Whether we like it or not, electromobility is a reality these days. Sales of electric vehicles are on the rise and many users are considering purchasing an electric car. Unfortunately, awareness and information about this issue are often very distorted in the public, and many opinions and rumors stem from ignorance of the issue or are the result of following sources with outdated information. One of the entrenched dogmas is concern about the short range of electric cars and the insufficient network of charging stations. Thanks to this, a large part of the public perceives electric cars only as a means of transport to the city or for short distances. Of course, there are models for which this applies and are intended for such use. Currently, however, there are many models on the market that are full-fledged replacements for combustion vehicles and can handle all their typical tasks. One of the most important is the trip on vacation. That’s why we decided to try out what it’s like to travel by electric car on vacation and share our experiences with you.
We chose the BMW iX3 electric car for the trip, which is a typical representative of family vehicles in terms of space and range. Of course, it is a car from the premium class, but in terms of battery capacity and performance, it is comparable to models such as the Kia EV6, IONIQ 5, Škoda ENYAQ, VW ID4, etc., with a certain tolerance. We already tested the BMW iX3 last year, but since then it underwent a facelift, which primarily brought a modified, more expressive design and modernized infotainment. However, in terms of the drive system, it is essentially the same. The vehicle uses the 5th generation BMW eDrive electric drive. The battery has a total capacity of 80 kWh, while 74 kWh are usable. It can be charged with a built-in three-phase AC charger with a power of 11 kW or DC charging with a power of up to 150 kW. Thanks to this, it charges from 10 to 80% on an ultra-fast charger in 34 minutes. The standard range according to WLTP is 460 km. The electric motor driving the rear axle delivers a power of 210 kW (286 hp) and a torque of 400 Nm. The vehicle accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 6.8 seconds, the maximum speed is limited to 180 km/h. We had the BMW iX3 in the Impressive version with rich technological equipment, with the Driving Assistant Professional system, laser adaptive headlights and the M aerodynamic package, which, in addition to its impressive appearance, improves the efficiency of the vehicle.
We planned the route in the A Better Routeplaner (ABRP) application, which allows precise planning of charging stops
On long journeys, of course, you are more interested in consumption than acceleration, but in this respect, the BMW iX3 benefits from the fact that it is a pure “hillbilly”. Electric cars with single-axle drive generally have lower consumption compared to models with all-wheel drive. One engine has lower consumption than two, it works with a higher load when its efficiency is better and you don’t carry extra weight.
But let’s look at the journey itself. As I mentioned, the BMW iX3 does not have a built-in electric car route planning function, so we used the ABRP (A Better Routeplanner) application for basic planning, which is paid, but its free version can also be used for individual trips. The main function of the application is route planning with charging points. Since it is not connected to the vehicle system in any way, it requires manual parameter configuration. Nevertheless, it served well for quick orientation and planning of the main charging points along the route. Our destination was the Croatian town of Pakoštane, which is located about halfway between Zadar and Šibenik. We started from Topoľčany and our route led through Nitra, Nové Zámky, Komárno and from there a short cut through the town of Mór to Székesfehérvár. Here we connected to the highway, from which we got off at the Croatian Benkovac exit behind Zadar. The total distance was 820 km. Under normal conditions, we could complete it with three charges. However, because we wanted to try more chargers along the way, we charged five times. Since we weren’t sure how roaming would work on recharge cards, we played it safe. We left Topoľčany on Tuesday at 02:00 in the morning with the battery charged to 96%. The first stop was at the new 175 kW ZSE Drive charger in Nové Zámky. But here we arrived at 81%, so we only connected for 9 minutes to test the charger and continued with 89%. After 220 km of driving, we arrived at the IONITY charging hub at the Balatonkeresztúr rest area. Here we needed to charge according to the plan 21 minutes to the level of 72%. Since IONITY chargers support up to 350 kW charging, we could use the maximum charging power of our car up to 157 kW. Here we got caught in a brief storm, so we had a coffee, shot a video post and left after 41 minutes with the battery charged to 98%. We crossed the border to Croatia through the border crossing Letenye – Goričan. Here was the only small, about 15-minute delay on the route. Our next planned stop was at the ultra-fast charging station Sop near Zagreb after 187 km. We were curious about this one, because it is not located right next to the highway, but is a bit tucked away in a nearby village. However, the navigation led us safely to it. We arrived with 46% left, so a 10 minute charge would have been fine, but we needed to film a post and found out that the charge was running for free.
This is one of the things that can happen to you more often with an electric car. IONITY, but also some other operators, in case of any problems with the charger or authorization, do not shut down the charger, but leave it in free mode so that you can charge the battery if necessary. It won’t leave you in the lurch, and you also have the benefit of charging for free. We ended up charging for 22 minutes and left with 78% battery. It was time for lunch in Vuková Gorica. Things have changed a lot here since my last visit to Croatia in 2017. Instead of the former restaurant, there is now a large McDonald’s, chargers have been added on both sides of the rest area. Towards the coast, one rack with a power of 175 kW and one 50 kW, on the opposite side two 50 kW racks. The more powerful one was out of order, so we connected to 50 kW and went to lunch. We spent 31 minutes here and left with 89% battery. We could normally skip this stop, because it was 230 km from Sopo to the next Zir charging station, which we would have easily covered. Given that we didn’t know the conditions and didn’t know if we would be able to charge, we preferred to play it safe. From Vuková Gorica, we continued to the Zir rest area, which is actually the last charger before the Sveti Rok tunnel, which is a kind of gateway to the coast. There are a pair of 175 kW racks and one rack with a power of 50 kW on the rest area. Considering that we didn’t want to deal with charging options right after arriving at the destination, we stayed for 35 minutes and charged the vehicle to 98%. We still had 93 km to go to our destination, Pakoštane. As much of this route winds downhill, from the mountains to the coast, we arrived at our destination with 85% battery charge. Because it was still 39 °C at the time of arrival before 4 p.m., we went to bathe immediately after settling in. During the trip there, we achieved a consumption of 20.7 kWh/100 km. After recalculation, the purely highway range at a speed of 130-140 km/h came to 290-330 km with a reserve. That’s a very decent value for travel.
We had the BMW iX3 in a facelifted version with rich technological equipment
We spent 5 nights in Croatia. During our stay, we drove another 440 km on trips to Šibenik and the island of Pag. There was a 2x 22kW AC charging station right in Pakostan, which is free, so we let the car charge when we went to the beach. As we noticed, the station was used a lot by tourists, but it was always possible to recharge. The day before departure, we were on the island of Pag, so we used the IONITY charging station near Zadar and fully charged the car. We left for home on Sunday at 8:30 with a fully charged battery. We expected it to be full compared to Tuesday when we were arriving, so we planned to charge at the Brinje rest stop, where we were supposed to charge to 55% after driving 176 km and continue to IONITY Sop near Zagreb. However, plans have changed a bit. For the sake of interest, we stopped at the Zir rest stop. There is only one 50kW charger that has been occupied. We continued to Brinje, where there is also only one 50 kW stand, but it was free here, so we connected for 30 minutes. In the meantime, two more electric cars arrived waiting to be charged, so we released the stand for them and continued with the assumption that we would charge in Sopa. However, the younger part of the crew wanted a quick snack along the way, so we stopped at Vuková Gorica. Since the chargers were free, we plugged in the car to make use of the time. It was full for food, so we ended up spending 45 minutes here. In the meantime, the car was fully charged, so we continued with the knowledge that we can skip Sop and charge only in Hungary. Before Luček, however, the traffic slowed down and we drove in a column for about 35 minutes. This time it wasn’t caused by queues at the toll booth, but by an accident, a car fire in the opposite direction, which slowed down our direction as well. However, it also had its positive side in the form of lower consumption, so we were able to follow Luček all the way to Hungary. Here, a few kilometers from the border, we had a planned lunch at István Hotel Sormás. Next to it there is also a large charging hub with a pair of 50 kW racks, 4 AC chargers and 12 Tesla Supercharger racks. Lunch took us about 45 minutes, so we had the car fully charged again and could go. I needed to drop off a colleague on the train in Bratislava, so we took it directly through Vasvár towards Győr and Bratislava. We covered the route with a length of 254 km in 3 hours and we had 70 km to go in Bratislava. After dropping off my colleague, I charged the car at the ZSE Drive UFS charger in the Bratislava Aupark and continued to Topoľčany. During the entire test, we drove the BMW iX3 2325 km with a total average consumption of 21 kWh/100 km. Considering that most of the trips were on the highway, this is a very good result.
During our stay in Pakoštan, we charged several times at the public AC station 2×22 kW, which is available for free. (that won’t happen to you with an incinerator ☺)
During the trip, we used the charging cards of our operators ZSE Drive and Greenway. From my experience, I recommend having at least these two cards with you on such trips. Thanks to this, we have never once been unable to recharge. We also had a BMW Charging card available. It is a universal card that BMW customers can add to their electric car. When buying an electric vehicle, the first year has free monthly fees. The card doesn’t guarantee the lowest prices, but you should be able to charge with it at most chargers in Europe, so it’s good to have. It also works in the IONITY network of charging stations, just like the ZSE Drive card.
So how to briefly evaluate our journey? Thanks to the decent range of the BMW iX3 and electric cars with a similar battery capacity, it is not a problem to go on a holiday trip in an electric car today. If we wanted to be at our destination as quickly as possible, three partial chargings on the route with a delay of about 1.5 hours would be enough compared to continuous driving. Since I have been to Pakoštan several times with internal combustion cars, I can say from experience that in the final the journey by electric car only took an hour longer, not even for charging, but for filming and testing the chargers along the route. When traveling, you still stop for a coffee, to eat, to use the toilet or just to rest. With an electric car, you just plan it so that you charge at that time. In addition, there is one more big advantage compared to traveling by internal combustion car. If you take your time on your journey, you can drive an electric car completely free of charge (excluding highway tolls). Along the route there are many chargers allowing free charging. Just plan your route and go.
Thanks to BMW, ZSE Drive and Greenway for their support during our test drive.
- Test consumption (kWh/100 km): 17.9-22
- Test range (km): 330-460
- AC charging power on 11 kW 3f charger (kW): 10.9
- AC charging power on 22 kW 3f charger (kW): 10.9
- Max. DC charging power, 50 kW charger (kW): 49
- Charging time 10-80% (min):71
- Max. DC charging power UFC charger 350 kW (kW): 157
- Charging time 10-80% (min): 31
Drive BMW iX3 (2022), rear-wheel drive, electric motor power 210 kW, torque 400 Nm, claimed WLTP range 460 km, DC charging up to 150 kW, AC charging 11 kW/3f, acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h 6.8 s, maximum speed 180 km/h
Model price (with VAT) from: 67 550 EUR
Tested vehicle: 78 461 EUR
Source: Nextech by www.nextech.sk.
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