BMW i3 auf Strasse in Süd-Europa

Travelling through Europe in the i3.

Guillaume Seguin embarked on a sustainability tour through half of Europe, setting off from Cork in Ireland. His conclusion: Round trips covering thousands of kilometres are not an issue in a BMW i3, but a few things need to be kept in mind.

Souvenirs from my last trip to Europe? Guillaume Seguin doesn't have to think for too long. Rather than bringing home a small Eiffel Tower from Paris, a beer mug from Munich or a bottle of Italian Chianti as you might expect, the editor of the "Irish Electronic Vehicle Owner's Association" reaches for his wallet and pulls out various plastic cards for charging stations. “ChargeNow has good coverage,” explains the 39-year-old while flicking through his cards. In his experience, IONITY is relatively cheap in Germany.

Guillaume Seguin had done a lot of research and compared the prices and distribution of charging stations before embarking on his two-week round trip through half of Europe. In Europe, this is (still) important if you want to prevent yourself from literally falling by the wayside. Guillaume Seguin wanted to complete his 4,000-kilometers trip with zero emissions in his blue-black BMW i3.

“I really wanted to attend the International Motor Show Germany in Frankfurt am Main,” says Guillaume Seguin. “And I extended the trip quite a bit as I had planned to visit friends on the European continent.” From Cork in Ireland he travelled to the Brittany by ferry, then to Montpellier, he then took another ferry to Corsica, then to Italy and finally arrived in Frankfurt am Main after passing through Monaco and the Swiss Alps. On the way back he travelled through Luxembourg, Belgium, Paris and Normandy.

His fondness for electromobility was the reason why Guillaume Seguin decided to travel in the BMW i3. “I had already had a positive experience with this vehicle, especially in terms of reliability and ride comfort,” says Guillaume Seguin. This is apparently why he wanted be on the road for two weeks with this particular ‘travel companion’. “Most people only use their electric vehicles in cities. When they are planning a longer trip, they tend to lack the experience and don’t feel confident,” he explains. “I wanted to demonstrate what can be done with a BMW i3.” According to Guillaume Seguin, even a trip covering thousands of kilometres is not a problem as long as a few things are kept in mind.

“As a general rule, you should start thinking about where you want to re-charge when the battery is at 30%,” says Guillaume Seguin. If you arrive at a charging point that is faulty or already occupied, then the remaining charge will easily last while you head to a back-up point. He also recommends the ABC rule: always be charging. You should take every opportunity you get to charge your car.

On average Guillaume spent 30 minutes charging and during this time he might go to a supermarket nearby or simply drink a coffee. “This is enough time to get the BMW i3 battery back up to 80%,” he says, drawing on his own experience. “And when I spent the night with friends, I connected the i3 to their home grid. It charges slowly but after ten hours the car is pretty much full, and I was asleep during that time.”

But the native frenchman had one quite unusual charging experience: “After driving down the Col de la Bonette in the alps, the battery of the BMW i3 was 15% fuller than it was at the top.” he says. For some of his friends who don’t own an electric vehicle, it is quite incredible that so much energy is generated by means of recuperation thanks to downhill driving.

However, there was one drawback: Looking for different charging cards to refuel in all the different countries. “I would like to see more consistency,” says Guillaume Seguin. He mentions that the BMW Group is a trailblazer in this area. Thanks to its services ChargeNow Flex and ChargeNow Active, charging points are immediately available in Germany, Belgium, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Portugal and Switzerland. “There are certainly other suppliers that provide electricity, but some of them bill differently,” he says. Ultimately, however, Guillaume Seguin regards this as secondary. All things considered, electricity refuelling is so cheap that the price difference is hardly important.