It wasn’t ever going to be an exciting or especially memorable journey – a family trip with the Vauxhall Vivaro-e Life for a family holiday in the Isle of Wight. An 88-mile journey to Portsmouth, then hop across on the ferry and eight miles to our rented holiday home.
We set off in the Vivaro-e with it showing 131 miles fully charged (the official figure is 143 miles). Having checked beforehand, even if we ran into range issues, we knew there were 50kW rapid chargers at the Wightlink ferry terminals both in Portsmouth and Fishbourne, so we could charge there if we really needed to.
Things didn’t start well though. We left slightly later than planned meaning we had to drive slightly faster on the dual carriageways than was ideal for extending that range. Also, it was a warm day and, with the family dog in the back, we needed to use the air conditioning to keep the cabin cool. Again, more battery power gone.
Unexpectedly heavy traffic made us later still and we arrived at Portsmouth harbour just in time to catch our ferry – and no time no charge. Leaving the ferry with 15 miles of range showing, we decided to take the risk rather than stop and charge and we got to our rented holiday home with a nail-biting eight miles of range left.
Fast-forward a week and we had the same journey but in reverse. Again, we left with a full charge, but on this occasion we left with plenty of time and didn’t need to rush to get home. It also wasn’t quite so warm, so not so much need for the air conditioning. With the lesson learned from the outbound journey, we also drove in Eco mode as much as possible to extend the range to its maximum.
The result was that we got home with a much more comfortable 25 miles of range left in the battery. It was a perfect lesson in how easily non-EV drivers can criticise battery-powered cars, but also how easy it is as an EV driver to affect your range and adjust your driving style accordingly to maximise that.
Two identical journeys, but with two very different outcomes and two very different levels of stress at the end of them.