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We are always interested in finding out what went well for our customers and where they may have had difficulties. That’s why we always have a detailed discussion with them. Three topics have emerged that come up again and again: The choice of camp spaces, e-mobility in general and range anxiety.

Putting on the customer hat

I know that few people are as intensively involved in the topic of e-mobility as we are. For many of our guests, it is the first contact ever. We think it’s great to get involved anyway!

This makes it all the more important that we always have our “customer hat” on at every step of the way. This means that we always have to ask ourselves what customers want and need to know and how we can explain it to them in such a way that they feel well looked after and not overwhelmed.

I think we are doing quite well. Nevertheless, it happens again and again that guests tell us about obstacles that I would never have dreamed of!

As some topics come up again and again, I think it’s a good idea to address them in a monologue. So today it’s all about choosing a camp space, e-mobility in general and range anxiety.

Choice of camp space

I would rely solely on a single app when looking for a place to stay. There are curated apps for campsites, but most of these campsite apps are community-based. This means that everything that can be found there about camp spaces has been entered by other users. It is therefore possible that the information there is no longer up to date or was never correct.

I therefore recommend using such apps only as a starting point for further research. If possible, you should also try to find the location on Google Maps. Not only can you view the area on the satellite image, but the many photos and reviews will also give you a better idea of what is on offer there and where there may be difficulties.

Personally, I only go to places that I have found out enough about. Otherwise, the risk of experiencing a nasty surprise is simply too great for me.

E-mobility in general

Most of our customers have at least looked into the topic of e-mobility a little beforehand. Of course, there are still unanswered questions and some things simply only become apparent in practice.

But there are also people who pick up the camper from us, just drive off and naively assume that everything will work out somehow.

Please understand me correctly: I would very much like it to work exactly like this. Unfortunately, the reality is that a certain amount of preparation is advisable. Otherwise, you may get stressed during the first charging process.

We therefore recommend simple but very effective loading and route planning. Especially in view of the fact that an electric camper travels significantly less distance than a diesel vehicle and charging stations are still nowhere near as widespread as gas stations, it helps to relax a lot if you know where you will be charging next.

If you don’t know your vehicle very well yet and therefore don’t know what the actual range will be in the prevailing weather conditions and your own driving style, it helps to simply write down all the possible charging stations along the planned route. Then you simply “shimmy” from case to case and decide on the spur of the moment whether you are confident enough to drive one more stop or whether you would rather stop at the current stop and charge.

In any case, you always know where there are charging options. Standing in the middle of nowhere with a flat battery and no power socket is therefore very unlikely.

Range anxiety and the “Guess-O-Meter”

One astonishing piece of feedback from customers was that the remaining range display in the vehicle was not correct at all. The kilometers shrank much faster than you actually drove. And in the end, they even had to turn off the heating and cover themselves up because otherwise they were afraid they wouldn’t reach their destination.

I don’t know of a single vehicle I’ve ever driven where you could use this gauge – hence the name “Guess-O-Meter” – for more than a rough estimate. (Tesla is the notable exception.) Fortunately, the electric car has a much better – and above all much more precise! – method of determining available range.

This is done with the help of the battery capacity in percent and the knowledge of how far the vehicle can travel on a full charge. Since a battery discharges fairly linearly under the same conditions, each percentage of battery capacity corresponds to a very specific distance in kilometers. So with a little mental arithmetic, you can calculate pretty accurately at any time how many kilometers are still “in the battery”.

If you subtract a buffer at the lower end for a good feeling, you already know how far away the next charging station can be at the start of the journey.

Once you have found them, you enter them into the navigation system and can check at any time whether the remaining range calculated in your head matches the remaining distance.

We have written a separate blog post on this topic in which I explain this procedure using a practical example. If you are interested, take a look!

As this topic is still so important at the moment, we also cover it in our eBook “Electrical adventures”. You will receive this free of charge from us when you book a camper with us, or when you sign up for our newsletter. You can also buy it from Amazon for your Kindle.

Conclusion

As you can see, with a little planning, the three topics mentioned lose their terror. Yes, you could argue that this impairs the spontaneity of a road trip. However, I’ve never felt that way, as I only set the day’s destination in advance at most and only the next charging station is fixed when planning my charging.

If I spontaneously feel the need to spend the night somewhere else or take a different route, I just pull over to the side of the road and quickly change my plans. This usually takes less than ten minutes, and then you can continue in the same way.

The advantage of this method is that you always have the reassuring feeling of knowing what’s coming next. And as long as the uncertainty is more stress than “thrill”, this simple planning method is the method of choice.

Published On: 28. April 2023
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