I’ve always loved travelling across the continent in a car. There’s something exciting about hopping on the train or the ferry in a vehicle which is so familiar, yet arriving somewhere which has a whole new feel to it compared with home.
And usually, when you arrive in France, it means you’re off on a bit of an adventure. Just prior to Christmas, that’s exactly what I was up to, but in an electric car.
Now those long-distance jaunts across the continent normally include some large stretches of highway driving, which tends to be the secret nemesis of the battery-powered car. EVs don’t like travelling at high speeds for longer durations as their motors under greater stress, which is why you’ll often see the range slide away in impressive fashion when you’re driving at motorway speeds. That’s why, when a trip to Antwerp in my new Genesis GV60 long-termer was proposed, I was a little nervous, to say the least.
Thankfully, an overnight stay at a hotel near Folkestone – with an on-site charger there to use – meant I started the trip with a usefully full battery, albeit one showing a range of just over 220 miles, which was somewhat off the claimed total range of 289 miles from this dual-motor Sport Plus variant. Still, the spirit of adventure remaining strong, I got to the Channel Tunnel, aboard the train and into France without any real issue.
While most of us imagine a romantic idea of winding through tiny ribbons of tarmac along some flower-strewn village, the reality – when it comes to getting to Belgium, at least – is that it requires a fair bit of highway driving, as I mentioned earlier. The distance between Calais and Antwerp is 126 miles, but nearly all of this is on the highway and I was wondering how much this would eat into the GV60’s range.
But I needn’t have worried, in truth. The GV60 carried along at a decent lick with very little bother and a clever automatic heating system – which maintains a temperature without putting too much battery charge-reducing stress on the system – meant I didn’t have to sit there in the chill in order to preserve range.
The one thing I did notice relates to the regenerative braking. This, instead of using the conventional brakes, effectively reverses the direction of the electric motor when you’re slowing down, turning that energy which would otherwise be lost into a little extra juice for the batteries. In the GV60, you can go through three stages of regen; first is a little braking performance, the second is a tiny bit more and the third almost acts as a replacement for the ‘proper’ brakes and can bring you close to a complete stop.
The only issue that comes with this relates to the brake lights. You see, when you lift off the accelerator, the rear brake lights illuminate if you’ve got any type of regenerative braking in place. While that might not be an issue around town, it’s downright annoying on the motorway. I only noticed this when another member of the trip was driving alongside me – also in a Genesis EV – and wondered why they were tapping on and off the brakes repeatedly. They weren’t, they just had the regenerative braking on. I tend to drive without this setting ‘on’ when on the motorway anyway, but I hadn’t realised how sensitive it was. It’s something I’ll make sure is switched off at higher speeds from now on, as it could potentially cause an accident.
But brake light drama aside, the GV60 nailed the journey straight to Antwerp on one charge. Parked up and on charge once again at the hotel in the centre of the city, I had a dawdle around the Christmas markets while the Genesis topped up overnight. Having these destination chargers is a complete game-changer in the EV racket; coming back to your car the following morning having had it completely charged makes such a difference.
Having a full ‘tank’ meant that straying off the direct route back to the tunnel and checking out the ‘must-stop’ location of Bruges didn’t cause me a moment’s worry about charging and there were even some handy 7kW ‘fast’ chargers at the car park we used. It seemed a shame not to plug in and top up again so with a flash of the card we were trickling away to make up the energy we’d lost between Antwerp and Bruges.
Sufficiently full of Belgian food, it was time to sweep back towards Calais. By the time I reached the tunnel, the GV60 wasn’t looking like it would get me all the way back home to Chichester, so I managed to hook up to a rapid charger located right by the FlexiPlus terminal which boosted the car’s range to more than enough to travel back homewards.
Getting on to the UK’s motorway always feels like a disappointment to me. Over in France and Belgium, the roads are smooth and well looked after, whereas the first few stretches of Kent motorway have an almost lunar-like quality to them. Still, the GV60’s ride is good enough to shake off the worst of the potholes and, with an incredible 483bhp available through the twin motors of this Genesis – more on that in the next report – I managed to get back with plenty of charge and in good time, too.
It was my first big drive in the Genesis and it was one I needn’t have worried about – I’ll definitely be keen to get back across whenever I can in the GV60.
- Model: Genesis GV60 Sport+
- Price: £67,505
- Powertrain: Dual electric motors with 77.4kWh battery
- Power: 483bhp (in Boost mode)
- Torque: 700Nm
- 0-60mph: 3.8 seconds
- Top speed: 146mph
- Emissions: 0g/km
- Range: 289 miles
- Max charging rate: 350kW