Traffic jams, 60 minute charging delays expected for winter sports enthusiasts

People planning on driving an electric car to skiing and snowboarding destinations next week should expect long delays at charging points of about an hour on peak travel days, said KPMG. The first school holiday period of the year, Voorjaarsvakantie, starts in most of the Netherlands on February 25. In the southern region, it begins on February 18 linked to the Carnival season.

Anyone driving on the roads to the Alps this weekend and next weekend will face heavy traffic, warned the ANWB. The worst traffic jams are expected in southern Germany and just across the border in Austria, especially on the A7, A8, A9, A10, and B179. Drivers can also expect traffic delays east of Lyon in France, particularly on the A40, A43, and RN90.

Drivers will leave the Netherlands in anywhere from 8,000 to 10,000 electric vehicles, meaning they will need to take into account long lines for a spot at a charging station, especially around Frankfurt on February 25. That will be the peak day for them because the northern and central parts of the Netherlands start their holiday, while those from the south of the country will be returning home. “Our research shows that 90 percent of travelers want to depart between five and eight in the morning. This means that both traffic flows will meet around Frankfurt,” De Groen said in a statement.

“In 2020, just before the outbreak of Covid-19, we saw waiting times sometimes reaching 75 minutes per charging station,” said Stijn de Groen, who leads automotive research at KPMG. This year, lines should be about a maximum of an hour, he stated. “The fast charging network in Germany may have been expanded, but the number of Dutch people with an electric car has grown much faster.”

To avoid the problem, electric car users should try charging their vehicles before getting to Cologne, and then again around Mannheim or Würzburg if their vehicle can handle that range. That can prevent having to stop in the Frankfurt region. “There is an alternative route for travelers from the north of the Netherlands: the A45. There are also about 90 rapid chargers along that route,” KPMG said.

Regardless, all electric vehicle drivers will have to stop at least twice for a charge in each direction, even with a four-fold increase in electric vehicles with a range of over 300 kilometers on Dutch roads since 2020. Four stops is also possible depending on how cold it gets outside, with range more limited due to poorer battery performance in cold weather.

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