driving at 110 km/h instead of 130 km/h on the highway, here’s the impact

In an electric car, habits must sometimes change compared to a thermal vehicle. Among the exercises most learned by some drivers, we find the long journeys. Reducing your speed can help you get to your destination faster in some cases, as well as doing something for the planet. Let’s see what it’s like in a Paris-Marseille, driving at 110 km/h instead of 130 km/h

If electric cars bring in everyday life few constraints in relation to their thermal counterparts, it is clear that on long trips that exceed the autonomy of the car used, it can 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 now, in an electric car than in a thermal one.

In this dossier, we will focus on the Paris-Marseille route, forcing even the most durable vehicles to recharge multiple times. With 800 kilometers made up mostly of highways, we will try to determine if there is an interest in reducing your cruising speed to get there as quickly as possible or driving at limit speeds is the best strategy.

Of course, we will analyze the impact of this speed reduction on an ecological level, as the maximum speed reduction on the motorway is planned for the next few years in France. For your information, many European countries limit speed to 120 km/h on the motorway. In the Netherlands, it is still limited to 100 km/h from 6 am to 7 pm.

Instead of 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 speed. Indeed, as the air resistance evolves as a function of the square of the speed, it is easy to see that there is a certain point beyond which it becomes counterproductive to drive faster, since it will be necessary to recharge more frequently due to higher consumption.

So let’s try to see if there is interest in traveling slower on the road with different electric cars, each with different fast charging characteristics and theoretical autonomy. The speed limit is 130 km/h in France, we will use the trip planner A better route planner with this top speed at the start, so let’s lower it to 110 km/h.

Undoubtedly, some fast-charging champions will have no problem completing the 800 kilometers that separate Paris from Marseille at a cruising speed of 130 km/h, but we will see that there are exceptions where driving slower allows you to reach your destination faster. In addition, it may be necessary to reduce speed to reach two fast charging stations that are very far away, a situation that unfortunately still exists in national territory depending on the car used.

In order to put the different vehicles on an equal footing, We left with 100% charge and arrived 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 see how these electric cars behave at 130 km/h and then at 110 km/h over 800 km.

Tesla Model 3 unit

The Tesla Model 3 Propulsion is equipped with a 60 kWh battery and offers a WLTP cycle range of 510 kilometers. The Tesla Supercharger network naturally allows you to cross France with complete peace of mind, even if that means stopping for between 15 and 30 minutes every two or three hours, depending on the route.

In our Paris-Marseilles, at 130 km/h 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.

Tesla Model 3 Wall Connector
A Tesla Model 3 charging into the Tesla Wall Connector // Source: Tesla

When slowing down at 110 km/h, just three charging stops are needed for a total of 53 minutes. The associated cost is then 45 euros, or 11 euros of savings.

The total travel time remains significantly in favor of those who want to drive within 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 the maximum speed of 110 km/h.

We then find the typical behavior of a vehicle that knows how to recharge very quickly and has controlled consumption, even at 130 km/h. Nonetheless, in terms of consumption, 14% of electricity is saved by reducing the speed to 110 km/hwhich is not despicable.

Tesla Model Y Long Range

With its range in the WLTP cycle of 565 kilometers, the Tesla Model Y Grande Autonomie is a benchmark electric SUV. In fact, with a maximum charging power of 250 kW on the Tesla Superchargers, he can undoubtedly take advantage of the fast charger network to reach his destination very easily.

Driving at speed limits on the motorway, it takes three freight stops with 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 needed.

Tesla Model Y Wall Connector
A Tesla Model Y charging into the Tesla Wall Connector // Source: Tesla

The total travel time, however, remains in favor of those driving at 130 km/h, as it takes just 7 hours and 51 minutes to reach Marseille, against 8 hours and 26 minutes at 110 km/h. In terms of costs associated with fast charging, the trip at 130 km/h costs 58 euros, against 45 euros at 110 km/h.

It will then be necessary to reflect according to what is privileged: An additional 35 minutes of travel saves 13 euros and 21 kWh, i.e. 12% of the total trip consumption.

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 could look for in an electric vehicle to cut the road.

The 800 kilometers that separate Paris from Marseille take just 7 hours and 17 minutes to travel at 130 km/h.. Two charging stops are required, with a total duration of 33 minutes. In terms of costs, in our simulation using Ionity and Totalenergies terminals, it costs around 65 euros (this can be reduced even if it means subscribing to Ionity Passport in particular).

Mercedes EQS 20220228111308
Mercedes EQS 450+

Reducing its speed to 110 km/h will not drastically change the situation in terms of charging time or number of stops, as it is always necessary to recharge twice, for a duration of 32 minutes. The associated cost is then around 50 euros, that is, 15 euros less than at 130 km/h.

However, the total travel time will be increased to 8 hours and 6 minutes, or almost 50 minutes longer than at 130 km/h. Finally, the energy savings achieved by reducing 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 electric vehicle market today, offering a WLTP range of 440 kilometers in its version equipped with a 70 kWh battery. However, your limited charging power will be a limiting factor during very long journeys, during which it may be appropriate to relax.

Thus, for the 800 kilometers of our reference route, four charging stops are required while driving at 130 km/h. The total time spent charging comes to 2 hours and 19 minutes, with a cost of around 120 euros. Total travel time is then 9 hours and 25 minutes.

test-mg-zs-ev-29

When driving at 110 km/h, there will only be advantages : reduced cost, total travel time and fewer stops. In fact, only three stops are needed to recharge, at a cost of 90 euros and duration of 1 hour and 39 minutes. The total travel 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, as the total consumption in this Paris-Marseille at 130 km/h is 212 kWh, against 178 kWh at 110 km/h (16% energy saved).

summary table

Car Mercedes EQS 450+ Tesla Model 3 unit Tesla Model Y Long Range MG ZS EV 70kWh
Travel time at 130 km/h 7:17 am 8:06 am 7:51 am 9:25 am
Travel time at 110 km/h 8:06 am 8h 42min 8 hours 26 minutes 9:20 am
Travel cost at 130 km/h 65 € 56 € 58 € 120 €
Travel cost 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

Conclusion

As we’ve seen, vehicles that take advantage of fast charging will do well to drive within the speed limits if they want to get there as quickly as possible. The fact that you have to recharge a little more will be offset by the reduction in time spent driving, but you will have to accept paying more to cover the same number of kilometers in most cases.

Exceptions are found on the side of vehicles that charge less quickly, like the MG ZS EV we’ve selected here. In cases like this, everything will be in favor of reducing cruising speed. Of course, consumption is lower, which positively impacts the cost of the long journey. This can be a strong argument in favor of reducing speed, as fast fare prices tend to skyrocket. Fortunately, the daily cost of an electric vehicle remains unbeatable, especially when 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 benefit of limiting the costs and carbon footprint of your long journeys and sacrificing just 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 instead of 130 km/h. And that became the choice of reason?

Of course, this same exercise must be tested in practice in order to compare theoretical values ​​with reality. The app A better route planner it is however very good at 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, reminders need to be taken into account, as driving a car to 130 km/h requires more energy than accelerating to 110 km/h.

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