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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have an ix50 Sport (UK 2022 Spec) and I thought it might be interesting to share my thoughts on a return trip from the UK to northern Italy and back. We did 2,600 miles in all. First and foremost the IX is a fabulous car for long distance "Grand Touring" . It is extremely comfortable: much better than my previous 2016 535D (which wasn't too bad). Especially seat comfort - I found I was stopping because I was simply tired of driving and needed a break rather than from any physical discomfort. My wife (who shared the driving) and kids were very happy too - particularly with the space in the back. Overtaking is effortless. The active cruise control works really well - on the long stretches of motorway, I used it for a lot of the time and it definitely helps with fatigue. Good overall efficiency given type of driving at 2.6 mile/KWH - this may sound low but it was the worst possible kind of driving for efficiency: long motorway cruises at circa 85 mph and many mountain passes/very steep routes: I was surprised how much was lost and then gained back over these. The car is notably more efficient at 70 mph than 85 but we were time-challenged. The handling was good for a big car over the mountain passes - again better than my 535D. I tested out "terminal velocity" on the German Autobahn - 203 KM/H on the read out. This is definitely an artificial limit - the car had plenty more to give at this speed. Nobody in my family noticed the first time I did it which is testament to how refined the car is.

We went through quite a few countries:
  • Italy: fast charges near the autostrada few and far between. None actually on the autostrada - a detour is always required. Long journeys need planning as there are some large gaps but it is all possible. Plenty of AC chargers in towns and villages (in Northern Italy) but they mostly charge a high per hour fee (10 euros or more) after 2 hours so aren't suitable for overnight charging which was annoying.
  • France: limited fast chargers but at least they are on the autoroute. Again risky to go off-piste. Auchan supermarkets have free 50KW chargers which are worth looking out for but I wouldn't plan around them as we only found 1 or 2 per supermarket and they were usually in use.
  • Germany. Excellent infra. Often 3 or 4 different brands in the same service station so getting competition on price. Many undercutting Ionity significantly: I don't think their pricing is sustainable long-term. Also Aldi and Lidl have good value 50 or 75 KW chargers in towns and are ubiquitous. The route from Frankfurt to Brussels is an exception - there is a large "charger desert" here which caught us out as we had got used to chargers being at pretty much every service station and required a detour to find an Aldi. Mobile phone coverage on the motorways is really poor so you need to plan your route before you start.
  • Belgium similar to Germany. Good local AC charging infra as well.
  • Croatia: Very few very fast (100KW plus) chargers but a reasonable amount of 50KW chargers.

In the whole trip we only had to wait for a charger once even travelling on summer Saturdays. Almost without exception, we needed a break when we stopped so a 30/40 minute stop was perfect. I honestly don't think we would have saved any time in an ICE car.

So in conclusion - it is very possible (I would say easy) to do a long electric grand tour in Europe and the IX is a very nice car to do that in!
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
One other thing while I think of it - I used ABRP for planning. It was useful for figuring out roughly where we needed to stop and for the overall route. Beyond that I found it largely unusable - I really never got on with the UI and and the interaction with Android Auto needs a lot of work still. So I used Google Maps or the BMW route planner to get me between individual stops. Google was much better at estimating delays than BMW - generally BMW significantly underestimated them e.g. it thought a five minute delay at the Croatian border, Google thought 30 mins and was much closer to the truth. A couple of other things re ABRP - it generally defaulted to Ionity chargers and is actually missing a lot of other brands - Ionity was nearly always the most expensive (almost equivalent to petrol prices). Secondly, it generally overestimated the amount of KWs required, i.e. we would arrive at chargers with quite a bit more charge than it predicted. I think the default KW/mile is adjustable in ABRP but I never tried it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I got the charger invoice for the journey - so thought I would share my lessons learned!

First of all the 12 month Ionity deal seems to cover the whole of Europe: I got what I thought was the UK only deal across Ionity chargers across Europe so my comment above about them being expensive was wrong (for the first 12 months at least).
The deal in France was even better because I seem to have been charged a very reasonable amount per hour rather than per KWH.

So the Ionity deal is well worth having. Unfortunately I also spent a very significant amount at non-Ionity chargers :-( not realisng the mistake I was making.
 
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