How our ŠKODA ENYAQ <span>i</span>V saw the sea

How our ŠKODA ENYAQ iV saw the sea

MODELS ENYAQ iV

Geneva, Saint-Tropez, Cannes, Nice, Vevey, Montreux, Gruyère. Names that sound so tempting. Visit them in the ŠKODA ENYAQ iV electric car? Definitely a good idea for Martin Thirolf and his wife Evita.

25. 4. 2022

You might remember Martin and his wife from an article about their first experiences with the ENYAQ iV. In October 2021 they headed south on holiday. Check out the diary they kept of their first “electric” road trip.

All the preparations are done, luggage packed, maps and routes at hand, the car loaded. We’re setting sail tomorrow and we can’t wait. As we don’t have kids we have plenty of space, the trunk is huge and very user-friendly. All the nets, boxes, hooks – well, simply clever! However, having a little compartment to store the charging equipment in the front would be even better because we’re not always using fast chargers with attached cables while on the road.

Before long journeys it makes sense to fully charge the ENYAQ iV.

Days 1 and 2: heading south

No need for a very early start from Frankfurt am Mein today. Our first leg should only lead us to Geneva – a stopover we’ve chosen because we’ve never been to this city before and it’s more or less located in the middle of our route. The shortest way to get to the south of France from Frankfurt am Mein would actually lead through France, but the praised infrastructure for EVs in Switzerland is simply tempting. And as always, we strive to see as many new places as possible.

So with the battery at 100 per cent – which is actually not recommended and makes only sense if you’re planning to set out on a longer drive – and the trunk full of stuff we’re southbound. After roughly 250 kilometres we’re stopping for the first time at a gas station with an ancient 50-kW triple charger… which is occupied by combustion engine cars! One of the drivers frees the spot for us, though, only to find out that this charger is not working! 

The huge luggage compartment that’s also Simply Clever thanks to its hooks, boxes and nets.

Anyway, with still more than 20 per cent of juice this isn’t an issue – yet a negative experience as it forces us to make another stop quite soon. The guy who blocked the charger was very interested in the ENYAQ iV (“impressive car”), so at least we could spark a chit-chat that used to be called “Benzingespräch” (Petrol Talk). Will that change to “Stromgespräch” anytime soon?

Some kilometres down the highway we can see on the map that there’s a 150-kW charger not far from a fast food restaurant where we can stop for a proper break. Only 45 minutes later (which translates into a quick walk, a burger and a restroom stop) and with more than 90 per cent state of charge, we’re hitting the road towards Geneva again. 

Southern Europe offers sun, sea and beautiful views.

For a second I’m tempted to try ENYAQ iV’s limited top speed of 160 kmh on the freeway, but it doesn’t really make sense. I rarely drive faster than 140 kmh which is an extremely convenient travelling speed. I switch on the travel assist and enjoy what a modern car is capable of. (Should I mention the massage seat?)

Not far from Geneva we decide to add some more kWh to our battery – we don’t know what the charging possibilities in the city centre will look like. However, this turned out to be a completely useless stop as a while later we’re parking in a parking garage with a free-of-charge charging spot – but only 3.6 kW fast. We don’t mind, it’s great for an overnight “refuel”. At 9 AM the ŠKODA mobile app notifies us “fully charged” – perfect!

Fully charging the battery is no problem at the hotel.

Our second leg from Geneva to Fréjus is simply stunning. We have left highways, taking smaller roads with wonderful views and less traffic. This results in impressively low consumption. 

The next charger we find – using the highly recommended AirElectric app – is in a Provençale city called Manosque. Sadly, it’s not in the centre of the picturesque French town, but in a rather boring industrial area – we think... Until we realise that it’s just at the back of the French cosmetic company L’Occitane en Provence! There’s an impressive factory outlet store, open even on Sundays! This is exactly what happens when you’re “forced” to leave the freeway. Well, the stop cost us a bit more than just the price for the electricity. But who cares – this is a vacation!

In the late afternoon we arrive at our hotel in Port Fréjus. We’re relaxed after the drive and our ENYAQ iV sees the sea for the first time.

Charging is a snap

Charging is extremely simple for us as the ENYAQ iV is a company car, and my company provides charging cards for two networks, Shell and DKV. With these cards I can charge pretty much at every available station – except for the Tesla’s, of course. If it doesn’t work with one of the cards I still can use my smartphone apps to start the charging process. When I got the car, I ordered a charging card from the biggest German network, EnBW, just as a backup; I never had to use it so far. In my opinion, to make e-mobility success, it needs to be that simple for every driver – that’s why I think it’s a good idea to have a simple and unified payment process and not such a jungle of networks and prices as it is today for private customers. I think it’s all about standardisation, and also little things like EU-wide aligned traffic signs would also make our lives easier… (we named the French sign for EVs “the hamster” – and think this is by far the best symbol!)

Days 3 to 6: At the Côte d’Azur

With the afternoon highs at 24 degrees it’s a bit too chilly for us to enjoy the beautiful beach at Fréjus, so we’re visiting some of the beautiful villages and towns down the Côte d’Azur instead. We start at the famous Saint-Tropez which is – despite the just-for-the-super-rich reputation – still a wonderful small coast town with quiet places and typical small streets. Our ENYAQ iV has to stay “outside” which means at the huge parking lot next to the harbour. The available chargers there are blocked by other cars but as they provide only 3.6 kW we don’t really care and decide for another parking spot. Good news: the car doesn’t heat up that much in the sun, even if you don’t use the incredibly convenient remote air-conditioning feature.

We also visit Cannes to see the impressive yachts of some of the rich and famous people. We find out that it’s easy to find the owners of most of these vessels on the internet within seconds – very exciting to learn who their “captains” are. From internet billionaires to Arab princes – sadly we don’t spot anyone in person, or at least we don’t recognise them…

In Cannes we admired the yachts of the rich and famous.

We get the chance to find out another surprising thing about our car while navigating through parking garages in Nice and Cannes. Obviously, these places were built when cars had different – somewhat smaller – dimensions. But even though all the parking assist systems are in a constant “beeeeep” it’s possible to get through the tiniest ramps without scratches. And honestly: when I saw some of the gateways at first, I was sure we would get stuck every moment. But the 9-meter turning circle and the decent overview allows for manoeuvres I’d rather do with a FABIA.

Martin and Evita Thirolf drove 2,985 km on their trip around France. 
Their average consumption was 16.8 kWh per 100 km (according to WLTP, the standard consumption for the ŠKODA ENYAQ iV 80 is 15.9 – 18.0 kWh per 100 km). 

On the journey to Nice – which turns out to be one of the most beautiful cities we’ve ever visited – we stop for a quick charge at one of the perfect French rest areas. The freeway tolls might be high in France but you get something back: tidy, perfectly located and well-maintained fast charging spots… 20 minutes, just enough for a stroll, a coffee and off we go with 75 per cent which should be enough to reach the Allego charging station in Aix-en-Provence the following day.

The Luberon region is famed for its picturesque villages, which are definitely worth taking your time in.

Days 7 to 12: Enjoying Provence

The next chapter of our road trip is the very heart of Provence: the Luberon region with its world-famous villages and stunning landscape. Also the roads in this area are a pleasure to drive: the ENYAQ iV surely isn’t a sports car, but cruising through the curvy and perfectly paved roads in a surprisingly lush landscape with forests, vineyards and faded lavender fields in a totally quiet car is a completely new experience. In the past, we used to listen to music while driving, all that nice old-fashioned and relaxed stuff like the Eagles, Alan Parsons or even Moby or Massive Attack. This has changed completely: windows down and the radio switched off. So much fun! 

IMG_5488.JPGProvence offers delicious food, gorgeous countryside, monuments, and above all the good life under the blazing sun.

After a full charge in Aix-en-Provence (again we don’t know how to handle the lack of fast charging possibilities at our next destination) we have reached the village of Puyvert, not far from the famous Lourmarin. Our very nice host at the B&B “Bastide St. Victor” tells us what we shouldn’t miss in the area. So in the following days we see more stunning small towns, Roman bridges, make challenging hikes in the “Colorado Provençale”, feast and taste (and buy) superb wines. Hard to put in words how perfectly Provence serves all the clichés every tourist is looking for.

A network of charging stations where you can use POWERPASS

To make this journey even more perfect the French countryside is paved with perfectly working 22-kWh chargers. Every village has two or four at some parking lot, so we can keep our car at a good juice level the whole time. After all it’s only a matter of two hours (read: a nice dinner in Lourmarin) to load the battery to the brim. And we can start towards our next destination: Vevey at Lake Geneva!

Days 13 and 14: Lake Geneva 

If you want to know what expensive really means, visit Switzerland in autumn 2021. The exchange rate makes it really hard to enjoy our vacation. However, the impressive mountain landscape around the eastern shores of Lake Geneva is priceless. Two nights at a B&B with a stunning view don’t kill our budget completely, and the friendliness of the people together with the beauty of the landscape helps us forget about the figures on the menus. In Vevey and Montreux – two true gems –, not only do we enjoy Switzerland at its best, but there are also chargers everywhere, so driving an EV becomes just normal. Mostly when you realise that in Switzerland the transition from combustion engines has already happened.

Lake Geneva and its stunning views of the mirror-like water, high sky and steep mountainsides.

On our last leg we stop in a pretty village called Gruyère to – you won’t guess – taste and buy the praised Swiss Gruyère AOP cheese. Yummy! And really interesting to see how this delight is produced. 

On the way home from Lake Geneva to Frankfurt am Mein, one single charging stop at the absolutely perfect Fastned station in Herbolzheim is sufficient – both I and Evita agree that travelling with the ENYAQ iV is more than just fun; it’s a pleasure and we’re looking forward to even more challenging destinations soon. Can’t wait!

The ŠKODA ENYAQ iV as seen by Martin and Evita

The best travel car I could imagine! Amazingly quiet with plenty of space and a handful of smart storage options. The smallest turning circle you can imagine (parking houses!). It makes people curious, but it’s not a car asking for applause or compliments. It’s just there and works incredibly well.

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