by Gary / 2 comments - Orginally published:14th May 2024

And why we went electric

Well, I guess the first reason was environmental. Climate change is real, and we can make a small change as individuals. Running an EV is one of ours.

Pollution is another. Most of our trips to London involve driving into its centre. On our last trip, not unexpectedly, we were caught in traffic around Greenwich, and the headlines relating to urban air quality hit home, and we were part of the problem.

And finally, it's the future. Anyone who has driven an electric vehicle will tell you about instant response; as soon as you hit the throttle, you go. You realise driving a car with electric motors is the way forward. How you provide energy for those motors is a question for another day.

The pin image for our post - 'An EV for a road trip'
Why not Pin it for later?

Stay informed

Why not subscribe to our monthly newsletter for some travel inspiration, some tips and find out what we've been up to?
Or alternatively, why not follow us on your favourite social media channel?

Why choose an electric vehicle

What was wrong with the status quo?
Actually, let's start with the old cars. Janis and I had our own cars, but we have only used one since Covid. Her car was the 2013 red Audi S3, used for the winter trips to the German Christmas Markets and fitted with winter tyres when required. It brought back many a treat from Germany.
Our red Audi S3 parked in a reserved space at the underground car park of our Hamburg hotel
Our Audi on a road trip

It was also our day-to-day runner for shopping trips, and at Christmas, it brought back two real Christmas trees from our local farm shop. One in the dining room and one in the lounge; these are then adorned with Christmas memories from our travels. I mention this because the new car must be able to fulfil this task.

The second was my grand tourer, which had taken us on many road trips over the years, including the Croatian road trip that took us as far as Dubrovnik.

Our Audi convertible parked up overlooking the blue waters of the Adriatic on our way to Pag on our Croatian Road Trip
Stopped by the roadside near Pag, Croatia

The problem was that, as I mentioned, it had not been used for the last four years. It had become a problem child, and I should have let it go then; perhaps there was a clue back in 2017 when she had a brief moment in Cáceres, Spain, breaking down in the historic town centre.

When she was good, she was a beautiful car to drive.

Our Audi convertible parked up on the roadside as it curves up towards to the hillside village of Les Baux-de-Provence. The remains of the ruins of Château des Baux sit high on the rock face.
The Audi RS5 on the approach to Les Baux-de-Provence, France
But when she was bad, she was expensive. That, and an abysmal experience with our local Audi dealership, led us to rule out that brand for a future EV.
Our Audi RS5 convertible, with the roof down, in front of the pits at the disused historic race track of Circuit Reims-Gueux in the Champagne Region of France
Audi RS5 outside pit 15 Circuit Reims-Gueux, France
As we both work from home and have used one for the last four years, we decided to consolidate. The only question was, what car?

There are so many incredible places to discover in France, so many regions, and I love planning road trips. I often use the DK Guides,

I find them extremely informative, easy to follow and the pictures and maps tempt you into searching for more

Choosing an EV

That's right for you.

Well, let's lay down our criteria
• Long range
• Comfortable cruiser for a road trip
• Suitable for both of us
• Good technology
• Looks good
• It can fit in two Christmas Trees
• A brand we can trust
So, not much; let's start thinning down that list.

Based on WLTP figures (more on that a little later) we started to look at the following;

Tesla Model 3 & Y
Polestar 2
Hyundia Ionic 5 & 6
Kia EV6
BYD Seal
Genesis EV60
Volvo EC40 & EX30

As I mentioned, Audi was off the table, and BMW and Mercedes were, too. There was something about legacy car makers' offerings that did not feel right.

So, let's look at the shortlist;


Tesla has to be considered the class leader in the UK market, so it would be weird not to include them.
A stock photo ofa tesla model 3 driving along a damp road thtrough the forest
A Tesla Model 3
Long Range: Model 3 390 miles: Model Y 331 miles
Comfortable cruiser for a road trip: Possibly a class leader?
Suitable for both of us: Maybe
Good technology: No indicator stalks and some issues with OTA updates.
Looks good: Nah, duck face is not for us
It can fit in two Christmas Trees: Model 3 - no, boot, not a hatch: Model Y Yes, but how ugly?
A brand we can trust:Erm no; Elon Musk is like a Marmite; we don't like his persona, but we do like a Marmite.
So Tesla
A stock photo of a testla model y drving along a mountain pass
A Tesla Model Y


This Scandi-cool brand has had the Polestar 2 on the market since 2020. In 2023 it received a minor facelift and a significant upgrade in the battery and drivetrain.
A stock Photo of a Polestar 2 in Magnesium in the Cotswolds
Our Spec Polestar 2
Long Range: Best model 406 miles
Comfortable cruiser for a road trip: After an extended test drive we felt this could be the car for us.
Suitable for both of us: We both enjoyed driving the car
Good technology: This has to be a class leader, certainly up there with Telsa
Looks good: I know it is subjective, but we both like the look of the Polestar 2
It can fit in two Christmas Trees: The Polestar 2 has a huge power tailgate with hatchback dimensions and is larger than the S3
A brand we can trust: It's part of the Volvo family, and you have to trust Volvo.
If you've recognised the opening image, you can see we went with the Polestar 2. As you can see, it ticked most of the boxes. The question of suitability was answered after an hour-long test drive at one of Polestar's road shows and an extended 48-hour test drive with a model delivered to our home.
So Polestar
Our magnesium polestar 2 ev parked at the roadside in deal
Our Polestar
But let's look at the other options;


Hyundai have two models that could be of interest to us, the Ionic 5 and  Ionic 6
A press photo of two Hyundai IONIC 5 cars showing bothe the front and bact
The Hyundai IONIC 5
Long Range: Ionic 5 - 315 miles: Ionic 6 - 338 miles
Comfortable cruiser for a road trip: They look it, ground-up EV design
Suitable for both of us: To be proven
Good technology: Looks to be some of the best. 800V infrastructure, so charging times will be reduced on the ultra-high speed chargers.
Looks good: I love the Ionic 5, but the Ionic 6 is not for us
It can fit in two Christmas Trees: The Ionic 5 maybe, but the Ionic 6 has a boot.
A brand we can trust: I've never heard a bad word from a Hyundai owner.
I think if the Ionic 5 could have squeezed in two Christmas trees and had a 400 mile range, then it would have been a serious contender.
So sadly, Hyundai
A press photo of a Hyundai IONIC 6 driving along a country road
The Hyundai IONIC 6


Kia has the EV6 which looks to be a good option for us.
A stock photo of two Kia EV6 vars so you can se both three-quarter angles of the cars
The Kia EV6
Long Range: 328 miles
Comfortable cruiser for a road trip: like the Hyundias, they are ground-up designs
Suitable for both of us: Need a test drive to confirm
Good technology: Again, 800V infrastructure, so charging times will be reduced on the ultra-high speed chargers.
Looks good: I think we both liked this car
It can fit in two Christmas Trees: It can fit in two Christmas Trees: It should be okay, it looks bigger than the S3
A brand we can trust: Again I've never of major problems with Kia.
I think if the range had been 400 miles or so, then it would have been another serious contender.
So Kia


BYD, or Build Your Dreams have the Seal model that is the closest match for us.
A press photo of a BYD Seal driving along a country road against a field of yellow rape seeds
The BYD Seal
Long Range: 354 miles
Comfortable cruiser for a road trip: it certainly looks it, a test drive would prove that.
Suitable for both of us: Janis is not a fan of the larger car, we'd need a test drive to be sure.
Good technology: Looks to be up there
Looks good: We think it does
It can fit in two Christmas Trees: Once again a booted model
A brand we can trust: let's discuss
BYD — who's heard of them? They are one of the world's largest EV makers, vying with Tesla for that award. They have a massive slice of their home Chinese market. My question is, how do I maintain the car? Where is their dealership network? Things will improve, but for now...
Too many question marks so BYD


For us the Genesis GV60 seemed to be the likely match for our needs
A stock photo of a Genesis GV60 Driving around a corner on a forest road
The Genesis GV60
Long Range: 294 miles
Comfortable cruiser for a road trip: looks to be, but a test drive would answer that.
Suitable for both of us: Again, would need a test drive.
Good technology: Part of the Kia/Hyundai family, so expect it to be good.
Looks good: Two minds about it - not 100% convinced.
It can fit in two Christmas Trees: Really not sure.
A brand we can trust: Again part of the Kia/Hyundia family so no issues there.
The range is really poor, plus being a premium Kia/Hyundai makes me feel like I am paying more for less.
So Genesis


There are two possible EVs in Volvos range that could possibly suit our needs, the EC40 and the EX30
A stock photo of two Volvo XC40's at the water's edge with a small lighthouse in the background
The Volvo EC40
Long Range: EC40 339.9 EX30 295.8 miles
Comfortable cruiser for a road trip: I think the EC40 would be fine, the EX30 I just have a question mark over how I would feel after a few days of continued long stretches.
Suitable for both of us: Pretty sure, a test drive would confirm that.
Good technology: The EC40 looks dated, the EX30 has the latest technology, similar to the Polestar, so better
Looks good: The EC40 looks nice, and the EX30 has something rather cute about the look of it
It can fit in two Christmas Trees: The EC40 should tick the box, the EX30 is a pint-sized treat, but I doubt it would be up to the Job
A brand we can trust: It's a Volvo; what more do I have to say?
The EC40 may be closer, but the tech looks a little dated. The EX30 is a more modern but there are two issues here: range and Christmas trees.
So Volvo
A stock photo of a Volvo EX30 in Cloud Blue
The Volvo EX30

The images in this post

The majority of images in this post I have obtained from the brand's media page and, therefore, are subject to their own copyright. If an image has my copyright watermark, then obviously, it is one I have shot.

The Real World Range of EV's

and what we are expecting
Having narrowed our choice down to the Polestar 2, with the potential of 406 miles range. I actually specified a Long Range Dual Motor with 20" wheels, with a plus & pilot pack which brings my WLTP to around 350 miles.
The clear dashboard of our polestar 2 electric car displaying the percentage and available range through the multi-functional steering wheel
The dashboard of our Polestar 2
I know that figure is unrealistic, in fact, the WLTP is flawed because, if I can lift the 'WLTP-certified range explained' directly from Polestar you might understand why;
"In Europe, all electric vehicles are tested against a standardised metric for range. The Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) measures the range of a car travelling at an average speed of 28.8 mph in summer temperatures from a 100% to 0% state of charge. Although the certified WLTP range is not always achievable in real life, it does help to compare between different car makes and models."
Now that is clear, and I will never drive my Polestar from 100% to 0% SoC, and whilst touring, I will probably often not charge above 80%, as recommended by Polestar.
Our Polestar 2 ev at Dungeness in front of derek jarman's former cottage on the shale
Our Polestar 2 on its first day out

So, what real-world figures am I likely to get? I am going to go back to that test drive in September 2023 with a Long Range, Single Motor.

We performed many different test scenarios while learning to drive the car. Both Janis and I took turns at the wheel and recorded some details using the vehicle's onboard trip computer. Don't forget that it was all rather new to us.

On one segment, we drove from our home to Westerham and then onto Dungeness via a scenic country route.

Our black Polestar 2 in a gravel car park with Dungeness Lighthouse in the distance
Our test drive car at Dungeness
That journey totalled 114.1 miles, took 4 hours and 18 minutes at an average speed of 28 mph, and consumed 23.1kWh/100 miles. Pop those numbers into a spreadsheet, and you get a real-world range of 355 miles from a 100% charge.
The Trip Computer readout from the Polestar 2 consuming 23.1 Kilowatt Hours per 100miles
The Trip Computer cross-country results

Now, I know that's 60 miles short of the WLTP range, but we were still learning with the car. We may have had a burst of acceleration or two, and the AC was on as it was 27 degrees outside.


And there's no denying it, when we talk range we are talking about those longer trips, that probably include motorway stints at close to the national speed limit. As the speed goes up, the EV consumes more.

With an ICE car (that's an Internal Combustion Engine—petrol or diesel), the car becomes efficient at 30-40 mph. That's because you have reached your cruising gearing, probably top gear, and the inefficiencies of running a water pump and alternator to cool and keep the electric charging have been overcome; you are at your most efficient. After that, air resistance will bring your consumption down.

With an EV, that efficiency speed is much lower; the car normally has a single-speed gearbox and doesn't run a water pump or alternator, so it's around 15-25mph. This means air resistance will be a bigger factor in affecting the consumption.

So, on the motorway journey home the following day from Folkestone the journey totalled 41.4 miles, took 1 hours and 27 minutes at an average speed of 30 mph, but consumed 27.1kWh/100 miles. The numbers from the spreadsheet give us a range of 302.5 miles. The average speed is pretty low, but I know we weaved our way around some of the slower roads for 30 minutes of that.
The Trip Computer readout from the Polestar 2 consuming 27 Kilowatt Hours per 100miles
The results from our motorway trip

The long and short of this is I know my range for a road trip at motorway speeds is likely to be around 250 miles.

Now, for some, that may sound horrific, and if you drive a diesel car with a 500-mile-plus range, it looks poor, but remember, my Audi RS5 would usually have a range of 300 miles. I also think I should see an improvement by modifying my driving habits.

If you want to see how we get on with our new Polestar 2, leave me a comment, and I'll create a follow-up post.

We have a new little book on our shelves that we delve into when we're heading to the coast.

Packed full of historical facts, and broken down into the different counties of England.  It tells tales of the history of the shoreline that surrounds our country.

Available in Kindle & Hardback editions, it's an excellent addition to anyone's collection who loves the English seaside.

The ideal touring EV

or what we think are good choices

We have chosen our Polestar.  My brain should have told me to stick with the Long Range Single Motor on 19" rims, but my heart won, and so we have the Long Range Dual Motor on 20" rims.  So, this proves I don't always follow my own 'advice.'

The options I have with Polestar are succinct.  There is a choice of two packs: the Plus and Pilot if you discount the Performance, which is another model.

  • The Plus pack gives us;
  • Harman Kardon Premium Sound
  • Panoramic roof
  • WeaveTech seats with black ash deco inlays
  • Tinted rear window
  • High-level interior illumination
  • Energy-saving heat pump
  • Fully-electric front seats
  • Heated steering wheel, rear seats and wiper nozzles
  • Air quality
  • Polestar digital key
  • Power-operated tailgate with foot sensor
  • Rear floor "lid in lid" with bag holder

If you read our post 'Soundtrack of a Road' you'll know how important music is to us, and the range-extending heat pump is a winner.  The Panoramic roof will make the car lighter inside.

A close-up of the central of the Harman Kardon Premium Sound system speaker on the dashboard of a Polestar 2
Harman Kardon Premium Sound

The rest of the items will make the day-to-day experience of living with the Polestar better, so it's the Plus pack for us.

The Pilot pack gives us;

  • Pixel LED headlights with adaptive high-beam
  • LED front fog lights with cornering function
  • Adaptive Cruise Control
  • Pilot Assist

The car is already well-specified with LED headlights with active high beam, Safety assistance with Run-off Road Mitigation, Oncoming Lane Mitigation, Lane Keeping Aid, Post Impact Braking, Connected Safety, Driver Alert Control, Road Sign Information and Speed Limiter.

However, Adaptive Cruise Control is a must.  I've had it for the last 15 years, and I love it.  It makes those long distances fly by.

On our test drive I tested those Pixel LED headlights with adaptive high-beam, they were terrific.

So it's the Pilot pack for us.

The dash of the polestar 2 with its central display showing some of the driver aids available
Plenty of safety technology

Then there's a couple of items that are not on the options list that I think are worth considering.

The first is a dash cam—Fitcam X produces a front-facing camera that almost looks factory-fitted. It's a doddle to install, drawing its power from the rearview mirror.

The next is a small detailing bag to put a couple of clothes in, a glass cleaner, and a quick detailer to deal with the odd marks you'll pick up en route. That can sit in the storage area generally reserved for an engine on an ICE car.

The next thing that makes the Polestar 2 an ideal road trip car is the ability to install apps on the Android Automotive system. Let's quickly look at that in more detail.

Apps on a Polestar 2

Making your road trip easier

The Polestar 2 has an 11.2" tablet mounted in the centre with Google Maps integrated into the system. This provides very accurate routing information and charging stops as required, with an indication of the SoC at your destination. In the driver's 12.3" display, you can choose to echo the map display or stick with simple driver info.

You can also install A Better Route Planner, a popular routing app, which allows a greater level of configurability.

A map of our planned French road trip on the 'a better route planner' app as displayed on the central screen of our polestar 2 electric car
A Better Route Planner

Another favourite is Waze, which is a community-driven navigation app. User can update the latest information such as roadworks, accidents or delays and the app will direct you around this. It also has alerts for speed camera, both fixed an temporary.

As I mentioned we love our music, so the Spotify app, linked to our profile allows us to stream when we drive.

Our French Road trip playlist from Spotify as displayed on the central screen of our polestar 2 electric car
Spotify on the Polestar

It is inevitable we will stop more often and for longer. Now, we may use that time to have a coffee and a quick snack, or we could use the installed browser to have a little surf, or to stream some content.

Whatever way we look at it, we are going to spend some time in this car relaxing.

Is the Polestar 2 the ultimate touring EV

Only time will tell

It's also a matter of requirements. There is only the two of us. Neither of us is tall; I'm 5' 7" or 170cm, and Janis is 5' 1.5" (the .5 is important I'm told), that's 156.21cm (I guess I need to be accurate)

However, we don't pack light, and the Polestar 2 offers us much more space than either the Audi S3 or the convertible Audi RS5. Once again, we have to be careful because weight will not be our friend.

One large suitcase, the rucksack and the camera bag in the boot of our audi s3, seats up, for a short road trip. The sachel to go inside.
The Audi S3 with the seats up
Two suitcases, the rucksack, sachel and the camera bag in the boot of our audi s3 with the seats down for a longer road trip.
The Audi S3 with the seats down
The S3 could cover smaller trips in just the boot space, such as those Christmas Market trips. However, for the longer trips, like last year's road trip around Spain, we had to fold down the rear seats, which meant everything was on display—not ideal. The satchel would sit behind the passenger seat.
Our luggage stacked in front of the opened boot of our Audi parked in our Utrecht Hotel cark park
Packing for our Tulips and Cheese Road Trip

With the Audi convertible, things were tight, too. We bought soft bags to fit them into the limited boot space.

So the Polestar offers us more space than we've ever had before. Now, both cases will fit comfortably in the boot space, the rucksack may fit too, but the Polestar has a surprise or two up its sleeves.

The rear boot space of the polestar 2 loaded with two full size suitcases, camera bag and sachel
The boot space of the polestar
The underfloor rear storage of a polestar 2 ev
The underfloor rear storage

Firstly, there is an extra storage area under the flat boot space, enough for the rucksack and so much more. I need to remember to keep the weight down!

Then there's the fr***; no, I'm not going to call it that because I don't have a trunk. It's the front storage space, and that gives me an extra 41 litres of space.

It looks like we're covered.

The front storage area of a polestar 2 is where you would normally expect to find an engine, in this case, containing a rucksack, recharging cable and a large bottle of water
The front storage area
So, now it's just a case of hitting the road. Initially around the UK, then we have to start planning for our French road trip later this year. If you want to see how we get on, leave me a comment below and ask me any questions. If there's enough interest, I'll write some follow-up posts to address any points you raise.

There are so many beautiful regions to discover around the UK. From the delightful Kent coast in the southeast to the stunning Highlands of Scotland in the north. Discover them all via its beautiful back roads.

Grab a copy of the latest DK Eyewitness guide to ensure you don't miss all those incredible sights.

* This post may contain links to affiliated sites where we earn a small commission at no additional charge to you.

Share this post

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.