Taking a road trip in an all-electric vehicle is still something of challenge. How practical is it to do so? How should charging stops be planned? How reliable are charging station finder apps? How often are charging stations out of service? What’s it like to travel long-distance in a car without engine noise?
To provide something of an answer to these questions, I’m going to direct your attention to a recent 2,500-mile road trip taken through the UK and Ireland in a Kia Soul EV.
The trip — which has been dubbed Route 57 — involved 2,500 miles of travel through England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland; through various scenic towns, national parks, cities, etc. The trip was blogged about in great detail by the driver, Jess Shanahan. Here’s a nice video overview of the trip:
Here’s an excerpt from the introductory text for the trip blog (to give you an idea of what you can find there): “For years people have strived to tick America’s Route 66 off their bucket list but for Brits, it’s a long and often expensive journey. Now there’s something much, much closer to home that takes in everything the British Isles has to offer. Route 57 was born out of the need for the UK and Ireland’s own bucket-list road trip and was designed using the local knowledge of hotel chain Jurys Inn.”
Continuing: “I was the first person to drive Route 57, visiting every one of its 57 destinations. It was a trip that opened my eyes to the places I knew like the back of my hand as well as places I didn’t. It was a chance to explore the UK and Ireland in its entirety and I did it all from the quiet comfort of a 100% electric Kia Soul EV, which came to be lovingly known as LoKi. One of the best things about Route 57 is that it’s broken up into 10 smaller road trips so you don’t necessarily have to tackle all 2,580 miles of it all at once. This means you can do one over a week and complete the full trip in sections or you can pick and choose the areas that interest you most.”
Those wanting to hear more about how the Kia Soul EV fared can do so on the blog. Those wanting a quick answer? The Soul EV seems to have performed admirably, despite not possessing a particularly notable range. So, going on enjoyable road trips with EVs like the Soul EV or the Nissan LEAF is certainly doable … in the UK and Ireland, at least.
Regions that feature longer distances between charging spots (most of the US) can still be well suited to EV road trips, mind you … but it’s surely easiest to rely on vehicles such as the Tesla Model S (or the upcoming Model 3) in many regions. The company’s Supercharger network is obviously a large part of the reason for this recommendation.