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Electric Vehicle to the Alps skiing

Driving an Electric vehicle or EV to the Alps


In the second week of the Easter holidays we travelled by electric car from Surrey to Val d'Isère. We decided to embark on this adventure after getting a last minute ski holiday deal (through Iglu Ski of course) and taking the opportunity to travel to the Alps in a more environmentally friendly way. The journey which is around 700 miles in each direction would be the longest car journey I've done for many years and the longest for my children. The last time I travelled that far by road to a ski resort was on a university ski trip from Leeds to the Alps, there was to be no VHS or warm beer on this trip! Our electric vehicle (EV) has a manufacturer’s range of 250 miles which really gives us a ‘real world range’ of 220-230 miles. We had only been electric car owners for six months so we decided to give ourselves plenty of time on the journey out and stop overnight. Our ski hotel booking was due to start on Sunday so we left the UK on Saturday morning. It was a short 1 hour 20 minutes to LeShuttle at Folkestone, and the Tunnel was a fantastic experience having travelled by plane for a long time. Scare stories of long wait times at the ports never materialised; there were no queues and we ‘sailed’ on to the first available train. 35 minutes later and much to the surprise of my children we had arrived in Calais, I don’t think they realised how close France was…or how long we still had to go.

Leshuttle port

No queues at the terminals!

We stopped around four times before our overnight stay in Tournus which is south of Dijon and close to some famous wine spots in Burgundy. I'd done some research on the chargers that were available on the journey but also Mercedes has functionality to advise when to stop and for how long based on your current battery charge. We found this really useful as it plotted our stops on the way down to our overnight stay, all of the chargers that we stopped at were high speed (150kw - 350kw). I was really surprised at how good the electric charging infrastructure was on the motorways in France, they seemed to be new, clean and there were no queues to use them. We stopped four times before our overnight stay which was probably more than we needed to but we planned to take it easy. Pre-trip, the thought of stopping a lot to charge felt like a bit of a pain but actually it became apparent quite quickly that after around two hours of driving, a stop and stretch of the legs was needed. As a family, someone always needed the toilet so the stopping never really became a problem. We chose a hotel with an electric charger. We hooked up to this and left the car overnight so it was ready for the morning.

Meticulous planning was needed to tackle the Easter bunny situation as our second day of travel coincided with Easter Sunday and there was an expectation of some chocolate treats magically appearing. The good news was the French Easter bunny found us in room 103 in our hotel in Tournus and that morning we left the hotel early to start our drive up the mountains. Fuelled by coffee, croissants and the French Easter Bunny’s chocolate we only needed one charging stop to get us all the way to Val d’Isère. We did however stop a second time in Albertville to top up as I was unsure of the impact of the cold and the trip up the mountain on the battery. We stopped at the ‘Tesla for all’ chargers which were really simple to use and very fast.

We arrived in Val d’Isère for lunch at around 12.30 p.m. after a five hour journey (including charging). The car had of course correctly factored in all the elements and there was no need for the second stop and charge! Off to lunch and then a fantastic Easter week of skiing, with loads and loads of fresh snowfall!

 Skiing at Easter

This was actually over in Tignes

A week later we had LeShuttle booked for 2 p.m. so we decided to leave Val d’Isère at 3 a.m. We were able to charge the car at the hotel despite this not being well publicised. The plan was to get down the mountain before all the coaches and airport-bound traffic and give ourselves plenty of time, with it being the end of the Easter holidays.

The trip down the mountain was beneficial to the whole journey as the car is set to self generative power when you are not accelerating (which we didn't the whole way down). This meant that despite the car’s actual mileage our first stop was after Lyon at around 310 miles from Val d’Isère.

We did the return journey in one straight stint and after the first stop we stopped again three more times, the last of which was close to LeShuttle port. We missed our 2 p.m. crossing after a planned stop at a giant supermarket on the outskirts of Reims (Champfleury) for some red wine and tomatoes! There were no issues getting on LeShuttle; having missed our booked slot, we waited for about 30 mins before we boarded. We got home after about 14.5 hours of driving including 2.4 hours of charging with enough charge from our last French top up to get us home.

Whilst getting home in one go was a good idea at the time it really tired us all out, and that was an issue as we got back on the Sunday and the kids were in school the next day. We thought the overall driving experience was really positive and we will drive to the Alps again if not further in the Summer. The roads in France were fantastic and the drive was pleasant. Of course we were mostly on toll roads.

Car Chargers in France

In total the charging for the round trip cost us £149.54 with charging costs varying from 0.35€ to 0.65€ per kw. According to the Mercedes App our trip saved 191.37 kgs of co2. This doesn’t take into consideration the flight and bus transfer alternative to our journey.

If you're driving to the Alps Iglu ski can book catered chalets, self catered chalets, Hotels and apartments without flights and transfers - start your search here