Werner Hillebrand-Hansen is a self-confessed electric vehicle fan who may have single handedly rid the world of range anxiety using his trusty Renault Zoe.
Range anxiety is the increasingly irrational fear that your electric car might run out of juice miles from the nearest charging point. With as many as one in six UK drivers claiming they'd choose an EV if the charging network were more widespread and reliable, range anxiety has for too long been a major thorn in the side of the budding green motoring industry.
However, having completed a trip in his fully-electric Renault Zoe, Werner has just demonstrated to the world that there really isn't anything to worry about.Renault Zoe – In It For The Long Haul
Werner's Renault Zoe road-trip took him from Munich to Barcelona, a distance of 854 miles that saw him traversing five countries in just two days.
The success of this trip has been attributed to two key factors. First of all, the lithium-ion batteries that give the Renault Zoe a range of 130 miles on a full charge. Second, the ever growing network of fast chargers that are springing up across the continent like benevolent mushrooms.
One of the major misconceptions of range anxiety is that, even should you succeed in locating a charger, you're looking at such a supremely lengthy charging process that it's simply not practical to drive electric vehicles long distance.
Rapid chargers, though, can charge an electric vehicle's battery from empty to 85% capacity in just 30 minutes. Even the standard 22kW chargers can significantly boost your range in around 40-50 minutes. In this time, Werner could stretch his legs, have a coffee, or just generally take a break. Electric vehicles call for an overall more relaxed lifestyle.
Werner is convinced that his successful trip proves that range anxiety should now be regarded as a thing of the past, as outmoded as the old fear that the human body simply wouldn't be able to withstand speeds in excess of 15mph.
Nonetheless, Werner acknowledges that things still aren't perfect. “It makes it clear,” he said, “that the network of charging opportunities must be expanded further to increase accessibility and convenience for EV users.”
But above all, Werner has proven that far from being impractical and inadvisable, long-distance travel in an electric vehicle such as the Renault Zoe is not only possible, it's also significantly cheaper. This trip of almost 1,000 miles used approximately 210kWh of electricity, costing Werner just €51.50. That's £43.20, or roughly the amount you'd pay for 16.5 litres of petrol. How far would that get you?
And it bears repeating that this lengthy journey produced absolutely nothing in the way of harmful CO2 emissions. Werner's trusty Renault Zoe ended its journey at the 27th International Electric Vehicle Symposium and Exhibition in Barcelona, where he was understandably greeted with enthusiastic applause.