Taking advantage of a visit to visit family in Prague, Czech Republic, Kevin was keen to dismantle this misconception that it is not possible to travel far in an electric vehicle. A project that turned into a tourist roadtrip carried out between July 18 and August 4, 2023.
First a Dacia Spring at 6,800 euros
The MG4 is not Kevin’s first electric car. He was previously driving a Dacia Spring: “ In December 2021, the city car replaced a Renault Clio 2 on which there were beginning to be significant maintenance and repair costs to be expected. To succeed him, I went looking for a second-hand car, still with a petrol engine, around 8,000 or 9,000 euros. ».
The 30-year-old finally became an electromobilist when he discovered the purchase aid he could claim: “ In addition to the government bonus then at 7,000 euros, I benefited from the conversion bonus of 2,500 euros and a boost of 5,000 euros from the Bouches-du-Rhône department. In the end, I only paid 6,800 euros to have this Dacia Spring ».
A change of course that he carried deep inside him: “ I already had a certain awareness of ecology, thinking that I would one day move on to more virtuous mobility. I was well informed about the impact of building an electric car, much less polluting than many think. With all these aids I was eligible for, I thought it was time to test the VE ».
Video test – MG4 Luxury: electric at the right price
Without personal means of recharging
Living in an apartment in Aubagne, Kevin had no personal means of recharging an electric car: ” I overcame this difficulty when the terminals were not so numerous near my home. I had to anticipate. I was able to connect to my job, two to three times a week for half a day, at a power of 3.7 kW. The rest of the time, I was teleworking ».
This situation suited him at first: With longer and longer journeys at weekends, this was no longer sufficient. Fortunately, the Norauto store in my town was quickly equipped with terminals. I happened to wait in the car for the progress of the recharge while watching videos on Youtube from my smartphone ».
The lack of DC charging had become a problem for our reader: ” When you want to embark on relatively long journeys, the 6.7 kW on-board charger is not enough. I really liked this Dacia Spring. It’s a good little electric car. But it was no longer suited to my needs. After 14 months, I had to resolve to part with it ».
Upgrade to MG4
In his initial project to change to an electric car, Kevin wanted to take a French model: “ I had the idea of finding a second-hand Renault Zoé with DC 50 kW charging. It’s very hard to find in the end and I had to give up. I then turned to the Peugeot e-208. There, the prices are too high, probably because the Stellantis group really has too high a margin. ».
Our reader hopes to be able to afford a French model for his third electric car. In the meantime, he has chosen the MG4: “ With a fairly equivalent level of equipment, it costs 10,000 to 12,000 euros less than the Peugeot e-208. It also offers much better power and charging curve. For me, it’s much more important than having ranges of 600 or 700 km ».
The level of help he received when buying the Dacia served as a springboard for him to switch to the Chinese electric compact: “ The bonus was 6,000 euros for the MG4. Hence a price of 27,000 euros with optional blue paint. No more conversion bonus, and departmental aid has been removed. But I was able to resell my Spring for 14,000 euros at a dealership. My new car was to be delivered to me last July. She finally arrived earlier, in February ».
something to prove
A software engineer, Kevin is a very good ambassador for the electric car: “ I managed to convert several colleagues. Counting the old ones, in my team of five, there are now four of us riding in EVs. Two each bought a Volkswagen e-Up!, and the last fell for a Tesla Model 3 ».
If there is a false truth that he cannot stand concerning electric cars, it is that which consists in making people believe that it is not possible to travel far with: ” This is in particular why I wanted to reach Prague with the MG4. We wanted to meet my partner’s nephew of a few months. The last time we went to visit Johanna’s brother was three or four years ago. We left by plane, which I’m trying to avoid today ».
Our reader had also considered traveling this year by train: “ This is best for the environment. However, the SNCF site is really too complicated to use, especially to go abroad. He found us eight stopovers between Aubagne and Prague, and it was really too expensive. By leaving by car, we could also visit Switzerland and Germany ».
The MG4 has eaten up quite a few motorways: ” Initially, I had rather thought of taking the departmental roads. But we didn’t really want to extend the driving time. We wanted to go from stage to stage separated by four hours of driving, or even five at the most, like starting from Prague to reach Munich. In Germany and Switzerland, the secondary network provided us more than anywhere else with a good alternative to the motorway ».
Johanna and Kevin are planning to buy a house: ” This is why we have decided to favor camping, sometimes on the farm. It is an experience that we do not necessarily think of repeating because we sleep little and not very well in these conditions, in particular because of the noise of other holidaymakers. “. The MG4’s V2L was exploited to power a hob and the computer.
The weather was not always favorable to the bivouac: ” Already we had a lot of rain, and often quite heavy. For our last day in Switzerland, we were in a meadow, when we suffered a storm with a lot of wind. I tried to counter it with the car, but nothing to do. The tent was so rowdy that we had to decamp around one or two in the morning. Impossible to sleep in the car because of the tiles that light up every time you touch something like the pedals or the screen ».
3 400 km
During the outward journey, Johanna and Kevin stopped over to sleep in Palinges (71), Guyonvelle (52) and Colmar (68) before moving on to Germany. In this country, they found where to land at Schluchsee, Titisee, Feldberg, and Rothenburg ob der Tauber. From there, they reached Prague: We ended up only staying there for 5 days. ».
On the way back, again crossing the border with Germany: stage in Munich. It was then in Switzerland that they pitched the tent. More precisely in Steinen, Gruyères, then Nyon where the storm surprised them. Before returning to Aubagne, they made another stop, in Annecy (74). In total, the MG4 swallowed 3,400 kilometers, also tasting a little on the roads of Austria.
« For all our refills, we have kept it as simple as possible. On the highway, we were driving at 110-115 km/h. We alternated driving the car. As soon as the battery level was close to 30%, the co-pilot consulted Chargemap to find the terminals on the next 2 or 3 areas. Without leaving the highway, we headed for the cheapest stations with a minimum power of 100 kW ».
Kevin had prepared really well for the recharge: ” The foreigner, for us, was really the unknown at this level. This is why we also made sure to arrive at the station with a margin of 20-25% in the battery. Once in front of the terminal, I used Chargeprice to find out which badge to use in order to pay the least. I have 7 in total, including Shell Recharge, Eborn, ChargePoint and the Plugsurfing received with the Dacia Spring ».
Our reader is delighted not to have encountered any major difficulties in 16 refills on the highway: “ Just a five minute wait at an Ionity station just four terminals away in Austria. And also the rain which complicated the operation in the Czech Republic. It’s still not great that the chargers are not sheltered. Especially when you arrive in front of a terminal where the instructions are not translated at least into English, the prices are displayed in Czech crowns, you have no mobile network and the first badge used is not recognized ».
He noticed : ” In Germany, charging is expensive, around 0.9 to 1 euro per kilowatt hour, including for 22 kW AC terminals. Switzerland is very well equipped, with fairly similar pricing. But beware of the use of your smartphone in this country which is not part of the EU: you risk paying very dearly for the out-of-package “. Especially when using an internet planner.
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The electric compact of our interviewee has not yet received the latest system update: “ In general, I leave the driving aids on as default, except during our trip because of the hold between the lines which keeps beeping and sometimes gives the wheel a little jerky. It surprises every time and it’s not very pleasant ».
While being perfectible, the adaptive cruise control is better appreciated: “ I left it permanently during the trip. It works pretty well, but it tends to always slow down or speed up. Which is not very disturbing. When you want to overtake, it would be nice if the acceleration were more straightforward. “. Regarding the central screen: Overall, it works pretty well. But it gets slow with the heat »
Kevin really appreciates the comfort of the MG4: “ We have never experienced this. Johanna drives a Renault Twingo 2. She is also considering going electric. The seats offer good support in the MG4. The passenger compartment is spacious, even in the back where people measuring 1.90 m can fit very well. The large dashboard served us well for picnicking inside when it was raining ». .
Has the arrival of the MG4 changed day-to-day charging? ” I always take advantage of the 3.7 kW terminal at my work. In half a day of recharging, I recover 30% of the battery, minus the 8% that I consume for the round trip with my home. Most of the time, I manage to get by just fine. If need be, I can take the highway home ».
A choice that may appear surprising: It’s not always very calm in Aubagne. A car was set on fire near a bollard which burned with it. In La Ciotat, all the chargers are broken. They are never fixed. I have never seen this in the Var on the Eborn network ».
Our reader takes every opportunity to top up the lithium-ion pack: “ When we go to the beach, in Hyères, the car is plugged in for four hours. I move it if the recharge is finished before. If I visit my parents or friends in the Var, I don’t hesitate to connect my MG4 to the Eborn network either. ».
Automobile Propre and I would like to thank Kevin very much for his testimony and his sympathy.