Currently reading: EV to Edinburgh, take two: 700 miles in a Kia e-Niro
One year on from taking Hyundai's then-new Kona Electric on a cross-country road trip, we do the same in its sister car to see how the network has improved
News
5 mins read
14 February 2020

Just over a year ago I set off on a bleak December morning from Oxfordshire to Edinburgh in a 64kWh Hyundai Kona Electric SE. The idea was to take the first affordable EV with a decent range (£35,145 after PiCG at the time) and get there without having to jump through any early adopter-type hoops. It’s not a once every six months trip either, it’s one I do a few times a year.

The Kona Electric was easily up to it and would have managed it with two rapid charges each way (which take the battery to 80 percent in rapid mode, rather than 100). It was a near disaster because six of the eight Ecotricity DC rapid chargers I stopped at during the entire 690 mile round trip, didn’t work.

In January, I did the trip again to see if anything had changed apart from the car, which this time was a Kia e-Niro with the same size battery as the Kona. As before, I’d got an idea of which services I needed to stop at from Zapmap and the Ecotricity Electric Highway apps. I also made a note of Polar chargers near the motorway just in case I ran into trouble with Ecotricity again. This time my other half was with me, plus a puppy and I couldn’t risk getting stuck in the cold weather. 

We left with the trip on 11,834 miles and a 24 hour charge from a domestic socket, a predicted range of 233 miles and the temperature outside, a nippy 6°C. I’d found with the Kona that the predicted range never quite lived up to the promise and I’d end up at a charge point with less remaining range than expected. I put it down to the fact I was doing a steady 70mph on the motorway but a delivery driver told me recently he found that generally, EVs range predictions were optimistic at around 1.2 miles for every mile actually travelled.

The first stop was 118 miles away at Knutsford on the M6 with the temperature still at a chilly 6°C. The remaining range on the trip computer was 133 miles, a difference from the predicted range of 115 miles which tallied almost exactly with reality. I’d made good use of the adaptive cruise and the Ecotricity charger worked, delivering 24.1 KWh for £7.23, 30p/kW in around 45 minutes and with the range now topped-up to 204 miles.

Back to top

Next stop was at the usual – Tebay Northbound. This time the numbers suggested the e-Niro was being slightly pessimistic, so we’d used less energy than it anticipated and were left with 199 miles. Again, straightforward charge with Ecotricity costing £7.80. We stopped again at Abington services on the M74 before heading off across the borders to Edinburgh, not because we needed to but because I wanted plenty left for the return trip across the borders. Accessible rapid chargers are extremely scarce at our destination, the pup needed a pee-stop anyway and the charger at Abington was on free vend, so we took 25.2kWh while we were at it. We arrived on the outskirts of Edinburgh with 150 miles range left, so two stops would still have been comfortable.

On the way home on the third day of the trip, it was much the same story except this time I was confident with Ecotricity and completely confident with the Kia’s range predictions. After a domestic socket top-up while we were there, we left for home with the range showing 240 miles. We stopped at Gretna after 87 miles for breakfast but didn’t bother charging, then Lancaster after another 84 miles with another top-up, then Keele and another top-up) after a further 74 miles then home, 91 miles away. 

The total trip was 709 miles and we finished with a predicted range at the finish of 77 miles. Several of the stops were for us and the pup rather than the need to take on charge, but I also wanted to check whether the chargers were working. The adaptive cruise, active lane keeping and refinement of the e-Niro made it the most relaxing trip I’ve done to Scotland over the last few years and this time the Ecotricity chargers all did the job without a fight. In total we spent £42.60 on rapid charging and probably around £10 on home charging at both ends at about 15p/kWh. Say £45 energy cost, compared to around £85 in the family Fiesta 1.0-litre Ecoboost and around £130 in my 3.0-litre X5 diesel. 

Of the three, the e-Niro was by far the most enjoyable to do the trip in and I’d started doing the man maths to buy one before we’d finished the first leg. But even set at maximum denial levels, my man maths faltered at the cost of buying an EV like this. It’s still so much more than a conventional equivalent even with the PiCG. In this case, the e-Niro (which only comes in the highest Niro 4 trim level at £34,495) is £4,940 more than the petrol hybrid version and almost £10,000 more than a Niro 2 trim hybrid at £24,885, including the £5,000 PiCG against the EV. 

Back to top

On the Kia website you are invited to ‘join the reservation list,’ so the chances of a deal are just about zero. In contrast there are deals out there for the Niro mild hybrid and for the new Ford Puma, which in fully loaded First Edition Titanium mild hybrid spec, can be had for significantly less than the £28,145 ticket price if you shop around. With PCP, that makes a big difference to the monthly payments.

The Kia handles well, rides well and has mighty acceleration for overtaking (and fun) when you want, even at higher speeds. Regenerative braking is adjustable using steering column paddles so the accelerator effectively becomes the brake as well if you crank it up. It cuts down the reaction time which I find gives better control driving cross-country, especially on the dark on unlit roads. I was surprised at how I could adapt my driving to take advantage of the EV’s characteristics and how much fun it was. 

Is the e-Niro a convincing substitute for a combustion engine equivalent over any distance? For desirability, running cost and capability the answer is a definite yes. Despite being a lifelong petrolhead, I’d take one in a heartbeat over any petrol or diesel equivalent, but not until the price is a lot closer than it is today.

READ MORE

Kona to Edinburgh: 700 miles in Hyundai's new EV for the masses

Top 10 best electric cars 2020

Analysis: Who will charge our electric vehicles?

Join the debate

Comments
61
Add a comment…
JJ BLADE 17 February 2020

Lets not confuse city smog with climate change

Yes smog does hang around densley populated areas, buses, factories, taxis and cars on short journeys, so yes an electric car in the city has a place. But the latest diesels with dpf and SCR running on motorways are not a problem. 

I know my MOT tester and sit in on the emissions test and both our diesels one a volvo D2 and a skoda EU5 TDI, ULEZ compliant post emissions defeat era, once warm, chuck out a miniscule amount of pollutants on his machine,

But smokey cities do not cause global climate change, local yes but not global.

JJ BLADE 17 February 2020

The smart meter and autonomous agenda

Once there is mass take up of  washing machine motor powered vehicles, the government needs its revenue from fuel duty replaced, when your smart meter detects a mobile fridge on charge at what rate do you think that will be? Next will be the conversion of many areas to autonomous only EVs, yet these idiots pushing for this call themselves petrol heads and think a Porsche air cooled flat six sounds like a box of excrement. What a bunch of brainwashed losers.

Never mind the the extra mining in 3rd world countries to get the battery materials, plus is carrying round 300kgs of batteries whether empty or full efficient and there's no such thing as totally renewable energy, check out the facts on the inefficiency of wind farms, many are paid to close down for long periods. Wake up.

lambo58 17 February 2020

You have only said one

You have only said one
17 February 2020
You have only said one correct thing in all your posts that is true. I am certainly not a petrol head though I was once when I was much younger
Then I grew up,
Having a family now and living in London and literally being able to see the air I breathe has drastically changed my mind.
If you have been on this site before you would know I drive an electric car myself and am a huge fan because of the huge benefits of running one as well as environmental.
You however have been so negative on every post counter to your own views it's now obvious you are some kind of rediculous troll.
If you don't believe or claim you don't believe what is happening to this planet, why dont you try the following.
Take your old racket making shitbox and put it in a enclosed garage along with your favourite dog or cat if you have one or preferably yourself and start your car
Dont bother reving your shitbox, just wait a few minutes and feel the effects.
Then come out and think what millions of these shitboxes are doing to our precious planet minute by minute every day of the year and tell me it's not affecting its eco system
I personally think your agenda for writing the nonsense you've been spouting is either extreme ignorance or more likely you are just a hideous troll who lives alone with his toy cars.
In any case grow a brain.
JJ BLADE 17 February 2020

And then a volcanoe erupts

and a century of motoring pails into insignificance. Take your cat or dog and put it in a room where they make the batteries or generate the electricity you use. I live in the country, London is an overpopulated toilet. The irony is is I only use my cars and motorcycles for long journeys a couple of times a week, I walk and cycle most of the time. There are too many people on this planet and people who use any form of vehicle for unecessary short journeys to school, work etc. You also have to look at all the fumes from boilers and industry in big cities. I also never fly anywhere.
But this climate change hysteria is a modern myth, they even have to rename it when the facts don't back up the agenda every few years, it was called global warming, then they found out temps weren't rising. The biggest influence on our climate is solar flare activity and planet flux, both of which cannot be taxed.
It annoys me they cannot even admit they pushed us all into diesels 10 years ago for a false reason, and now it is EVs, what will be their next excuse.
But don't let the arguement of being cheaper to run sway you, soon they won't be, the government generates over 20% of its income off the motorist, they will not give that up, you will end up paying alot more.
So I will contine to drive my Sunday afternoon passion, and use my diesel car with 4 people and a dog in it to get accross europe instead of flying, remember when Greta sailed to america she flew a crew out to return the yacht.
JJ BLADE 17 February 2020

The smart meter and autonomous agenda

Once there is mass take up of  washing machine motor powered vehicles, the government needs its revenue from fuel duty replaced, when your smart meter detects a mobile fridge on charge at what rate do you think that will be? Next will be the conversion of many areas to autonomous only EVs, yet these idiots pushing for this call themselves petrol heads and think a Porsche air cooled flat six sounds like a box of excrement. What a bunch of brainwashed losers.

Never mind the the extra mining in 3rd world countries to get the battery materials, plus is carrying round 300kgs of batteries whether empty or full efficient and there's no such thing as totally renewable energy, check out the facts on the inefficiency of wind farms, many are paid to close down for long periods. Wake up.