Guide and top tips for driving your EV abroad

You’ve taken the plunge and decided to get an electric car for your day-to-day commute. You’ve done your homework and understand exactly what mileage you cover weekly and where you are most likely to charge the vehicle. But what about taking your Nifti acquired EV overseas for a holiday? Should you be put off, or will it be a piece of cake?

Can you travel through Europe with an electric car?

Yes. Travelling abroad in an EV just requires a little planning and understanding of the particular route you wish to take.

Can you charge an Irish electric car in Europe?

Yes. Unlike charging your phone abroad where the standard three-pin socket needs a European converter, car chargers are pretty much harmonised across Europe. Standard charging comes via a Type 2 connector, and if your car can take a fast charge option, then you will find most stations are also equipped with CCS Type 2 charge units. 

Where can you charge your car in Europe? 

Most modern EVs are fitted with European map navigation that can pick up on charge points nearest to you. Some will also help plan your journey and calculate exactly how often you will need to stop and for how long. 

If your car is not equipped with these technologies, you can use mobile apps with the same features. Take Plugshare, which features over 300,000 chargers across Europe and helps you to plan your trip. Pricing will vary depending on the country you visit, but you’re likely to see prices similar to or cheaper than those in Ireland. Most ferry crossings now offer a charging overnight option, which will prepare you with a full battery for your journey ahead.

Will my Irish EV Charge Station cards work abroad? 

No, most likely not, unless your card came from the vehicle manufacturer with European recognition. Thankfully, there are companies who can provide an RFID card that works on several different networks, reducing the number of cards or apps you need to obtain. Websites like Chargemap will help in this regard. You can obtain a Chargemap Pass RFID card in France, the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Luxembourg and the Czech Republic.

Can you do long journeys in an electric car?

Yes. The more understanding you have of the journey you want to take, the less likely you are to feel any range anxiety. 

There are certain things to consider before you travel. Your car will carry more weight on holidays with your bags and other travel supplies. If you fill a roof box or small trailer, you’ll need to factor in the extra weight into your predicted range. Using the air conditioning on high in the warmer months will also add strain to your car’s battery. Be clever with your battery usage and always err on the side of caution. 

Can you take a leased car abroad?

Yes. There are time constraints on having foreign-registered vehicles in other countries, but for a two-week or even a month-long holiday, there shouldn’t be a problem. 

What are the legal requirements for driving abroad? 

When driving abroad, your full licence is required. In some cases, you’ll also need an International Driving Permit. If you buy a motor insurance policy from an EU-based insurance company, you will have the minimum compulsory level of insurance required to drive in any EU country. However, you should always tell your insurance company if you plan to take your vehicle abroad and check with them what exactly is covered by your policy. You can usually take your car for up to 31 days to another EU member state for no extra charge. 

Your existing cover can be extended for stays of up to 60 or 90 days duration, but you may have to pay an additional fee for this cover. You can also pay for additional types of cover while driving abroad such as breakdown assistance. It’s also best to keep a copy of your Nifti lease agreement with you when you travel.

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