Lands' End to John O'Groats in an electric van (1 year on)

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#EV, #Finances
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Last year, we investigated whether you could travel from Lands’ End to John O’Groats in an electric vehicle and considered how much the trip would cost with the inclusion of electric charging and a potential overnight stay. We concluded that although it was possible to complete the journey in an electric vehicle, it would take almost 22 hours and cost around £350!

Now that we’re a year on, it’s necessary to reinvestigate this trip as several key factors have changed. Over the last 12 months, new EV models have been developed to encourage drivers to make the switch to electric. These have far longer driving ranges than ever before, so they are more equipped to handle this lengthy journey. EV chargers are also more frequent and accessible which will likely impact how long it would now take to travel from Lands’ End to John O’Groats.

The route to John O’Groats

In our initial study into this journey, we used the Citroën ë-Relay as our example vehicle which had a driving range of just 139 miles. However, in this test, we will be using the Toyota Proace Electric as it boasts a substantial driving range of around 205 miles and can be charged to 80% in as little as 32 minutes.

Previously, it was necessary to stop and charge the electric vehicle 8 times to make the 837-mile trip. 12 months later, however, an electric vehicle only needs to make 6 stops, saving drivers time on the road! We specifically chose the charging points below as they all offer rapid charging and will keep drivers on the most direct route possible.

  • Starting in Lands’ End (TR19 7AA) with a full charge, you would travel the 154 miles to the Premier Inn Taunton (TA3 5LU) which is just off the M5.
  • The next accessible charging point is Frankley Services M5 (North) (B32 4AR) which is 119 miles away. Here you could buy a coffee from Costa or treat yourself to a Krispy Kreme doughnut.
  • From this service station, you would travel the 116 miles to the Holiday Inn Express Preston -South (PR5 8AA) where you can take advantage of the free Wi-Fi whilst your vehicle recharges.
  • The halfway point for this journey is Gretna Green (DG16 5HG) which is 103 miles away from the previous stopping point and the perfect place to have a spontaneous wedding!
  • From there, you’ll travel the 119 miles to your next charging point, the Crown Inn Wynd (PH3 1AA). This is a great spot to stretch your legs and take in the picturesque Scottish scenery.
  • The penultimate stop to recharge your vehicle is 122 miles away from the Crown Inn Wynd at the Tesco Extra Inverness Inshes (IV2 3TW). This gives you to opportunity to grab a tasty meal deal in preparation for the final leg of your journey.
  • After this, there are only 120 miles left until you reach John O’Groats (KW1 4YR) where you can have a well-deserved rest!

Although there are 6 stops on this route, it would take 18 hours which is only 2 hours longer than a diesel vehicle, a great improvement from our previous test! This includes 35 minutes at each stop to recharge and assumes there will be no traffic and no waits for the chargers. However, if there was an average wait time of 20 minutes for a charger the journey would be impacted significantly, with an extra 2 hours being added on! This highlights how important it is that EV chargers are readily available and working but drivers can check this in advance using Zap-Map.

It's also essential to note that UK law stipulates that drivers can only drive for 9 hours in a day, so an overnight stay would be necessary, adding to the time and cost of this trip. We’d recommend the Days Inn Hotel in Gretna Green as it’s situated at the mid-way point of this journey and only costs around £60 a night.

The cost of EV Charging

We’ve predicted that you would need to make 6 stops to recharge your vehicle during the trip from Lands’ End to John O’Groats. It now costs around £19 to charge an EV vehicle at a rapid charger on the motorway, however, this does depend on the location, tariff, charging speed and battery capacity. Overall, the estimated maximum cost for charging would be £114, which is more expensive than last year but is still less than the cost of a full tank of fuel.  

The previous costs for this trip were:


Electric
Diesel
Difference
Fuel
£80
£150
-£70
Accommodation
£119
£70
+£49
Sustenance
£150
£100
+£50
Total
£349
£320
+£29


The updated costs for this trip in 2023 are:


Electric
Diesel
Difference
Fuel
£114
£200
-£86
Accommodation
£60
£60
£0
Sustenance
£125
£100
+£25
Total
£299
£360
-£61


This example trip has therefore proven that it’s now cheaper to complete this journey in an electric vehicle than a diesel vehicle which is great news for businesses on a budget. The driving range of electric vehicles has also improved over the last year, so they’re more than capable of handling long-distance trips like this.

However, EV technology still needs improvement as the need for regular recharging causes delays in journeys and increases downtime for drivers. We’re optimistic that by next year, further progression will have been made to make electric vehicles a more viable option for fleets.   

To help make EV technology more accessible, we are looking to introduce EV fuel cards to our network. Register your interest today if you want to learn more about this new product.

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David James
Sales Director

David has worked in the fuel card industry since 2008. His financial insights have been featured in various publications, such as The Sun, the Daily Express and The Yorkshire Times where he provides money-saving tips for motorists. David is passionate about charity work and regularly raises money through running events, including the London Marathon and the Leeds Abbey Dash.