My first time: long journeys in an electric car

My 1st time long distance in an electric car
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N , of course, I didn't drive an electric car for the first time in 2019. I used the Car2Go E-Smarts excessively for several years, but only ever in the city center and rarely more than ten kilometers. But even on short distances like this, I sometimes had a bad feeling depending on the charge level of the battery and depending on the weather conditions. Will I arrive even if I let the air conditioning or heating run at full capacity? How much electricity does the radio actually draw? Is there a free charging station at my destination? Fear of range is what concerns electric car beginners in particular.

And now we should, as part of the i-Mobility drive a 100-kilometer route with the Ampera-e? My co-driver Madeleina Schwantes and I immediately agreed: Of the two route options - 127 or 150 kilometers - we will choose the shorter one. Better safe than sorry. After all, we are driving a fully electric car without an emergency tank. ' A range of around 400 kilometers is easily possible with the Opel “, a colleague from auto motor und sport gives me on the way. Still.

What if we lay down?

We really don't feel like standing on the road with empty batteries in eight degrees and rain. Then what would be? Can you even tow an electric car? So, with rope and such? Is there any idle at all? The Opel Ampera-e gives us the answer in the parking lot before the start. When we adjust everything for ourselves and try to start the car and park it again, it is still rolling. Oops, I didn't pull the electronic parking brake. The operating instructions also state that the selector lever can be moved to the N position while driving. In an emergency, the Ampera-e could be towed normally. The ADAC, the i-Mobility-Rally accompanied - and even starting with five teams - would be prepared for all eventualities.

Achim Hartmann
One of seven Special stages: estimate beforehand how low the tennis ball has to hang in order to have a distance of 10 cm from the roof of the car when driving through. We were just 3 cm off with 7 cm.

We'll take the long route

After the first 60 kilometers, we drive into Weitenburg Castle for a lunch break. From the initial 360 kilometers, the Ampera-e now shows a good 300 kilometers range. We go to the race management. First, we threw all range fears overboard along the way. Second, the rally in general and driving the Opel in particular are so much fun that we want to clarify whether we can drive the long route. We may. And we can.

Country roads, country roads, forest paths

And how! The regulations emphasize that the i-Mobility Rally, as a “regularity and reliability test”, is expressly not “aimed at achieving top speeds”. We always move in compliance with the StVo. But it's harder than I expected. 360 Newton meters lie from a standing start, the Ampera-e develops 204 hp. On beautifully curved streets with excellent asphalt, the accelerator has to hold back a lot. I keep glancing at the digital speedometer to keep to the speed limits. Because without the engine noise you quickly lose the feeling for the speed. And there is little else to be heard. Head wind? We didn't notice anything until the start number sticker on the top of the windshield came off a bit and made a row until the next stop. The rolling noise of the tires is also not worth mentioning. Very pleasant for the inmates across the country.

Achim Hartmann
In order to adhere to the speed limit on country roads on such small streets, the Opel Ampera-e already calls for iron discipline. The cornering is great fun and is so quiet that you need to regularly check the speedometer.

Passers-by are often behind Hearing on the go

When driving through town, double caution is required here. Many passers-by walk across the street 'by ear'. Especially when the weather is not bike-friendly, some do not think it necessary to turn their heads before crossing the street. And with the Opel Ampera-e we are no louder than a bicycle - regardless of whether we drive 20, 30 or 50 km /h. Pleasant for the residents, nice for the occupants, extremely hard to get used to for all road users.

One-pedal operation

The engine braking torque of the Ampera also takes getting used to. e, if the selector lever is not in 'D' but in 'L'. In the operating instructions, 'L' is described as 'low gear with high recovery'. In practice this means: The 'one-legged operation' that is common for automatic drivers is even reduced by the brake to 'one-pedal operation'. For the first few kilometers, I hit the brakes as usual. But since the engine is already busy recovering energy as soon as I take my foot off the accelerator and the normal braking power comes on top, I have to apologize to my co-drivers when approaching the next two roundabouts: 'Oops!'

Comfortable back seats in the Opel Ampera-e

For the passenger and junior social media manager Madeleina Schwantes this is not worth mentioning; while reading the road book, scanning street signs, taking notes - you don't feel sick even on winding roads. But how is it with the third party? Vanessa Hahn, who, like Madeleina, looks after the social media channels of auto motor und sport, sits on the back seat, documents and films for Instagram and Facebook and posts diligently. 'I got a bit dizzy sometimes.' She suspects that this is due to the lack of engine noise, which the body acoustically signals when it is accelerating or slowing down. “The delay just feels different when you are driving an electric car. The body can adjust even less to what will happen nexthappens. ”But she didn't feel sick either. She appreciatively praises the comfort and space in the rear of the Ampera-e.

Comfort and suitability for everyday use

In terms of comfort, the fully electric Opel is also way ahead for me . The driver's seat and everything that goes with it can be adjusted to my height of 1.58 meters in no time at all. Even after more than 150 kilometers, the edge of the seat does not pinch the back of the knees. You might be laughing now, but that's actually an issue with my height. Even more so in cars with manual transmissions, as uncomfortable back pain can arise after just 30 kilometers. But that's a different topic, because the Opel Ampera-e has no clutch and stands out in terms of seating comfort: Very comfortable at the front, plenty of space at the rear and plenty of cargo space in the trunk.

How about it a couple on the Rottenburg market square asks me, with such a sleek car that is probably not suitable for retirees, is it? Oh but. It couldn't be more convenient. I open the driver's door, leave the seat cushion and get back in - all without having to travel any significant height centimeters. The two are impressed.

'And aren't you afraid of getting stuck in the car?' I haven't understood the fear for 50 kilometers and can convey that to the couple in a credible way. In fact, for the first time I can imagine driving a fully electric car like the Ampera-e as the first and only car. A range of 400 kilometers would be enough for me for two weeks. Especially since it should be able to refuel a 150 kilometer range within 30 minutes at a fast charging station. At a 4.6 kW charging station it would still be 12 kilometers, at a household socket 6 kilometers.

Prices in comparison

How much that Dare to cost, the two of them want to know, until we roll silently across the marketplace. Opel currently specifies around 43,000 euros as the base price for the Ampera-e in the configurator. After all, it starts rolling with a battery capacity of 60 kilowatt hours (kWh). Compared to competitors such as the Nissan Leaf (from 36,800 euros; 40 kWh; approx. 270 to 385 km range), the VW e-Golf (from around 36,000 euros; 36 kWh; approx. 300 km range) and the Hyundai Ioniq ( from around 25,000 euros; 28 kWh; approx. 63 to 280 km range) it is relatively neat.

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