Who Said Road Trips Can’t Be Green?

Ardziv Simonian

Road trips are a long-established, much-loved way to explore a new location, hit the open road, and reach your destination. And thanks to the digital age, technological advancements are making driving easier and safer than ever.

Contemporary cars can now help drivers park, change lanes, and perform a number of other actions while maintaining high levels of comfort and safety standards. However, the modern age has thrown another challenge at automobile manufacturers: The global climate is under threat from greenhouse gas emissions. There have been many calls for cars to become greener, leading to the development of the phenomenon known as the electric car—a vehicle powered by a battery rather than an internal combustion engine.

But how do EVs (electric vehicles) fit in with day-to day life? Can they provide the range needed for both daily driving and road trips? Will electric cars be the end of road trips? Or will we never go green because we fear that it’s impractical?

Jurys Inn Hotels have developed Route 57, a 2,580-mile trip from Plymouth to Galway, covering 57 destinations across the country. This UK version of the U.S. Route 66 provides the perfect opportunity to test the viability of an electric future. The hotel chain has motor journalist Jess Shanahan driving the route in an electric car between April 6th and 26th 2016.

Shanahan will be driving a KIA Soul EV for the duration of the journey, the first battery-powered electric vehicle to be sold by KIA around the world. A product of almost three decades of research, the Soul EV boasts an impressive CV:

  • The car can travel up to 132 miles on one charge, a class-leading figure.
  • The battery can hold more energy per kilogram (200) than its competitors.
  • When the car is coasting or slowing down, its regenerative braking system recharges the battery.
  • Its air conditioning can be focused onto only one side of the car.
  • Its super-low-rolling-resistance tires can decrease the amount of energy consumed by up to 10% compared to other cars with standard low-rolling-resistance tires.

The future looks promising for electric cars, and for good reason. Constant developments have many models with similar, if not the same, functionality as combustion-powered cars, while different manufacturers have given the current range variety in shape, size, and style. As the planet’s focus gradually shifts closer to greener energy, electric cars should soon hold their own in the automobile industry.

However, while the last few years have seen significant progression in the technology of electrical cars, according to an AA-Populus poll, only one out of eleven AA members who plan to buy a car in the next three years are considering an electric or hybrid car.

So to help expose some of the common electric car misconceptions, we have outlined a few myths below – for more information on the difference between EVs and fuel-powered cars, take a look at this infographic.

Electric cars don’t have the range

Data suggests that the average person drives just over 20 miles a day, but the ten highest-performing electric cars cover an average of 97 miles on one charge. There are even some models that can go for over 300 miles on a single charge.

They take too long to charge

At one of the 3,764 charging stations across the UK, a 20-minute charge can have you ready to go for 65 miles. This will charge the battery to only 80% – a full 6-8-hour charge can be done while you sleep.

They are expensive to use

While you can expect to pay just under 20p per mile in a petrol-powered car, the cost of driving an electric car is roughly 3p per mile. Additionally, a new family car fuelled by petrol costs on average over £20,000, compared to the £17,900 you’d pay for a new electric family car.

They all look similar

There were more than 50 different types of electric car available at the start of 2016, a number that will likely rise as production increases. EVs can come in the form of compacts, hatchbacks, sport cars, sedans, and SUVs.

They can’t drive that fast

There are several models of electric car that can reach the same high speeds we expect from fuel-powered cars. The Rimac Concept One has a top speed of 189mph, not a great distance away from a Ferrari 488 that reaches 205mph, while the VW Beetle dragster’s 0-100 km/h in 1.6 seconds is almost half the time of a Lamborghini Venono (2.9 seconds).

Looking at the facts, do we need to shift our perceptions and start going green?

For more insight on how digital transformation affects established business models, see How To Reinvent An Entire Industry.