Excellent electric city car, the Volkswagen e-Up! received a new battery in 2019, increasing its usable energy capacity from 16 to 32.3 kWh. To be further away from home. But is it that simple? Is the charging network OK?
Extend the meeting
You probably remember Stéphane, this Alsatian driver who recently switched to electric mobility, whom our videographer and journalist Max Freyss met. Our very kind reader had announced that in July 2022 he would be starting his first long-distance journey between Alsace and Normandy in his Volkswagen e-Up! received last May.
” It’s an excellent electric vehicle and honestly it wouldn’t scare me to drive 400km on the road in the summer (having two 50kW terminals on the way). (Conquer); ” The big shortcoming of the e-Up! is the insufficient DC charging power, which makes it unusable on the freeway (Xavier0624).
” The secret is to avoid the Autobahn and drive in the fast lane at a maximum of 90 km/h, especially on long journeys, otherwise beware of a battery drain after 2 or 3 DC charges in a row (spread tab); ” Very good for my inner city use but I wouldn’t take it on vacation with it (Iron-rich water); ” However, with Ionity + Tesla “open” + Allego + Fastned + Electra, we can go far without worrying. (e-Lionel); ” Good luck to them… The adventure begins (alinat0821).
These constructive comments, Stéphane read them. They prompted us to contact him again to get his feedback after his stay in Normandy.
More than 700 km in 2 days
Stéphane and his wife left the area around Strasbourg (Bas-Rhin – Alsace) on Tuesday 12 July around 9:30 am. Destination: reach Honfleur (Calvados – Normandy) in 2 days, with a stopover in Gasny in the Eure, a few kilometers from the house of the Impressionist painter Claude Monet. In total, the entire journey, apart from the motorways, covers a little over 700 km.
Not to mention the detours caused by a few loading issues. ” We arrived in Gasny at 11:30pm, much later than we thought. The return journey was a bit cumbersome. Mainly because we wanted to limit charging costs. That’s why we avoided the freeways. It was probably a mistake ‘ says Stephane.
” The RN4 is quite hilly and the route is shorter. I had run simulations with ABRP and Chargemap planners. They advised us to stop in Nancy to get a first charge. Since it was only about 120 km from where we live, I preferred to drive to Toul with the aim of going to the Lidl express terminal. She was there but not active: first disappointment ‘ he testifies.
The bad streak gets longer
In Toul, Stéphane has still lit his Volkswagen e-Up! on a 22 kW AC terminal. With the 7 kW on-board charger, the energy level in the battery did not increase very much during this time. But 36% was enough to reach Bar-le-Duc, about sixty kilometers away, and the fast charger installed in the Leclerc car park. The same one our editor used when he switched to the utility company.
” When we left the RN4, we didn’t have the same roads anymore. Our average has been reduced. We had decided not to take badges and only use smartphone applications. Referred to the Freshmile network, the Leclerc fast terminal in Bar-le-Duc did not want to start even after several attempts. We called the hotline who remotely restarted the charger with no further results. », Stephane complains.
” This is how we waste time! Luckily the Volkswagen dealer allowed us to charge up to 58% for free in 1 hour. We were received excellently there. For long journeys, discounts should not be forgotten ‘ he advises.
550 km on the first day
” We then joined Épernay. The Freshmile high-speed terminal in the Gallice car park initially worked well with an output of 35 kW. Compared to the maximum 40 kW that the e-Up! accepted. We started with a ride but I saw on my smartphone after 15 minutes that the charging had stopped. Back to the parking lot. Restart: 20kW. It was 7 p.m. and it was hot. We stayed and the business never stopped “Stephane reports.
Although the Mini Up! Gasny could have achieved, the Alsatian electric vehicle driver preferred to calm down by plugging in 22 kW alternating current in Herblay for 30 minutes.
” With a lead of just 20km it felt a little tight. I’d rather play it safe,” he pleads. “A first long, difficult journey “, he estimates, in the event of a delay of around 550 km, including detours. ” Between the non-functioning terminals and the ones that don’t work well, we quickly get 30-minute delays here and there ‘ he emphasizes.
Other terminals defective
” As a morning person, I got up at 6am to charge the car in Gasny, a 10 minute walk from the Airbnb we booked for the night. Loved this Siege27 22kW AC terminal, very easy to use, no badge, just present the blue card and get a 4 digit code to secure and stop the operation. In 3h30 the full energy was done for 6 euros, with billing by time ‘ explains Stephane.
” Before heading to Honfleur, we wanted to drive to Cabourg, stopping for lunch and refueling in Lisieux. The terminal was right in front of the restaurant, which in turn is operated by Freshmile. After several attempts it will not start. The restaurateur told us that we weren’t the first to have had this problem “, he explains.
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” When troubleshooting and after eating, we wanted to use the one at the Leclerc car park in Lisieux, also on the Freshmile network. It only held to its guardrail and didn’t work. It was again the local Volkswagen dealer who got us out of there. Once again we were very well received and were able to take advantage of the coolness inside and regain 55% battery. It was enough to reach Cabourg and then Honfleur “, he explains.
A terminal in a town of 600 people
” Everything went well when we were near Honfleur. We were able to use a charging station at the Tesla destination twice, which is free and accessible without ID. Plug in and charging begins. It was in the Normandy Outlet group of stores ‘ said Stephane.
” From there it went to Etretat and Dieppe. I wanted to see the birthplace of Alpine. But nothing is left. As long as we made small trips around the area, we had no problem charging ‘ he emphasizes.
” For the return trip we had gotten a little closer the day before by staying the night in Fresnoy-Folny, in Seine-Maritime. In this town of 600 inhabitants there is a SDE76 terminal 300 m from our accommodation. This allowed us to regenerate the battery 100%. That doesn’t exist in my Alsatian eco-community, which isn’t that big, and that’s a shame ‘ he compares.
” We found the return on Sunday, July 17, less stressful and more relaxed than on the outward journey. And yet it wasn’t easy either. We had targeted Vic-sur-Aisne for a quick reload. The terminal was manned and not identified as such in the application. While we waited for it to clear, we plugged it into a 22kW AC power source for 15 minutes. Finally, in 45 minutes on the high-power charger, time for a coffee, the energy level went from 42% to just 85% “Stephane numbers.
” In Fismes a 22kW terminal was a 10 minute walk from the restaurant where we had lunch. We used it for about an hour. Another stop in Laxou, this time at a Tesla station. This starts with the dedicated application, with an output of 37 kW ‘ he sees again.
” No doubt due to the heat, this performance quickly declined. 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 around 21:30, after an 8:45 departure, 3 charges and about 600 km of driving ‘ he would almost cheer again.
Small balance sheet
” On this little trip over 5 days, we drove 1,500 km for 42 euros to recharge and without any motorway tolls. We favored the Eco+ mode, which limits the speed to 95 km/h and thus does not abuse the air conditioning. This enabled us to achieve a tight consumption. For example, we drove over 548 km at an average speed of 58 km/h, we recorded 10 kWh/100 km », calculates our interlocutor.
” Looking back we would love to do the trip again, but differently. Since most of the time we benefit from cheaper energy than petrol or diesel with an electric car, we should not hesitate to pay the price for occasional long-distance trips if necessary. For example on the freeways he reflects.
” Beware of free terminals, for example at Lidl and in supermarkets in general, and prefer reliable terminals, such as those from Tesla. It is necessary to prepare your itinerary well by consulting the chargemap comments for interesting chargers on the route. Do not forget about the departmental networks with the multitude of 22 kW AC connections “, he warns.
The Volkswagen e Up! on long journeys
” The Volkswagen e Up! allows for long journeys. But first and foremost it’s a very good car for everyday driving. I advise against traveling long distances with small children on board ‘ the head of the family stresses. ” I repeat that the lack of a tablet, forcing you to juggle a smartphone on the dashboard, is annoying! “, He feels.
” Operators have a lot to do when it comes to maintenance. It’s not normal for terminals to be broken for several days in a row in the middle of the holiday season “, he regrets.
” I would like to organize meetings in my Alsace region for users of the Volkswagen e-Up!, Seat Mii and Skoda Citigo triplets. And then expand these meetings to other electric car owners ‘ he concludes.
Automobile Propre and I thank Stéphane very much for his new testimony in the form of feedback. If you also want to share your electrical adventures, positive or negative, do not hesitate to contact us!