August 17, 2020 - Felix Hamer is passionate about driving electric. Since 2016 he rented numerous electric vehicles and took them on roadtrips. He also turned his passion into a job and offers route planning and advice to everyone interested in roadtrips with an electric vehicle. We talked to him about the range of electric vehicles, adventurous sides of EV-roadtrips and his experience with the Mercedes-Benz EQC*.
Hi Felix, can you introduce yourself in some sentences? Who are you and what is your mission?
My name is Felix, I am from the Netherlands and I would say my mission is to show that it is possible driving every route with an electric vehicle. It just takes some planning and a slight mindset change but as a reward you will get some unforgettable roadtrips and are able to explore new places.
How did you figure out that roadtrips with electric vehicles are your thing?
About seven years ago, I participated in an organized e-rallye around Amsterdam. I got the chance to drive an electric car2go for that challenge and had lots of fun going around the city solving all those challenges. I was quite impressed how long we could go without needing to charge. Three years later, I won a ride with an electric motorbike and took it to the beach. When I stopped to charge the bike on the way home, I had kind of an eye-opening moment. If I could take a motorbike with a small battery on such a trip and just stop for some minutes to charge while grabbing a coffee – why not try going on a ‘real’ roadtrip with an electric vehicle and use the charging infrastructure to go wherever I want. That thought in mind I started renting electric cars and first went on roadtrips throughout the Netherlands. The next challenge was then to go international and I also went on trips to other European countries.
Meanwhile you only travel by electric vehicles. When did you make this decision for you?
I will always remember one night when I was participating in an e-motorbike event in Paris and about 70 participants all with their bikes drove through the city by night. We stopped at a traffic light, when the sun was just about to rise and there was complete silence. Usually when there is a group of 70 motorbikes, all you hear is the roaring sound of the engines but we could see the city waking up and hardly produced any noise. That was an incredible feeling and that day I set myself the ambition to drive everywhere fully electric from now on.
You also offer to plan trips for others or even take other people with you on your trips. How did that come?
Well, when I did more and more roadtrips and started sharing pictures and insights on Social Media, I met and was contacted by many people who were interested in the topic. Most of them wanted to know: “Is that even possible and how do you plan it”? Therefore, I started sharing my knowledge and experience and slowly turned it into a business. For the roadtrips I offer, I always rent the EVs so I get to drive different cars and also choose the car fitting to the route or the wishes of my customers.
When you start planning an EV-roadtrip, what is the first thing you do?
I go on a website called “A better routeplanner”. This is a great start to get a “draft” for your route. You can enter the type of vehicle you will use and the start and end destination, just like on Google maps. It will then propose a route and charging stations along the way. I plan where I want to stay overnight and check if there is a charging station available. It is also important to check which countries and areas you will pass – I always look at what charging will cost in the regions and which charging card I need to get.
What is one essential thing you would advise to take on an EV-roadtrip?
I would definitely recommend taking an extension cord with you. Just in case there is no charging station around, you can still charge your car at a household socket.
In February, you took the Mercedes EQC on a roadtrip to Spain. How did you like the experience?
I was quite curious about driving the EQC* and I have to say I was positively surprised. You get the real Mercedes luxury feeling which is amazing and there are some functions I liked a lot, compared to other EVs. For example, the EQC* shows how much percent of power you are using or the speed of charging – it’s these details that matter to me a lot. Furthermore, the level of automation is impressive. These assistant systems make driving the EQC* relaxed and comfortable. I like saying I felt like a ‘manager’ of the EQC* as it does a lot by itself and only needs some guidance.
What do you like most about EV-roadtrips?
It is not about the destination but about actually being on the road and exploring various places along the way. I often plan my charging stops in a way that I can use the time to explore some sights or the nature. And even if I don’t plan my stops like that, I like when I stop to charge I have some time to take a walk, grab some good coffee or meet people. I also often don’t stick to highways but take the local road. Highways often take longer routes as they avoid cities and the highway speed reduces my reach. Driving through villages not only leads me along charging stations: it has shown me some amazing places I would have never explored with a combustion engine.
Can you recommend a good route for ‘beginners’?
Yes, definitely. One of my favorite routes is Amsterdam to Budapest. It has some adventurous parts but in general, planning and finding charging stations is very easy. Another route I really like is Amsterdam to Berlin. I drove that route several times in the last years and could watch the infrastructure change drastically. By now there are several fast charging stations which make the route actually a lot of fun to drive. You can get a glimpse on how electric driving can be like in the future.
One last question: What would you tell people that say “It is not possible going on long-distance travels with an electric vehicle?”
I would tell them to contact me and to give it a try. If you have some help with planning in the beginning that is a big advantage. As soon as you made your first trip, you will see that it is not only possible but actually a lot of fun and a great way to travel.
*EQC: Stromverbrauch kombiniert: 21,3 – 20,2 kWh/100 km | CO2-Emissionen kombiniert: 0 g/km | Mercedes-Benz EQC 400 4MATIC
Who is Felix Hamer?
Felix Hamer is a blogger from the Netherlands who is passionate about doing roadtrips with electric vehicles. He offers planning and advice regarding EV-roadtrips and also takes you on a trip with him if you are interested.