EV Owners Can Still Drive Across Europe for Free, New Analysis Reveals

2023 Kia Niro EV 9 photos
Photo: Kia
2023 Kia Niro EVTexas TripEurotrip with an EV and Free ChargingEurotrip with an EV and Free Charging2023 Kia Niro EV commercial2023 Kia Niro EV commercial2023 Kia Niro EV commercial2023 Kia Niro EV commercial
Planning on having a great summer in 2023? Well, a Eurotrip might do the trick. If you like driving, then it can get even better because unexpected savings come into play. You’ll be able to rent an electric vehicle (EV) and drive it across no less than eight European countries without spending a dime on charging. Here’s how.
Everybody must attempt a Eurotrip at some point in their life. Even if it’s for only a couple of days, discovering how people live over the pond and learning more about the continent’s history is a great way to disconnect from everyday worries and experience different cultures. But the best part is that, unlike in America, driving for eight hours straight can take you through several countries. Meanwhile, so much time spent behind the wheel in the U.S. wouldn’t even be enough to leave a state like Texas. From the southern town of McAllen to Amarillo, someone would need at least 11 hours of nonstop driving, if not more.

But let’s assume you decided. It’s time for an adventure. First thing first – rent a car. Since gas prices in Europe are a lot higher than in the U.S. (around $6 per gallon), you may try to give an EV a chance. Indeed, spending time plugged in for electricity takes longer than refueling. However, you would avoid various city taxes or restrictions with a zero-tailpipe emission vehicle like the Kia Niro EV. What’s even better is that many major cities across Europe have free parking for such vehicles, but make sure you check in advance, to avoid potential fines.

Plus, this new analysis claims you can go all the way from Scotland, the UK to Istanbul, Turkey without paying for charging your vehicle.

Eurotrip with an EV and Free Charging
Photo: Vanarama
Tesla also has a Supercharger network in Europe and you may keep that in mind as a backup plan. Over there, it works with almost any EV since the V3 stalls feature the CCS connector. That's what brands like Ford or Rivian use in the U.S. as well. Tesla made the NACS available to everyone but it acted a bit too late.

A budget-friendly, guilt-free, and memorable adventure

We looked around and discovered that renting a Kia Niro EV for a month would cost approximately $1,170 with the value-added tax (VAT) included. However, don’t get too excited about it. Some companies might charge you more for leaving on an international trip. It all depends on how well you can negotiate and if the period you’ve chosen isn’t overlapping with some high-demand interval.

The route picked by Vanarama and created using PlugShare shows that you can have a blast by visiting Scotland and England in the UK, a bit of France, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria, and one of Turkey’s most popular destinations – Istanbul.

To pull this off, you will need only 12 stops! That’s right – 2,641 mi (4,250 km) can be driven with an EV, and all you’ll need will be a couple of breaks. Besides that, many hotels across Europe have a power outlet somewhere near their parking lot that more often than not is free to plug into. You could leave in the morning with a lot more energy in your battery which would only improve these calculations. At the same time, you can choose another, more capable, EV right from the get-go, but that would only add to the trip costs.

2023 Kia Niro EV commercial
Photo: Screenshot from YouTube video by KIA America
It's important to know that the route included in the analysis means the driver and their passenger leave the European Union twice – once in Serbia and another time in Turkey, where the destination is. So, you need to consider border queues. Be prepared to wait at least an hour. Having water and snacks with you might be a great idea.

Some figures to consider...

The analysis that gives us this impressive route to travel for free was done considering the Niro EV’s WLTP range of 286 mi (460 km). But rarely are these figures achieved in a real-life scenario.

That’s why along the entire route the analysis calculated parts of the trip to be no longer than 256 mi. This would theoretically leave you with around 10% battery, but you should pay attention to what the car’s computer says. EV range is impacted by changes in weather, temperature, how you drive, and the number of passengers or luggage that you may carry.

The Kia Niro EV can charge at a maximum power of 80 kW, which means each stop would take around 34 minutes at a DC stall. But if you end up at a charger with an output of 22 kW tops, then the time spent plugged in can increase considerably. The analysis took into consideration free charging in some public spaces where the Niro EV could extract electrons from the network at a rate of 11 kW.

That's mostly why it doesn't cost anything. Businesses that have these installed are betting on you spending some money on other products. Many are near supermarkets or restaurants, and you could end up taking a break by doing some shopping or eating something delicious.

Finally, this Eurotrip with an EV and no charging costs would take around 97 hours (a little over four days) – almost double what it would be needed to zap around the continent by using only DC fast chargers. Now, knowing all this, would you do it? Let us know down below.
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About the author: Florin Amariei
Florin Amariei profile photo

Car shows on TV and his father's Fiat Tempra may have been Florin's early influences, but nowadays he favors different things, like the power of an F-150 Raptor. He'll never be able to ignore the shape of a Ferrari though, especially a yellow one.
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