I did a 250-mile, 7-hour trip in my diesel car. How would an electric car have coped?

Last bank holiday Monday, I travelled the 260 miles from Edinburgh to the North Midlands in my diesel Hyundai. I still had enough fuel for another 250 miles, but the journey took seven hours instead of five. It was very wet, windy and cold (4C). As a result, I had the heater, fan, lights and wipers on all the time. I had no worries about completing the journey without refuelling but I did stop at the services to use the toilet facilities. The parking spots were very busy. Had I been using an electric car or were electric cars more popular, I doubt I would have been able to recharge an electric car for some time.

This got me to thinking what effect would this have had on the "..up to x miles" that the adverts show for electric cars. I believe the Hyundai Kona has one of the highest a published ranges of up to 300 miles but have also read this has been downgraded due to safety issues. I do not think I would have felt as confident driving home in an electric car in such bad weather. Had the car started to run low, how much notice would I have? Enough to make it safely to the next service area?

Asked on 7 May 2021 by Fortyman

Answered by Andrew Brady
No one is claiming an electric car is right for everyone (just yet). The infrastructure still requires a lot of work and, if you're regularly driving 260 miles in one go, an EV clearly isn't the answer. That said, there are a lot of drivers who rarely venture more than 100 miles or so from home. If they can charge a car on their driveway overnight, an EV is perfect for commuting to work or going to the shops, while the (rapidly expanding) EV charging network can supply a power boost on occasions when they do need to venture further afield. We suspect the electric car landscape will look dramatically different in 10 years' time – both in terms of the real-world ranges of electric vehicles and the charging infrastructure.

Electric cars do tend to give a lot of warning when you're running low on battery (we're currently running a Mazda MX-30 and it'll start to tell you to find a charger when it still has 50 miles of range left). Even when it's down to 0%, an EV will usually go into some kind of 'turtle' mode to allow you to, at the very least, get to the hard shoulder.
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