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Through France in a Tesla Model 3

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How do you tackle a long trip in an electric car? Herman Yperman, Athlon’s Operations Director, took a trip with a Tesla Model 3. “Driving an electric car is wonderful, but some advance planning is required.” He tells us how it went.

Four days, 1700 kilometres: Athlon employee Herman Yperman and his wife visited the castles along the Loire. Their chosen method of transport was a Tesla Model 3, which recently joined the fleet of Athlon Rental Services. “I often test hybrid or electric cars for Athlon, but it was the first time I’d been on such a long trip.”

Supercharger

Herman picked up the Tesla Model 3 just before the long weekend. “As well as the car key in credit card format, our Product Manager Ludovic De Borle also gave me a charging card and some useful tips for the journey. How does the Supercharger work? When’s the best time to recharge? Ludovic knew the answer to every question. When I got home, I tested the public charging station near my home. Plug in, hold the charging card against the reader and away you go. The battery charged all night. Simple!”

“We set off early on Thursday morning,” Herman Yperman continues. “Our first destination was 475 kilometres away in Meung-sur-Loire, just past Orléans. According to the trip computer, after 280 kilometres we needed to schedule in a half-hour charging break. And the car even told us where we could recharge: the Tesla Supercharger at Senlis, just north of Paris.”

Once we reached Senlis, we found three Teslas plugged in already. Herman Yperman: “I chose one of the thirteen other Superchargers and plugged it in. While the car was charging, we refuelled too with a cup of coffee. After thirty minutes, we returned to a fully charged electric car. With a range of 494 kilometres on the clock, we continued our journey.”

Evening recharge 

“Our visit to the castle at Meung-sur-Loire was fantastic, and after a 50-minute drive we arrived at our hotel in Tours. I chose it because of the Tesla Superchargers in the car park,” Herman Yperman admits. “On Friday and Saturday, we visited castles, villages, parks and vineyards. The Tesla Model 3 really stood out: everyone cast approving glances at this novelty in diesel-crazy France. Every evening, we charged the car at one of the Superchargers in our hotel car park. There were eight of them, but most of the time our Tesla was the only car plugged in.”

“On Sunday we headed home again, stopping in Senlis for another quick recharge. We got back at 9.30 pm, with a range of 150 kilometres still left on the clock,” Herman concludes.

Electric driving: it couldn’t be easier

According to Herman Yperman, driving an electric car is a special experience. “The car is amazingly quiet at low speeds. Vehicle and road noise only take over from 80 kilometres an hour upwards, and you can’t really tell the difference between an electric engine and an internal combustion engine at that point. So you need to be careful in car parks and city centres, because soft road users can't hear you coming.”

Electric cars are becoming increasingly evident in the streetscape. They seem particularly useful for short, everyday trips, but now it turns out that a long weekend taking in quite a few kilometres is very easy too. Herman Yperman: “The Tesla Model 3 consumed 300 kWh of electricity during our trip which, according to the on-board computer, comes down to 29 euros. With my own car, I would consume about six litres of fuel per hundred kilometres, costing over 100 euros. So this trip was definitely cheaper in an electric car. Proactive drivers can save even more: engine braking also helps the battery to recharge slowly while you’re driving.”

As Herman was driving a Tesla Model 3, he could enjoy the luxury of charging using the brand's Superchargers. As a result, he wasted little time. “It takes a lot longer to charge at a public charging station, and you also need to find one that is free when you want it. When planning your trip, you therefore need to take waiting times at the charging stations into account. And choose a hotel with a charging station nearby,” he advises.

Report on the Tesla Model 3

Herman Yperman didn't just drive any old car to France. The Tesla Model 3 is a brand-new car that was manufactured by one of the pioneers in electric vehicles. What did he think of the car?

Driving experience

“Safe, sporty and comfortable: that's how you could summarise a drive in the Tesla Model 3. The seats are good, the interior is attractive. The Model 3 is rather small, however, so it’s best not to put large passengers on the rear seats.”

Finish

“The interior could serve as an example for many other brands. Examples include the centrally placed flat screen or the ventilation nozzles that are beautifully tucked away. But in terms of finish, Tesla could still learn something from the German premium brands: here and there, you can still find bits of cheap plastic in the interior and parts such as the centre console are sensitive to fingerprints.”

Technology

“Everything in the car is operated using the state-of-the-art on-board computer, except for the classic controls on the steering wheel. Unfortunately, the version I was driving had no remote control, so I had to keep taking the card that I used to unlock the car out of my wallet over and over again.”

Temperature control

“The warm temperatures played tricks on the Tesla Model 3 during our weekend. Although the skylight is tinted, we felt the radiant heat on our heads so the A/C ran overtime. Personally, I didn't find the metal doorknobs particularly handy for opening the doors. What’s more, they get very hot when the car has been in the sun for a while.”

Interested in driving an electric car?

For more information about the Tesla Model 3 and the various rental contracts, email rental-sales@athlon.com.

 

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