This was the first time riding electric for a full day with a friend on his ICE bike. I wanted to know if it was even possible. I took the Energica because of it slightly higher range. However, spoiler alert, it was the fast charger that made all the difference.
Below are two images showing the route and some numbers on how long it took us to cover this distance. I used the Yamaha my ride app to record this. You have to register but other than that it’s free to use. It creates a route on the map as you ride that you can easily expert afterwards.
And it shows details like how long you were riding versus how long it was recording. That number shows a time difference of 4 hours! Not that we were charging for 4 hours… Or well we did but we didn’t have to… I’ll get back to that while talking about the route and charge stops.
The second image is an overview of all the chargers we used. The first one on top is where we met that day and I (tried) to be there a bit early so I could charge up already and get going with a full battery. Being a good friend as I am, trying not to let these charges get between our friendship…
Lesson learned #1 : be on time so you can charge up while waiting for your ICE friends.
Not sure how it happened but I was late. Luckily my friend was also late, even more than I was. He had some trouble inflating his tyres. This first charger was on a carpool parking and by the time we were both ready to go, charging had gone over 80% already.
Charge Stop #1 : Battery was depleted to 20% because I used the highway and it would take 30 min to charge up to 80%.
The next stop was Durbuy a small but well known place so I figured there must be chargers around there. I still hear my friend ask me if I was sure about that. Anyway we left Leuven and over an hour of riding later arrived at Durbuy. But then it turned out there were no chargers around. So we continued for another 25km to the next fast charger I could find on the map.
Lesson learned #2 : plan ahead or at least navigate between chargers .
It was my friend who suggested to check for chargers in Durbuy first. I refused and this was the result, we lost some time in Durbuy just looking at my chargemap for the closest charger. This could’ve been precious charging time if only I had used the app before we left. Anyway the next charger was at a total gas station. Well within range since I was only using half the battery anyway.
Charge stop #2 : battery depleted to around 50% and needed 20min charge to 80% again.
Below is a picture showing how long my bike was charging at each stop. For this stop it was lunch time and we let the bike “charge” for just over 1 hour. Way too long and doesn’t help with the cost either since some will also charge for time and not only for consumption. Just don’t pay too much attention to the charge times on that overview. I did leave the bike on way too long on each stop.
Lesson learned #3 : unplug at 80-90% SOC cause beyond that charge speed drops.
That charge speed drops significantly around 90% when the bike goes in balance mode. So on the road there is really no need to go above. You’ll just pay more for the charge and lose more time charging at lower speeds.
Next we navigated to a charger around 85km away so a bit soon but we figured that could be the last one before reaching our initial meeting point. this time we used a charger at a Kia car dealership. We still had to pay for the charge but at least we could reach it while the shop was closed.
Charge stop #3 : still 70% battery left and really only 9 min needed to reach 80% again
In general we found 3 types of DC fast charger locations. These at dealers (that sell electric cars), those at gas stations (mostly near highways) and the ones at Lidl (a grocery store). The latter are even free to use but only during opening hours and we were riding on a Sunday so we couldn’t use them at all.
Lesson learned #4 : don’t ride on Sundays when shops are closed and with that some chargers
This one at the Kia dealership was the first one I had some trouble with. In the end it was all my own mistake because I didn’t realise the nfc chip was behind the display. And by the time I did the bike was timed out so I had to start over again.
Again charging took way longer than really needed because we were talking. This was with a colleague that I hadn’t seen for a year due to covid-19 restrictions. From there it was a 2 hour ride to our original meeting point. There I used the same charger again.
Charge stop #4 : battery at 60% around 20min charge needed
Again I let it charging a bit too long. In total I payed just over 20 EUR for all the charges. In part because I didn’t disconnect soon enough. Plus this last charge wasn’t even needed to get home. I had 60% left at that charger and it took me 50% to get home that day. So I could’ve just skipped the last one and charge way cheaper at home.
Lesson learned #5 : DC charging is more expensive
But to be honest a quick stop after 2 hours riding from the previous charger was very welcome. When I was finished two other EVs turned up so I moved my bike and let them charge. This was the first time that day someone else wanted to charge.
In the end we had fun, never worried about range nor were we bothered by charge times.