Review – Can we consider long distance travel with the Volkswagen e-Up! ?

Great electric city car Volkswagen e-Up! in 2019 received a new battery, which increased the useful energy intensity from 16 to 32.3 kWh. To stay away from home. But is it that simple? Is the charging network OK?

Extend meeting

You probably remember Stephan, this Alsatian motorist who recently switched to electric vehicles and whom our videographer, journalist Max Freiss, met. Our very friendly reader announced that in July 2022 he will make his first long-distance journey between Alsace and Normandy in his Volkswagen e-Up! received in May last year.

This is an excellent electric car, and, frankly, 400 km on the road in the summer will not scare me (having 2 terminals of 50 kW each on the way). (Conquer); ” A huge disadvantage of e-Up! is insufficient DC charging power, making it unsuitable for use on the track. (Xavier0624).

The secret is to avoid the motorway and drive at no more than 90 km/h in the fast lane, especially for long trips, otherwise beware of draining the battery after 2 or 3 DC recharges in a row. (bridgerider); ” Very good for my suburban use, but I wouldn’t take it on vacation (ferrous water); ” However, with the “open” Ionity + Tesla + Allego + Fastned + Electra, we can go far without any worries. (e-Lionel); ” Good luck to them… The adventure begins (alinat0821).

These are constructive comments, Stefan read them. They made us contact him again to collect his feedback after his time in Normandy.

More than 700 km in 2 days

Stefan and his wife left the area around Strasbourg (Bas-Rhin-Alsace) on Tuesday, July 12, around 9:30 am. Goal: reach Honfleur (Calvados-Normandy) in 2 days with a stop at Gasney in Ayr, a few kilometers away. from the home of the Impressionist painter Claude Monet. In total, not counting the highway, the entire journey is just over 700 km.

Not to mention the detours caused by a few charging issues. ” We arrived in Gasni at 23:30, much later than we thought. The journey outside was a little tricky. Especially since we wanted to limit charging costs. That’s why we avoided the highway. It was probably a mistake Stefan says.

RN4 is pretty rolling and the route is shorter. I ran simulations with the ABRP and Chargemap schedulers. They advised us to stop in Nancy for the first recharge. Since it was only about 120 km from our house, I preferred to drive to Tula, aiming for the Lidl high-speed terminal. She was, but not active: the first disappointment “, he testifies.

The bad streak is getting longer

In Tula, Stefan is still connected to his Volkswagen e-Up! at the AC terminal 22 kW. With a 7 kW on-board charger, this period of time did not allow much increase in the energy level in the battery. But 36% was enough to get to Bar-le-Duc, about sixty kilometers away, and a fast charger installed in the Leclerc car park. The same one that our editor used when he moved to the electric power industry.

Leaving RN4, we no longer had the old roads. Our average has been lowered. We decided not to take badges and use only applications for smartphones. Citing the Freshmile network, the Leclerc high-speed terminal in Bar-le-Duc did not want to start even after several attempts. We called the hotline who restarted the charger remotely with no further results. ‘ Stefan lamented.

This is how we waste time! Fortunately, the Volkswagen dealership allowed us to charge up to 58% in 1 hour for free. We were well received there. Concessions must not be forgotten for long journeys “, he advises.

550 km first day

Then we joined Epernay. The Freshmile high-speed terminal at the Gallice car park initially worked well, with a capacity of 35 kW. For comparison with the maximum power of 40 kW allowed by the e-Up!. We started by driving, but I saw on my smartphone after 15 minutes that charging had stopped. Return to the parking lot. Restart: 20 kW. It was 7 pm and it was hot. We stayed and the operation never stopped Stephen reports.

Volkswagen e-Up!  responsible

Despite the fact that autonomy is estimated by mini Up! would have allowed him to reach Gasny, the Alsatian electric car driver chose to calm himself by connecting for 30 minutes to the 22 kW AC power in Herble.

It seemed cramped to me, with a margin of only 20 km. I chose to play it safe,” he pleads. “The first long and difficult journey “According to him, with a late arrival, after about 550 km, including detours. ” Between the terminals that don’t work and those that don’t work, we quickly get 30 minutes late back and forth. “, he emphasizes.

More terminals broken

Being an early riser, I got up at 6am to charge my car in Gasney, a 10-minute walk from the Airbnb accommodation we had booked for the night. I really liked this 22 kW AC terminal from Siege27, very easy to use, no badge, just a blue card to present and a 4 digit code received to protect and stop work. In 3 hours 30 minutes the total energy was made for 6 euros billed by time. ” explains Stefan.

Before heading to Honfleur, we wanted to go to Cabourg, take a break for lunch and recharge in Lisieux. The terminal was right in front of the restaurant, again operated by Freshmile. Unable to start it after several attempts. The restaurateur told us that we were not the first to encounter this problem. “, he explains.

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When troubleshooting and after eating, we wanted to use the one in the Leclerc car park in Lisieux, also on the Freshmile chain. He just held on to the protective railing and did not work. We were pulled out again by the local Volkswagen dealership. Once again, we were very well received and were able to take advantage of the coolness inside and restore 55% of the battery. This was enough to get to Cabourg, then to Honfleur. “, he explains.

Terminal in the city of 600 inhabitants

While we were staying in the vicinity of Honfleur, everything went well. We were able to use the Tesla destination charging station twice, available for free and without identification. Plug in and start charging. It was in the Normandy Outlet group of stores. ‘ says Stefan.

Volkswagen e-Up!  responsible

From there we went to Etretat and Dieppe. I wanted to see the Alpine home. But there’s nothing left. While we made small trips around the area, we did not encounter the problem of recharging. “, he insists.

As for the return, the day before we became a little closer, stopping at Frenois-Folny, in the Seine-Maritime. In this city of 600 people, the SDE76 terminal is 300 meters from our accommodation. This allowed us to recover 100% of the battery. In my Alsatian eco-commune, no more, we don’t have that, and it’s a shame “, he compares.

Back more serene

Return, Sunday, July 17, we experienced less stress and more serenity than during the trip. And yet it wasn’t easy either. We aimed at Vic-sur-Aine for a quick reload. The terminal was busy and not identified as such in the application. In anticipation of his release, we connected to the 22 kW AC power for 15 minutes. Finally, in three-quarters of an hour on a powerful charger, coffee time, energy levels dropped from 42 to 85%. “Stefan is featured.

In Fisma, the 22 kW terminal was a 10-minute walk from the restaurant where we had lunch. We used it for about an hour. Another stop in Laksu, this time at Tesla station. It starts with a special application at 37 kW. “he sees again.

No doubt this power dropped quickly due to the heat. So much so that it took a good hour to go from 10 to 73% energy. It was enough to get home. We arrived home at about 21:30, after leaving at 8:45, 3 recharges and about 600 km of travel. ‘, he almost rejoiced again.

Small balance

During this short walk, we covered 1500 km in 5 days for 42 euros on a recharge and no motorway tolls. We opted for the Eco+ mode, which limits speed to 95 km/h, and therefore did not abuse the air conditioning. This made it possible to obtain dense consumption. For example, over 548 km traveled at an average speed of 58 km/h, we noted 10 kWh/100 km. “, – counts our interlocutor.

Volkswagen e-Up!  responsible

Looking back, we would love to repeat the trip, but in a different way. Since most of the time we use an electric car at the expense of cheaper energy than gasoline or diesel fuel, we should not hesitate to pay the price during occasional long trips. For example, on the highway it reflects.

Beware of free kiosks like those at Lidl and supermarkets in general, and go for trusted kiosks like Tesla’s. You need to prepare your route well by checking out the interesting chargers on the route in the Chargemap comments. Don’t forget private networks with multiple 22 kV AC terminals. “, he warns.

Volkswagen e-Up! on long journeys

Volkswagen e-Up! allows you to travel long distances. But it is first and foremost a very good car for everyday use. I advise you not to travel long distances with small children on board. “, – emphasizes the head of the family. ” I repeat, the lack of a tablet is annoying, forcing you to juggle your smartphone on the dashboard! “, he feels.

Operators have a lot of maintenance work to do. It is not normal that terminals remain idle for several days in a row during the peak of the holiday period. “He regrets.

I would like to organize meetings in my Alsace region for users of the Volkswagen e-Up!, Seat Mii and Skoda Citigo trio. And then extend these meetings to other owners of electric cars “, he concludes.

Automobile Propre and I are very grateful to Stefan for his new testimonial in the feedback form. If you also want to share your adventures in electricity, positive or negative, feel free to contact us!

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