In an electric car, habits must sometimes change compared to a thermal vehicle. Among the exercises most apprehended by some drivers, we find long journeys. Reducing your speed could help you get to your destination faster in some cases, in addition to doing something for the planet. Let’s see what it looks like on a Paris-Marseille, to drive at 110 km/h instead of 130 km/h
If electric cars bring few constraints on a daily basis compared to their thermal counterparts, it is clear that during long trips exceeding the autonomy of the car used, it may be different. Between the availability of charging stations, the duration of the stop to fill the battery, and the possible detours to be able to connect to a fast charger, crossing France is less simple, for the moment, by electric car than by thermal.
We will in this dossier focus on the Paris-Marseille route, forcing even the most durable vehicles to recharge several times. With 800 kilometers mostly made up of motorways, we are going to try to determine if there is an interest in reducing your cruising speed to arrive as quickly as possible, or if driving at the limit speeds is ultimately the best strategy.
We will of course analyze the impact of this reduction in speed at the ecological level, since it is planned to reduce the maximum speed on the motorway in the years to come in France. For your information, many European countries limit the speed to 120 km/h on the motorway. In the Netherlands, it is even limited to 100 km/h from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Rather 110 km/h or 130 km/h on the highway?
Many factors influence the consumption of an electric car, but the most important is undoubtedly the speed. Indeed, the air resistance evolving according to the square of the speed, it is easy to understand that there is a certain point from which it becomes counter-productive to drive faster, given that it will be necessary to recharge more frequently due to higher consumption.
We are then going to try to check if there is any interest in traveling more slowly on the highway with different electric cars, each of which has different fast charging and theoretical range characteristics. The speed limit being 130 km/h in France, we will use the trip planner A Better Route Planner with this maximum speed at first, then we will lower it to 110 km/h.
No doubt some quick charge champions will have no trouble completing the 800 kilometers that separate Paris from Marseille at 130 km/h cruising speed, but we will see that there are exceptions in which driving more slowly makes it possible to arrive at your destination more quickly. In addition, it may be necessary to lower your speed to reach two fast charging stations that are too far away, a situation which unfortunately still exists on national territory depending on the car used.
In order to put the different vehicles on an equal footing, we leave at 100% charge, and arrive with 10% battery remaining. The four vehicles we have chosen for this exercise are the Tesla Model 3 Propulsion, the Tesla Model Y Grande Autonomie, the Mercedes EQS 450+ and the MG ZS EV equipped with the 70 kWh battery. Without further ado, let’s check how these electric cars manage at 130 km/h and then 110 km/h over 800 kilometres.
Tesla Model 3 Drive
The Tesla Model 3 Propulsion is equipped with a 60 kWh battery, and offers a range in the WLTP cycle of 510 kilometers. The network of Tesla Superchargers naturally makes it possible to cross France in complete peace of mind, even if it means stopping between 15 and 30 minutes every two to three hours depending on the route.
On our Paris-Marseille, at 130 km/h the Tesla Model 3 Propulsion must recharge four times, for a total of 58 minutes. The cost of charging is around 56 euros at the current rate of 52 euro cents per kWh on Tesla Superchargers.
By decreasing the speed at 110 km/h, it only takes three charging stops for a total of 53 minutes. The associated cost is then 45 euros, or 11 euros in savings.
The total journey time remains significantly in favor of those who want to drive at the speed limits, since at 130 km/h it takes 8 hours and 6 minutes to reach Marseille, against 8 hours and 42 minutes at 110 km/h speed maximum.
We then find the typical behavior of a vehicle which knows how to recharge fairly quickly, and which has controlled consumption, even at 130 km/h. Nevertheless, in terms of consumption, 14% electricity is saved by reducing the speed to 110 km/hwhich is not negligible.
Tesla Model Y Long Range
With its autonomy in the WLTP cycle of 565 kilometres, the Tesla Model Y Grande Autonomie is a benchmark electric SUV. Indeed, with a maximum charging power of 250 kW on Tesla Superchargers, it can undoubtedly take advantage of the network of fast chargers to arrive at your destination very easily.
Driving at speed limits on the motorway, it takes three load stops for a total duration of 54 minutes to reach Marseille from Paris. By lowering the speed limit to 110 km/h, the number of recharges does not change, but the total time is drastically reduced : only 34 minutes will be necessary.
The total journey time, however, remains in favor of those who drive at 130 km/h, since it only takes 7 hours and 51 minutes to reach Marseille, compared to 8 hours and 26 minutes when driving at 110 km/h. In terms of costs associated with fast charging, the trip at 130 km/h costs 58 euros, compared to 45 euros at 110 km/h.
It will then be necessary to reflect according to what is privileged: 35 minutes of additional travel saves 13 euros and 21 kWh, i.e. 12% of the total consumption of the trip.
Mercedes EQS 450+
In an exercise of long journeys, it is difficult to compete with the Mercedes EQS as it impresses. With its very large battery, its controlled consumption and its impressive fast charging power, it combines everything you can look for in an electric vehicle to cut the road.
The 800 kilometers that separate Paris from Marseille only require 7 hours and 17 minutes to be covered while driving at 130 km/h. Two charging stops are required, for a total duration of 33 minutes. In terms of costs, on our simulation using the Ionity and Totalenergies terminals, it takes around 65 euros (this can be reduced even if it means taking out an Ionity Passport subscription in particular).
Reducing its speed to 110 km / h will not drastically change the situation in terms of charging time or the number of stops, since it is always necessary to recharge twice, for a duration of 32 minutes. The associated cost is then around 50 euros, ie 15 euros less than at 130 km/h.
However, the total travel time will then be increased to 8 hours and 6 minutes, or almost 50 minutes more than at 130 km/h. Finally, the energy savings achieved by lowering the cruising speed to 110 km/h are around 10%or about 19 kWh for this trip.
MG ZS EV
The MG ZS EV undoubtedly represents one of the best price/performance ratios on the current electric vehicle market, offering a WLTP range of 440 kilometers in its version equipped with the 70 kWh battery. However, its limited charging power will be a limiting factor during very long journeys, during which it may be appropriate to ease off.
Thus, on the 800 kilometers of our reference route, four recharging stops are necessary while driving at 130 km/h. The total time spent charging reaches 2 hours and 19 minutes, at a cost of around 120 euros. The total journey time is then 9 hours and 25 minutes.
By driving at 110 km/h instead, there will only be advantages : reduced cost, total travel time and fewer stops. Indeed, only three stops are necessary to recharge, at a cost of 90 euros and a duration of 1 hour 39 minutes. The total journey time is then 9 hours and 20 minutes, ie 5 minutes less than at 130 km/h.
Finally, the energy savings are far from negligible for the MG ZS EV, since the total consumption on this Paris-Marseille at 130 km/h is 212 kWh, against 178 kWh at 110 km/h (16% energy saved).
|Car||Mercedes EQS 450+||Tesla Model 3 Drive||Tesla Model Y Long Range||MG ZS EV 70kWh|
|Travel time at 130 km/h||7:17 a.m.||8 h 06 min||7 h 51 min||9 hrs 25 mins|
|Travel time at 110 km/h||8 h 06 min||8 hrs 42 mins||8 hrs 26 mins||9:20 a.m.|
|Cost of travel at 130 km/h||65 €||56 €||58 €||120 €|
|Cost of travel at 110 km/h||50 €||45 €||45 €||90 €|
|Consumption at 130 km/h||177 kWh||149 kWh||176 kWh||212 kWh|
|Consumption at 110 km/h||158 kWh||128 kWh||155 kWh||178 kWh|
As we’ve seen, vehicles that take advantage of fast charging will do well to drive at speed limits if they want to get there as quickly as possible. The fact of having to recharge a little more will be compensated by the reduced time spent driving, but you will have to accept paying more to cover the same number of kilometers in most cases.
Exceptions are to be found on the side of vehicles that charge less quickly, like the MG ZS EV that we have selected here. In cases like this, everything will be in favor of reducing cruising speed. Of course, consumption is lower, which has a positive impact on the cost of the long journey. This can be a strong argument in favor of reducing the speed, as the prices of fast charges tend to soar. Fortunately, the daily cost of an electric vehicle remains unbeatable, especially compared to an equivalent thermal vehicle.
Finally, in a context of energy sobriety, where reducing energy expenditure makes sense, reducing cruising speed is very relevant. This has the double advantage of limiting the costs as well as the carbon footprint of its long journeys, and only sacrifices a few tens of minutes over 800 kilometers. On average, of the four vehicles in this file, 13% of the energy expended can be saved by driving at 110 km/h rather than 130 km/h. And if it became the choice of reason?
On thermal cars, the energy saving is more around 20 or even 25%. This is partly explained by the efficiency of their motor, which is much worse than that of electric motors.
Of course, this same exercise should be tested in practice, in order to compare the theoretical figures with reality. The app A Better Route Planner is however quite good in its predictions. But in practice, certain work zones and traffic jams can lower the average speed, and thus reduce the difference between 100 km/h and 130 km/h. However, you have to take into account the reminders, since bringing a car to 130 km/h requires more energy than accelerating to 110 km/h.