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An EV Road Trip in Europe – Travelling in Norway

Can you take an electric car on a road trip? Hear from Angus Wardlaw, Business Development Manager at Mer, on his European EV road trip through Norway.

ev road trip in europe

Electric vehicle (EV) road trips are becoming more and more frequent. But EVs are not only suited for staycations in the UK, but those who are keen to travel further afield. 

We caught up with Angus Wardlaw, Business Development Manager at Mer UK Public Charging, upon his return from Norway, where he spent a week travelling in an EV. 



Where did you go on holiday?

A friend of mine and I travelled round to the West coast of Norway, via Bergen and Ålesund, before looping back round to Oslo via Geiranger and Lom. 


What EV did you drive?

After a slightly panicky moment when the rental company gave away our VW ID.4, we received a very nice Volvo XC40 Recharge for the week. Extra boot space meant we saved money on hotels and slept in the car… 

An EV Road Trip in Europe – Travelling in Norway


Why did you choose an EV over another form of transport for your holiday?

Now we understand the scientific implications of carbon emissions from ICE vehicles, it is important to me to stick to my guns and drive an EV where possible. There is a higher cost implication of that decision, but I think it’s crucial that I walk the talk and do what I can. 

On top of the environmental side, I am also a big believer that long journeys are astronomically better in an EV than an internal combustion engine (ICE) car, not least because of the modern suspension, technology and comfort design, but also because of the lack of engine noise. Hours of underlying engine noise does really nurdle away and make a long journey that much more tiring.  


How did you prepare for your holiday? Did you plan your route/charge stops before you set off?

This is when we get in trouble with the travel bloggers and pedantic organisers. Until three days before, we had only planned our flights and booked our car. Last minute cramming over a takeaway pizza meant we had a light list of cities we wanted to see according to Google recommendations, but the key for us was to enjoy our holiday and go to the places we wanted based on how we felt at the time and what locals recommended. A big part of that freedom is facilitated by Norway’s charging network (premiered by Mer) which has a rapid charging opportunity in almost any town or village you go through.  

EV road trip in Europe

What, if any, concerns or questions did you have about travelling abroad and across such a long distance in your EV?

Genuinely, I had no worries apart from a slight concern about what EV the rental company might give us and the corresponding range. 

During the EV road trip

Roughly how long were you on the road for? How many miles did you cover in total?

Over the course of the seven days, we did five days with ‘proper’ driving and covered a total of 1,731 km which is 1,082 miles. We did two days where we were on the road for seven hours, but given Norway’s Midnight Sun it didn’t get dark until 11.30pm-12am each night so that was easy to do. 


How many charge stops did you make and where?

Personally, I am a big subscriber to the EV Bladder theory, which states: as long as there is sufficient charging across the route you are taking, if you are driving naturally and charge briefly when you stop to go to the loo, you will barely notice the charging process. Norway was a great example of that theory, and so we charged nine times, which in hindsight seems quite high, but 90% of those were less than 10-15 minutes long.  

ev road trip in europe

What did you do whilst your EV was charging?

Apart from the aforementioned loo break, every single one of our stops included food of some sort. Mer Norway has a partnership with Burger King, which was dangerous given my weakness for junk food. But even beyond Mer’s network, customer feedback has clearly been recognised as almost all charging spots have food and beverage opportunities alongside facilities, which is crucial. We’d quite often stretch our legs, get some fresh air, and grab some food or coffee for the rest of the drive.  


Did you encounter any problems during your road trip?

Apart from the £12 beers…our biggest problem during our trip was trying to sleep in the car on the first night. Having accidentally turned on child-lock were stuck in the ‘boot’ as the car alarm continuously turned on and off due to our existence. After finally escaping using some cirque du soleil contortionist’s moves, my friend realised the central console had reverted to its original Norwegian settings. After an age, translating all the options into English we turned on Sentry mode and got 45 minutes of sleep before the sun rose 

EV road trip in Europe

What was your impression of the charging infrastructure in Norway?

The charging infrastructure is widespread and powerful.

Post-holiday reflections

How would you describe your experience of travelling in Norway in your EV?

Our travel experience was absolutely brilliant. Completely exhausting physically and financially, but alongside New Zealand, Norway has the best natural landscape in the world. 

ev road trip in europe

Was their anything you wish you had known before you set off on your holiday?

We probably should have researched what roaming cards would have been valuable to save ourselves time and stress. I also wish we’d gone kayaking in a Fjord.  


Would you recommend travelling in Norway in an EV? Why/why not?

Absolutely. In the EV capital of the world, it’s almost insulting not to. Trust me, the driving experience over long distances is so much better (even with factoring in charging).  


What advice would you give someone planning a holiday abroad in their EV?

Roaming cards are important if contactless isn’t a priority in that country. Similarly, we could have done a little more to search for AC charging overnight, which would have been cheaper. Unfortunately, parking charges and overnight stays information can be quite hard to find out.  


Anything else you would like our audience to know about your experience?

Norway shows us that EVs are just nicer to drive when the desired transport system is set up. We didn’t have to go out of our way to charge; we didn’t have to queue, and we were more revitalised after a long drive than we’ve ever been in a ICE car. And napkin maths showed us that even though we paid more for the EV rental, we saved more on the mileage, making the final different minimal.  

An EV Road Trip in Europe – Travelling in Norway

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