Sevenoaks to Begur using only electricity

Last Summer (August 15) we decided to go to Villa Begur in an all electric Tesla Model S. Six people were travelling in total and, spacious though the car is, it would not have been possible with all of us in it. We decided that Claudia would fly with our 4 year old, Jessica, and that left all the boys with the luggage in the Tesla, Pete, his mate Neil and the two lads Henry and Christian.

We loaded up the Tesla Model S, and set off. We left Kent late afternoon on Friday and had a crossing booked at around 7.00pm.

Tesla loaded

The idea was to use only Superchargers and charge at the following places, the number of miles shows the distance from the previous stop.

Calais60 miles
Senlis152 miles
Auxerre129 miles
Macon152 miles
Orange170 miles
Nimes64 miles
Narbonne87 miles

iPads loaded
iPads loaded

Thanks to Matt Boyes for this chart which gives the optimum level to charge to and speed to drive at under ideal scenarios:

Distance To DestinationLevel to Charge ToSpeed to Drive At
300 miles97%59mph
275 miles96%64mph
250 miles95%69mph
225 miles93%74mph
200 miles83%74mph
175 miles79%79mph
150 miles74%84mph
125 miles62%84mph
100 miles49%84mph
75 miles41%89mph
50 miles34%99mph



One of the things to bear in mind for long journeys in a Tesla is that going faster does not necessarily get you to your destination quicker. The car charges much quicker when empty than when nearly full, so it is best to arrive empty and charge just enough to get to the next Supercharger. Charging from 0% to 50% from empty takes just 27 minutes, which is as long as it takes to go from 85% to 100%.

Chart Courtesy of Matt Boyes

Each time we stopped we added enough electrons to take us to the next Supercharger with a small amount of buffer. The smart routing in the car is not as smart as I would have liked so I switched it off. The trip section of the energy chart, however, was very useful for telling us how much energy we would have when we got to our destination but it gave us a few false signals particularly at the start of a section.

In fact, I found the easiest way of estimating how much charge I needed was to half the miles needed to get the percentage charge and add a bit! For example, leaving Auxerre and going to Macon I  charged the car to about 80% because I needed to go 152 miles. (152/2 + a bit =80)

This allowed me to blast along at 80mph on the French motorways and adjust my speed up and down as I approached my destination. It is pretty scary at first arriving with 1 or 2 % left in the battery but we soon go used to it. I was VERY careful not to miss an exit when leaving the motorways to the charging station though!

Villa Begur!

We did  the whole journey without stopping and were very unlucky to get a violent rain storm in during the night when we should have been putting the miles in with less traffic. We arrived late Saturday afternoon. I think the journey was about 4 hours longer than it would have been in a petrol or diesel car but much more relaxing, enjoyable and considerably cheaper.


The journey home seemed much easier. We left Begur at around 10.00am on the Saturday and followed the same route. We had an excellent meal in Macon at a restaurant just by the Supercharger and recharged ourselves as well as the car. We then drove up through Paris and all the way to Senlis which we reached at around 1.00am. We stayed the night at the very reasonable and comfortable Ibis hotel by the Senlis Supercharger and were only a couple of hours from Calais when we woke up.

We're doing the same journey this year, and the only thing we will change is to leave earlier on the Friday for the journey down. I imagine we will not stop the night on the way down again, the pool awaiting at the end is too tempting to waste time sleeping! I am looking forward to using the self steering as well as the traffic aware cruise control on the French motorways, I just hope it doesn't send me to sleep!

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