Eco-tourists hit the road

The motorcar was designed to take people from the town into the countryside.  In recent years the car had a tough time with running costs spiralling and emissions scandals hitting the headlines, bringing climate change and air pollution to the forefront of many minds.

The car has become tool, a machine for getting from A to B in the most efficient and timely manner, utilising navigation software to help find the most direct route.  The idea of a leisurely drive seems almost alien or inaccessible due to petrol costs or congested roads.

Is the idea of a Roadtrip dead or only suitable for the wide roads of North America and their cheap fuel?

Jess Shanahan and her KIA Soul EV nick-named LoKi

Two Eco-tourists, Motoring Journalist Jess and Web Designer Ben, a happy couple of 11 years don’t believe so and have embarked on a 2500mile long journey.

Their 20 day long trip allows them take in the sights and sounds of Great Britain and Ireland whilst piloting an all-electric KIA Soul EV, on a journey named ‘Route 57’.

Petrol-head Jess would normally be seen behind the wheel of her racy Fiat 500 Abarth, but has taken to driving an electric car with ease.

I regularly hear off driving challenges taking place in an EV, where the driver is aiming to cover a long distance in record-breaking time. In contrast this Roadtrip doesn’t seem particularly challenging at all – and that is the point!

The couple have set out to prove owning and driving an electric car isn’t challenging and neither is charging. In fact a charge break could a opportunity to visit places you have never been before and seek out an independent eaterie, farm shop or cafe.

Motorways maybe the most efficient way of getting to your destination, but are very dull. Route 57 uses mainly B roads to take you through interesting towns and villages where you are encouraged to explore.

Brecon Breacons national Park – the BMW i3 is used by a Park Ranger. Photo Credit Route

You got Soul (EV)

I caught up with the Jess and Ben at their overnight stop in Milton Keynes to learn more about the project.

The plan was for Jess and Ben to share the driving, however briefly before the start, Ben was badly injured in a snow boarding accident breaking his arm and fracturing a vertebrae and is currently sporting a rather snug body brace.

In light of his current condition Ben is appreciating the smooth comfortable ride of KIA which suits the relaxed nature of the journey.  The car, provided by leasing company, Drive Electric was the couple’s second choice.  Initially they picked an Volkswagen e-Golf before switching to the Kia Soul EV for its funky looks and superior range with Jess commenting she “enjoyed driving a car that stood out from the crowd”.

They described themselves as “myth-busters” as this is the first time they have driven an electric car.  They are showing perfectly how an electric car is suitable for many drivers and how using one could be an ideal way to explore some hidden gems where you live in an environmentally friendly way.

The Norfolk based couple have stopped off at many interesting locations so far, adding some to a bucket-list of places they wish to return to and explore further, with Brighton at the top.

Follow the adventure on twitter at


Read our review of the KIA Soul EV here.


The Founder of driveEV. A driving and new technology fan enjoying learning all about the future of motoring. I drive a BMW i3.