of almost 7600 km (4722 miles) amounted to 23.2 kWh/100 km. That means the race consumed 1.75 MWh of electric energy, which equals the annual consumption of a typical European family living in a 60-square-meter apartment.
In fact, we charged 0.1 MWh of energy more. The 5% difference between the onboard computer reading and what we noted down at charging stations reflects what the charging station uses while charging your vehicle, mostly to cool the system down. At the end of the day, this energy is billed to the client too (if you didn’t know, now you do). When charging from 0% to 100%, the amount of electric energy on the display of the charging station will be a few percent more than the capacity of you battery.
How much did it cost?
All paid charging on the way (including parking fees, sometimes necessary to use a charging station) amounted to $1,144. The real cost of doing 100 km (62 miles) was $15.13. If we compare it to the cost of buying petrol in Europe at the average cost of $1.46/liter (average prices from all transit countries, remembering, though, that prices on motorway stations are normally higher), we would have spent the same amount on petrol if our fossil fueled car consumed 10.4l/100 km. If we consider a sports car in the E segment with a petrol engine (e.g., Audi RS6) and the dynamic driving style it offers, and which we happily enjoyed in our Taycan, we could expect consumption of 12 l/100 km, meaning the trip would cost $160 more.
Here comes an interesting bit — $929 of the total of $1,144 was spent at Ionity chargers at the highest possible rates. The reason for that is ridiculous, but since Ionity is not yet present in Poland (who cares about a united Europe, right?), we cannot enjoy the special discount programs for Porsche owners. … How much could we have saved? $530!!!
Funny, if we were driving an Audi, and they already offer the discount card to their clients, we would have paid €0.31/kWh instead of €0.79/kWh. If we weren’t so underprivileged, the cost per 100 km would be a mere $7.70, and that would buy us the consumption of 5.3 liter/100 km in an ICE car. Find a sports car that can do that. 😉
In a nutshell, new EVs, with Tesla and Porsche in the lead, can compete with fossil cars in travel time and convenience. What is still lagging behind, at least in our “united” Europe, are the charging infrastructure and roaming options. I’m still very positive operators of charging stations will catch up. It’s actually fun to be in this place, where we can put pressure on companies and institutions to deliver solutions for better and better electric vehicles.
This is not my final word on e-rallies this year. (And I’m not talking about Ewan McGregor on his electric bike.) I’ll be back.