AA Ireland’s Blake Boland and Paddy Comyn have driven from Mizen Head in Cork to Malin Head in Donegal, the two extremities of Ireland, without stopping to charge.
The famous route is regularly undertaken by keen cyclists and runners, with people frequently taking on the task to raise money for charity. Cyclists typically do the route over a few days.
AA Ireland believes driving the route in an electric vehicle without stopping to charge has never been achieved - or was achievable until now - made possible by advances in battery technology and completed in this case in the Mercedes-Benz EQS 450+, which is the German brand’s flagship electric vehicle.
The Mercedes-Benz EQS has a 120kWh battery, 107.8kWh of which is usable. As well as having a large battery, the EQS is also very aerodynamic. It has a drag coefficient of 0.20, which makes it the most aerodynamic production car ever made apart from the hastily scrapped General Motors EV1 a few decades ago. The WLTP rated range of the EQS goes up to 784km. However, the ‘real world range’ is about 600 km.
“Mizen Head to Malin Head is a drive of 602km as indicated by Google Maps, and without stops takes about eight hours and 20 minutes. The idea of driving it in a fully electric car without charging en route seemed like an unachievable task a couple of years ago. The task was made even more difficult by the conditions in mid-January. With temperatures ranging from five to 10 degrees Celsius and heavy rain all day, the car would be stretched to its limit. Winds were strong, predicted to be approximately 30 to 40km/h for most of the day. Being mostly a crosswind, it would not help efficiency,” said AA Ireland’s Blake Boland.
"Using its 107.8kWh usable battery, the car would need to achieve an efficiency figure of 17.6kWh per 100km to give enough range for the Mizen-Malin journey, as well as a buffer of another 20km to get us to and from the driver’s accommodation at each end of the journey.
“A journey of this length would cost as little as €13.50 for somebody charging at home on a night rate of 12.6c per kWh*. However, it could also cost as much as €73.50 using ESB High Power public chargers,” adds Boland.
After more than nine hours of driving (swapping over every two hours ), the car managed the journey with just two per cent battery remaining with the drivers managing a combined average of 16.8kWh per 100km. The car would have had around 15km left in the battery before coming to a stop.
“Electric vehicle technology is getting better, battery technology is improving too, so we decided to see if we could complete this particularly Irish challenge on one full battery. Unfortunately the charging network at both ends of the country are poor, so we had to take some extreme measures to give ourselves the best chance, using three-pin plug chargers to trickle charge out of B&B windows, said AA Ireland’s Head of Communications, Paddy Comyn.
“We are really missing a trick by not adding more chargers to tourist traps such as Mizen and Malin.”