Family holiday in the North of France is (Free) miles better in an electric car
My love for electric cars grows daily, but never more so than when I’m budgeting for a family holiday.
With three kids, it’s always a challenge to give them an experience they’ll all enjoy while sticking to a realistic budget. But the days of calculating how many hundreds of pounds I’d need to feed our old diesel its dinosaur juice, are long gone - and I’ve never been happier!
We decided on this occasion to take our wonderfully reliable Kia Soul EV on a family holiday with some friends to Normandy in the North of France - and what fun we had!
After some careful research, we managed to get a great deal costing around £650 for a family of five for the half-term week, going on Brittany Ferries from Poole to Cherbourg and staying at La Vallee in Houlgate, which was 153km away.
We usually power our Kia Soul EV at home via solar panels on our roof or cheap overnight electricity, and on average she does about 160 km on a full charge. By the time we got to the ferry terminal in Poole, we’d already used up 15km, so we were going to need to get a charge on the way.
In many areas of France, it’s customary in holiday and caravan lets for visitors to bring their own duvet covers and pillow cases. While we were on the ferry, we realised we had completely forgotten to bring them! There was only one thing for it – a quick Google showed there was Ikea en-route to Houlgate… not only could we pick up some linens, it had a FREE rapid charger for EVs: Result!
The serendipitously placed Ikea was 127km away from Cherbourg in Caen – see here. This meant we could get a good battery charge in before a short run to the campsite, leaving us with quite a bit of extra mileage if we wanted to venture out later.
Once at the holiday park we plugged our granny cable (with an adaptor) into the caravan to top up while we were on site – it didn’t need much because of our charge at Ikea.
La Vallee campsite was good – with lots of activities that the kids could get involved with. We were there ‘out of season’ even though it was the half term holiday so the swimming pool didn’t have any lifeguards which meant I was a bit more on edge to keep an eye on all our kids – I much prefer going to pools with lifeguards just as a second pair of eyes so that was annoying but it had a couple of slides and an indoor pool which the kids loved – for the price we paid – it was clean, quiet and relaxing – which was much needed! We sent ‘the boyz’ out in the morning to get croissants as the ones on site weren’t quite as nice as the ones in the local town but overall it was a nice place to stay.
During our week’s stay, we were amazed to see how many chargers were around while we were exploring the area– even in the smallest of villages – even though we never needed to use them. For those wanting to visit the Calvados area in an EV who might need to charge in the local villages, you’ll need the "MobiSDEC" charging card – which I’d really recommend sorting out before you go – see info here. They work out about €0.2 per minute so happily it won’t break your holiday budget if you do need to charge.
On our journey back, we got a rapid-charge at the Nissan garage in Saint-Lo – again for FREE – and again whilst we did some last-minute shopping before getting on the ferry at the nearby Auchan supermarché.
The whole time we were on holiday, we didn’t pay for a single charge – unlike our poor pals who had to top up with diseasel for their dinosaur juice guzzler. Naturally, we spent the money we saved on icecream :D . . . there’s nothing quite like the smug feeling of driving around for FREE in a vehicle that is so much better for the planet!
In the meantime, drink electrons, drive safe and thanks for reading :D