Electric cars: ready for camping?


Photo By MikeBirdy

Do we have everything? Sleeping bag? Gas stove? Pile? Anti mosquitos? Fans? Suited clothes for winter and summer?

In a few words everything you need for a basic camping, we should have and use it at home if we will buy an electric car.
You may thing that the hot had got on top of me but no, my friends, the engineers Roberto Barbiero, Ivan Maio and me are ready to sustain what may seem a paradox.

If we think about the average customer (15,000 Km per year), who rides about 300 km per week and has an electric car with a declared autonomy, on the latest A/B segment models, of about 300 km.

It’s better if he travels on flat roads with some slopes but with no hills, without using neither the air conditioning nor the heater nor the heated rear window, travelling by day possibly on state and provincial roads where the lights on are not required unlike the highways.

The heater, in particular, is the classical device, which heats using a resistance with a super consumption of batteries energy, considering it cannot use the warm generated from the electric engine, so it’s better to use it a little and be well covered even in the car during the winter, to avoid a strong reduction of autonomy.

Getting back to the average customer, he should charge the batteries at least once a week and this is the moment for camping!


Photo by Antranias

The batteries of an average vehicle with a declared autonomy of 300 Km have a capacity of 40 kWh and to completely charge them with the home system of 3Kw it will take about 20 hours (about 10hrs to get the 80% of the charge and other 10hrs for the remaining 20%, very slow charging to avoid the damage of the batteries), during which…camping!

During the first 10 hours at full power, in particular, no other electric charging is allowed: turned off fridge, dishing or washing machine, no hair drier, neither a lamp on, all very romantically by candlelight.

And if they ever should imposed the charging only at night, as the absorption of energy by users is lower, it would take 2 nights.

During the charging, naturally, it’s good no to invite friend for dinner or, in case, it’s better a cold dinner, no baked lasagne if there is an electric oven.

To mitigate the inconvenience you could always decide to avoid the charge by 3kW, using maybe only 1kWh of the available power Ð but it would occur about 30hours to get the 80% of the charge, during which you must still be careful not to use the domestic appliances carelessly.

Of course you can change the contract and ask for a max power of 6kW which, if you are resident, has a minimum occasionally cost of 257€ and an increasing of the annual cost starting from 160€ based on consumptions (in relation at Italian Energy Market).

To these costs, it is possible the necessity to add those for an adaptation of the home system to the transit of a greater electric power.

With this choice you won’t be forced to be at candlelight during the charging but you will manage, anyway, the absorption carefully using the most part of energy for the charging and the remaining part to the domestic appliances so that you won’t overcome the 6kWh allowed.

When we will go on holiday, to avoid nasty surprises although the declared autonomy for 300 km, it would be better to choose a destination far no more than 150km, because we have no knowledge that there are fast charging columns on the highways or the normal state or provincial roads.

And be careful because, even if there were, it’s not possible going to the charging column with en electric equivalent of the tank you use for the fuel or the diesel fuel, the only solution would be to call the tow truck and be got carried to the charging point.

Yes, because the autonomy declared is measured with the New European Driving Cycle based on the urban use at low speed with an energy consumption inferior than the one on the highway.

For instance, a car, as the one of our average customer, to ride at a constant speed of 130 km/h, his electric engine has to provide a continuative power of about 35/40 kW.

That means using 40kWh of the batteries in one hour riding, exactly, half of the road planned.

Of course always if you haven’t used the air conditioner or the heater and that the batteries are totally charged.
Indeed, sorry for the objection about the fast charging: if the car is charged at 80%, I lost the 20% of autonomy and the km I can ride, in a test condition, will be 240 while on the highway will be and even less than 150.

Considering the absorption on a highway route, if from Turin I have to go to Savona, 141 km which can be ridden for long period at 130 km/h, starting with the battery charged at 100%, almost certainly I will complete to ride thanks to the last 10/15 km of downhill highway which allow me to recover part of the energy.

electric cars

Photo by tsakshaug

If, then, I can arrive at Vado Ligure I’ll find a great thermoelectric central, which will let me fast charge the 80%, but it won’t be sufficient to come back in Turin with a unique journey because of the absence of many downhill to recover part of the energy as on the outward journey.

And here another fantastic opportunity for camping in Mondovì, where, while we stop for the refill, we can hunt mushrooms in the surrounding woods.

To conclude, the electric car allows us infinitive possibilities to do things we have forgotten.

If, instead we want to exaggerate and make a holiday in Sicily, always starting from Turin, admit to finding “normal” charging point of 3kW, it takes more that 10 days of travel for the outward journey and as many for the return.

So or we love camping with a lot of free time or it’s better to have 2 cars, one electric for the surroundings of the house and the other classic one for the journeys, a great saving of money, occupied space and pollution!

Translated by Federica Izzo

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