EV to Italy 2024

So in April 2023 we bought an electric car, an MG 5 Trophy to be precise, having never had a hybrid or anything other than petrol or diesel. We planned on using this for ‘long’ trips whilst keeping our much loved Suzuki Jimny for local trips – it is better suited to Cornish roads, especially in winter!

We don’t have a home EV charge box but this isn’t really a problem as we aren’t using the car every day so recharge speed is not an issue. We might have problems getting a box installed anyway as we do not have off-street parking. Mind you, we also don’t have a pavement as our property garden wall is straight onto the road so it should be possible. Other people have succeeded in getting them installed here so we might try at some point.

Anyway, we do Plymouth a lot in the car, and have done London a fair few times as well as Essex, Edinburgh and other glorious destinations – so far without issues and with only limited range anxiety (late nights at the end of long journeys). Cornwall is still not well provided with charging stations, not an issue if we can get back to our home but could be a problem if we were caught out. The situation is improving weekly but we’re still light on locations compared to other parts of the UK.

Towards the end of 2023 we decided to take a motoring holiday to the south of Italy and set about seeing if it would be possible in an EV. ZapMap is really only good in the UK so we also got ChargeMap as that seems to cover Europe pretty well and the ChargeMap card is quite widely accepted.

It was a tortuous couple of days finding routes that were possible as there are areas of Italy, like the central mountainous region, that we wanted to drive through but simply couldn’t get recharged reasonably. Our goal was, as far as possible, to only use fast chargers so that we weren’t spending lots of our holiday sitting waiting. In the end we got it planned, even though some days looked like 7 stops, and booked the hotels then put it away till recently.

With the holiday now only a few weeks away, we got out our plan to check. Wow, the routes we had stored in the ChargeMap app had been deleted and we had to start again! Initially we were frustrated by this but in the end it made sense, there had been so many new charge points installed that the routes were completely different and required far fewer stops – excellent news! One bad point of the ChargeMap route planner was its occasional insistence on putting in a 22kw charge point and a 3 hour stop! In the end we decided we’d just have to use our brains on those days and “wing it”.

Something else that seems to have changed since we first planned this trip is that Tesla have opened vast swathes of their charge stations to non-Teslas. Their app takes a bit of thinking about as you can’t specify that you have a non-Tesla car, it simply assumes that if you don’t register a Tesla with the app you must want it to only list open charge points. Unsatisfactory until you realise what is doing, or look it up on chat rooms as we did!. We have still yet to try a Tesla charge but hope to do so shortly. Although you can get lower Tesla costs if you pay a monthly subscription we don’t think we’ll be using them enough to justify it.

There’s still things we don’t know like how will the car cope with mountainous roads, the heat and using air conditioning but we’re determined to give it our best shot and try to keep a positive outlook!