Is it possible to drive 3,000 miles through Europe in a Nissan Leaf?

20th May

Sarah and Graham Hutton

Sarah and Graham with their electric Nissan

A Punnetts Town couple who have embraced electric motoring have set themselves a challenge to see whether it is possible to enjoy a driving holiday around Europe using the available charging point infrastructure.

Graham and Sarah Hutton will embark on their 3,000 mile Grand Tour of Europe, which they hope will include at least ten countries in their 100 per cent electric Nissan Leaf.

Sarah explains: “As drivers of an electric car we expect to be part of a small minority on the road. However, we are hoping to raise awareness, and perhaps prove, that clean motoring could and should easily become the norm. We aim to complete the trip without having to push or be towed to the next charging point!  We will discover at the end whether it’s possible to take an electric car on holiday and, more importantly, whether it has been enjoyable.

“Will we recommend this to other families? Shorter trips have been completed by motoring journalists but we have yet to come across anyone who has tried to achieve a road trip holiday with an electric car in this length of time.  I am also motivated to explore greater sustainability within the tourism industry and to document our experiences.”

As an International Tourism Management scholar at the University of Brighton, Sarah is looking forward to travelling to new places and to the obvious challenge of completing the itinerary.  When Graham and Sarah decided to invest in an electric vehicle, weekly running costs reduced from over £70 on diesel to less than £5 on (green) electricity to fuel the trip to university.

“To date we have completed 8,000 miles and ventured as far as Cornwall in our Nissan without incident.  While it is very economical to run, it is also easy and fun to drive,” said Sarah.

Sarah and Graham have yet to discover the costs of charging their car on the European road network. What they do know is that careful planning is a must.  As in the UK, there are several providers of charging points each with different payment methods.  Sussex to Cornwall, for instance, involved three different apps and cards.

She explains: “It won’t be just a case of getting from A to B.  When we find a charging point we need to be prepared that it might be out of order or could be ‘ICE’d’ – when an internal combustion engine, or normal, car parks in an electric charger space. They also have different power supplies so a charge could take anything from 40 minutes to all night.   Some are free and some you have to pay for.”

The choice of accommodation will be spontaneous as it will be hard to judge the time it will take to complete each leg of the journey.

Sarah and Graham’s Nissan has a range of about 160 miles on one charge. It is a pure electric vehicle.  Sarah will be writing about their electric adventures when they return.

Sarah and Graham own Greenwood Granary an electric vehicle friendly, self-catering holiday let.