Electric car and LA7 Piazzapulita: in 2016 we were already traveling with a first generation car

Electric car and LA7 Piazzapulita: in 2016 we were already traveling with a first generation car
Electric car and LA7 Piazzapulita: in 2016 we were already traveling with a first generation car

Recently the television broadcast A clean sweep, its LA7, has broadcast a service that tells the adventures of one of their correspondents at the wheel of aelectric car to travel the route Rome-Reggio Calabria. We do not link the content, although it is easy to find, as we think it is not a description corresponding to reality. LA7 put a totally unprepared journalist behind the wheel, without even equipping her with the basic applications to identify the charging network, and moreover making her leave from Rome with a not fully charged battery. To complete the disaster, the car chosen is a small car, albeit with a decent range, whose recharging capabilities are ignored, “carefully” avoiding the fast columns on the route. Result, according to Piazzapulita: 52 hours of travel for 700 km.

Anyone who has ever approached electric mobility, even without finally deciding to buy a battery-powered car, knows well that it is a unlikely reconstruction, as immediately demonstrated by an article by Vaielettrico’s colleagues, who traveled the same route, with the same car, and with a neophyte behind the wheel, in less than 10 hours, with a minimum of preparation.

The car under accusation a Renault Zoe of the latest generation, that call R135, with a 52 kWh battery and credited for approx 400 km of autonomy maximum. Not exactly a utilitarian in the strict sense, therefore, and to make it look bad on LA7 they have worked a lot. But this misadventure has brought to the memory of the writer, owner of a first generation Renault Zoe since 2014, a journey undertaken in 2016, shorter but rather indicative of the possibilities of electric cars.

100% recharge before leaving

The scenario five years ago was very different: with the exception of Tesla, there were no electric cars with high autonomy, and the network of fast columns was practically non-existent, while the 22 kW alternating current columns of power. A trip in Zoe, for the Milan – Igea Marina route, was therefore not impossible with a minimum of organization, given the car’s ability to exploit all 22 kW with its own on-board charger. The first rule of the journey, between 310 and 390 km long depending on the route chosen, was leave with the car 100% charged. The first generation of the French electric car, with a fully charged battery, guaranteed about 130 km of motorway travel, much less than today’s cars, thanks to the 22 kWh battery.

Charging in the center of Parma, in an area with many services

After the departure from Milan, therefore, the first obligatory stop was Parma, a city that was already at the forefront in terms of the number of recharging stations. I found the first available column free, and after a refill of about an hour the car was ready to leave. With today’s fast column it would have taken only 30 minutes. In order not to risk finding myself with autonomy to the limit, I decided to stop again near Bologna, precisely in the rest area with recharge at theIkea of ​​Casalecchio di Reno. A rest area that still exists today, but in which there are now 50 kW fast columns. At the time they were still 22 kW AC, but in this case the stop was made more intelligent: what could be better than a dinner of Swedish meatballs while the car was charging?

Recharge at Ikea in Bologna, where today there are fast columns

After this recharge, I made no further stops, until the finish line in Igea Marina, where I had a room booked at the Hotel La Perla, at the time one of the first to provide recharging for electric vehicles in the internal car park, a service that still provides free to its customers. guests. Precisely for this reason I was not the only guest with an electric car in those days.

The hotel parking, with several electric guests

But how long did the trip last? Considering a speed slightly below the limit, to optimize the battery life, and the charging stops, the trip lasts about 6 and a half hours. A time obviously higher than the approximately 4 hours required with a normal car, but not impossible to manage also thanks to the interlude dinner used as recharging time. An acceptable situation then? Probably not, but I remember that the situation at that time was very different from the current one. Electric cars were definitely immature and the charging network was even more so. The same route, made today with the car used on LA7, which has received two battery upgrades over the years, it wouldn’t even need a stop (starting 100% charged) or perhaps a 20 minute break at a fast column.

The hotel wallbox, there were not many models on the market at the time

How to consider the scenario painted for the Rome – Reggio Calabria trip? Surely a reconstruction that does not correspond to the reality of the facts. With my old routes of 2016, the same 700 km journey would have been exactly double my Milan – Igea Marina experience, or a time of 14 hours. However much, but extremely far from the 52 hours that tell about Piazzapulita. Not only that, there is also an aggravating circumstance. Southern Italy was chosen to demonstrate the cliché of an area behind the North or the Center. Also this erroneous reconstruction, ed in the South there is no shortage of charging infrastructures, as already seen in our reportage of the summer trip throughout Italy, and as clearly visible in Vaielettrico’s report on the same route.

Charging stop on the way back, same route in reverse

So why have these columns been ignored? Why did you leave with the car partially unloaded, for a widely planned trip? Why didn’t it recharge overnight? All questions to which we may never have an answer, but which demonstrate that it is already possible to travel by electric car today, with a minimum of preparation that even a novice can easily obtain.

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