A Guide to Driving Your EV in Europe

An electric vehicle (EV) owner’s guide to travelling Europe the sustainable way, listing required documents and equipment, and tips for driving on the continent.

Last updated: Apr 24, 2024 5 min read


This guide will tell you all you need to know about driving your EV in and around Europe. From what documents and accessories you should bring, to our top tips on how to have the best journey whilst exploring.

Can I drive my EV in the EU?

Planning and booking a holiday can be incredibly exciting. If you’re thinking of taking your EV to Europe instead of flying, we’ve got good news: with just a little preparation, you can drive your EV in the EU.

Whether you’re lounging on sunny beaches, hiking through scenic mountains or exploring bustling cities, travelling with your EV offers you the ability to explore Europe on your own terms. It’s a more sustainable alternative to flying, letting you create new memories while keeping your carbon footprint low.

What do I need to drive in Europe?


Bringing these documents allows you to drive in most EU countries:

  1. Driving licence

  2. Passport

  3. V5C certificate, also referred to as log book

  4. Vehicle insurance details

  5. Travel insurance details

  6. Breakdown cover information

In Albania, Azerbaijan, Turkey and Ukraine, you’re also required to carry a green card as proof of your car insurance.

You can drive your EV in most countries with a UK licence. However, you may need an international driving permit if you have a paper licence. Always check country-specific rules for driving in the EU before you start your journey.

Equipment and accessories

The following equipment and accessories are a requirement when driving your EV in most EU countries:

  1. Reflective vest or jacket (one for each passenger, stored in the car cabin)

  2. Warning triangle

  3. UK sticker (if no UK identifier with flag on number plate)

  4. Headlamp beam deflectors (if beams can not be adjusted manually)

  5. First aid kit

Does Europe use type 1 or type 2 EV charging cables?

Luckily, you won’t need to bring any adapters or special cables when driving your EV in the EU. The standard EV charging cable across Europe has a type 2 vehicle-side connector, the same used in the UK for alternating current (AC) charging.

Direct current (DC) chargers or rapid chargers have tethered cables, so you won’t need to bring your own. Most DC charging cables in the EU use a CCS connector, another commonly used connector for rapid charging in the UK.

You can learn more about different EV charging connector types and speeds in our guide.

What's EV charging coverage like in the EU?

The EU has good EV charging coverage, with more than half a million public chargers available across the continent. Some countries like the Netherlands and Germany offer many more public chargers than others. Generally, eastern European nations tend to have fewer public chargers, resulting in lower coverage.

When preparing for your trip, consider public charging availability and plan ahead by taking note of potential charging stops on your route. You can use Zapmap on web or in the app to find EV charging stations in Europe and filter your search by payment type.

Other sites helping you find public chargers are Chargemap, ChargeFinder, PlugShare and Shell Recharge. Note that you may need to pre-order a card or fob to use specific networks or download an app. It’s worth researching this in advance, so you can prepare ahead of time for a seamless charging experience.

Did Brexit change anything when travelling in the EU?

If you’re planning to stay in the EU for longer than 90 days in any 180-day period, you’ll need to apply for a visa. For stays shorter than that, you won’t need a visa, but make sure your passport is valid for 6 months or more on the day you start your travels.

You’re also able to drive in most EU countries without proof of insurance. However, there are a few exceptions that require you to carry a green card that proves you have car insurance abroad.

It’s worth checking foreign travel advice before planning your next trip to ensure you meet entry requirements.

Tips for driving your EV in the EU

1. Check your insurance

Check your current insurance policy to see if your EV is covered when driving in the EU. If not, it’s something you can usually add on when you renew a policy. Alternatively, you can purchase one-off cover to insure your EV while driving on the continent.

If you have one or more drivers, check that the insurance policy you have covers all drivers before swapping places at the steering wheel.

2. Get breakdown cover

Similarly to insurance, if you have breakdown cover, it may already include assistance when driving your EV in the EU. If that’s not the case, we recommend buying EU breakdown cover, so you can get roadside assistance or be towed home.

3. Take note of public chargers

Find an EV map that is reliable and shows public chargers in the countries you’ll be driving in. In addition, make sure to check if you’ll need to pre-order a fob or key card to use most public chargers on route, or have to register with public charging providers to use their devices.

Doing this in advance will save you time and make public charging easier.

4. Set your speedometer to the right settings

Speeds and distances are displayed in kilometres instead of miles across the EU. The speedometer on your EV should be able to switch between the two, so be sure to set it to kilometres per hour (km/h) when driving in the EU so you can safely drive within the limit.