Looking back at the Route 57 electric road trip

Written by Jess Shanahan

Future of Mobility expert writing on electric cars, entrepreneurship, and freelance life.

April 5, 2017

A year ago today I embarked on a trip that would change my life. It wasn’t some great pilgrimage, nor did it skyrocket me to fame but it was a fun trip that helped me to develop, not only as a person but also as a journalist.

Route 57 is the UK and Ireland’s answer to Route 66. It’s a series of smaller road trips that snake all through England and Wales, into Scotland then across into Northern Ireland and down to Ireland. I drove all of it in an electric car.


That car was the Kia Soul EV and it holds a special place in my heart despite initial range anxieties – which can be expected as petrol-car driver switching to electric. It was the perfect car for the trip because it was comfortable, roomy and easy to drive. Not only that but it was relatively comfortable for my road trip companion/photographer/PA/boyfriend who was suffering with a fractured vertebrae and broken arm.

southamptonI’ve written about the trip in detail so I’m not going to go into it here but below are some links that will give you an insight into the route, the car and the person behind the wheel.

Read more about the Route 57 road trip here and watch the video

Watch the outtakes here – I have the dexterity of a giraffe…

During the three-week trip I met more mayors than I’d met in my entire life thus far. I do have a favourite, in case you were wondering. As it turns out, mayors are the best people to ask when it comes to restaurant recommendations. Remember that, it could save you from a mediocre meal in the future.


As a journalist I realised I’d found my calling and any doubts I’d had about pushing myself into the road trip niche were dispelled. Since the trip I’ve landed some big writing gigs on this very subject. Read about my top five road trips, and my top 10 road trip cars. A niche is a good thing from a business point of view but this particular niche also means I get to drive fun cars around beautiful places.

swindon_mayorIn terms of personal development, this trip built my driving confidence more than anything I could’ve done. When I first learned to drive 10 years ago, I was a nervous driver and I hated it. Over the years that confidence grew but Route 57 was what I needed to round everything off. (I’ve actually written about how to be a more confident driver here).

I handled every single situation that trip threw at me, including telling off a mayor for saying it was OK to reverse up a one-way road in rush hour.

I also tackled Swindon’s Magic Roundabout and drove in surprise mountain snow.

It was also the start of a love affair with all things technological within the world of motoring. Since the trip I’ve written about the development of smart cities for Jaguar’s InMotion website, electric hypercars for Energy Digital and game-changing automotive tech for Drivetribe.

On top of all this, I got to see some of the most beautiful places in the UK and Ireland and while I didn’t get to spend enough time in any of them, it served as a taster for places I need to visit in the future.

It was a pleasure to work with Jurys Inn to promote its Route 57 road trip and the support we received from Drive Electric, Zap Map and all the locals who came out to meet us was amazing.

Anyone fancy a road trip?


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