Monday, January 25, 2016

From The Netherlands to the Alps, via Germany

Old destination, new route, via Germany this time. 

The density of Superchargers on the way and the absence of speed limits on the German highways make the trip fast and easy !

The approach is to travel fast and do more frequent, but much quicker stops.
1200 km ahead of us. We left Leiden at 6:20.
A couple of hours and 200 km later, we have a first quick stop at the Tesla Supercharger in Moers perfect for breakfast  at the Van der Valk hotel. In the meantime also the Tesla gets nicely fed, 20' are enough.
We met another Tesla owner, who was going back home in England, after a trip to Bergen, in Norway, over 4000 km and no worries...

200km more and we have a second stop at the Tesla Supercharger in Waldlaubersheim
It's a bit of a dull place, there is a Mc Donald around the corner, where we make a short stop for a coffee and we set off. Also here less than half an hour is enough.

Less than two hours, and we stop for lunch at the Tesla Supercharger in Achern

There is a very nice restaurant with plenty of entertainments for kids. They are having so much fun that the Tesla is full well before we are ready to leave ! 

180 km later, fourth, very fast, stop at the Tesla Supercharger at the Mövenpick Hotel in Egerkingen, in Switzerland, a cozy location in the middle of the mountains.

Going downhill we're also generating energy :-) 

Fifth and last stop 220 km later, at the Tesla Supercharger in Archamps, next to Geneva. 

Also here, just the time for a wee-stop and off we go for our final destination, the Alps of Savoie !
We do not really need this stop to recharge, as there is enough autonomy to get to destination, but it is just to make sure we have enough juice to climb up the mountains. 

We arrived at 21:00 at the Alps chalet, so overall it took a little less than 15 hours, of which about 3 to recharge (and relax). 

We are not tired at all, it has been a relaxing and pleasant trip ! 

A good charge overnight and.....

...we' re ready to hit the slopes !

We have been traveling across Europe with the Tesla since two years now. It is unbelievable how easy it is now, how the infrastructure has evolved. 
I am truly amazed, I will never EVER go back to a endothermic car !!!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

From Holland to Tuscany, one year later

One year later we hit again the road from Holland to Italy. 

Here are the links to our previous trip: 

In one year the Tesla Superchargers situation has greatly evolved ! 
No more stops for hours at semi-fast charging stations, but just the time for lunch or an ice cream, and off we go, powered by only supercharged electrons !

Here is the route:

Day 1.
We leave Leiden at 7 am.
First stop at the Tesla Supercharger in Urmond. Having driven only 200km, we don't have to stop for long, 25 minutes are about enough. But hey, we need breakfast ;-)
The parking is part of the Van der Valk hotel. We had breakfast, one of the most complete and delicious I have ever had, but it doesn't come cheap: 14.5 € per adult, 7.5 € per child !

45 minutes later, the battery nicely full, we head toward the Tesla Supercharger of Metz, 260 km away. 
The temporary installations have been upgraded to flashy new facilities !
This supercharger is in a commercial center, very convenient, there is a huge Leclerc supermarket, a fair restaurant and many other shops. 
It feels good also seeing that we are not alone anymore, there are always other Model S from all over Europe: french, dutch, norwegian, danish, belgian, german...  

After a good lunch, and again fully charged, we leave for the Supercharger in Nuit St. George, in Burgundy, 300 km away. 
The installation is still temporary, but there are two now.
The hotel, open 24/7, is not equipped for babies or children, nor there are facilities to hang around, beside the hall of the hotel, or, of course, the restaurant.

Last charge of the day in Chambery, after 270 km, to be sure to have enough juice to climb the mountain road without worries and... to have dinner ;-)
Also this Supercharger is still temporary.
Even-though we would need only 20 minutes of charge, we have a lovely dinner at the sushi restaurant, ready for the last leg to the mountain chalet, to spend the night.

We arrive at 22:30. 
Overall a great journey so far, we could have made it faster, but during our stops we took our time, to enjoy nice food, warm weather and stunning views.

Day 2.
It is time to aim for the Italian peninsula. 
We decide to cross the Alps through the "Passo del Piccolo San Bernardo". A very enjoyable mountain route, with breathtaking views, lots of fun to drive too :-)
Here is a snapshot of the road:

And here at the summit of the pass: 2188 m. Gorgeous !

And here the descent ...... generating energy :-)
Even though we do not need to stop in Aosta, as it was only 130 km and the battery still 50% full, we decide to pay a visit to the Autoporto Supercharger, an amazing installation of 12 charging points, powered by solar panels:

Just the time to have a walk around and, charged with solar energy, we set off for our next stop.

There is actually a very good surprise for us: we were planning to stop in Dorno, which would have required us a small d-tour of about 40km, but the Melegnano Supercharger, right on our way to Tuscany, appeared on the Tesla web site just two days before leaving for holiday ! Thanks Tesla for the good timing ;-)
The 200 km from Aosta to Melegnano are running flat and straight in the Pianura Padana, so we do not really need to economize in power.
To be noted the totally empty parking, and the thermic car parked in one of the Tesla reserved spot..... no comment.
It is a bit a desolated place, but there is a very good grill restaurant, where we had a juicy lunch. 
They are also well equipped for babies and kids. 
We took our time, even too much, as the Tesla was well full, ready to hit the road again.

A little more than 160 km and we get a speedy charge in Modena. Again, a quite desolated place, you wonder what a Supercharger is doing there, but at the end it is close to the highway and a hotel with a bar, where a good ice cream is waiting for us (but no facilities for babies!).
I also see the first 85D with an Italian plate.

This is it, the last 200 km and we get to destination, in Siena, in the heart of the "Crete Senesi" !

So one year later, here we are again, after a great, easy trip.
But this time the 1820 km have been solely and purely powered by Superchargers!

I would have thought this impossible, just one year ago.... Thanks Tesla !!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

From Siena back to Holland

After several weeks in Tuscany, we finally head back to Holland.
As for the way in, we decide to pass via Savoie, but..... now the French Tesla Supercharger corridor is (almost!) open !!!

We leave Siena early morning.

First stop is supposed to be the Eneldrive charging pole of Forte dei Marmi

And the first surprise waits for us: the charging station is out of order ! 

I call Enel, the operator is extremely nice, but unfortunately cannot help us, as the station has tripped and the intervention of a technician is needed.

Luckily we have enough charge to make it to Genoa, where Ikea, once again, is our safest resource of electrons.

You just need to find it...... after about 20 minutes of running around (by car an on foot) the Ikea parking, we find the spot: 2 charging poles from Eneldrive.

There are 4 parking spots reserved to electric vehicles, but guess what, they are regularly occupied by thermic cars.I had to chase one guy away ....
The parking spots are covered of weeds, which does not help identifying the reserved spots, colored in green.There poles are under the panel "Noleggio furgoni" (van rental), no signs for the electric charging stations !!!! They are on the third and forth parking row, on the right, entering the parking. Don't bother asking for info in Ikea, nobody even knows that you can charge electric cars over there.... :-O

After a decent lunch and some shopping, we head to Torino, again at Ikea, where both the charging poles from Eneldrive are up and running:

A couple of hours of charge, then I take the chance to meet some old friends, so we have a lovely dinner at their place.
We get to Savoie under the pouring rain, after a fairly relaxing trip.

Next day we leave for the first quick charge at the Tesla Supercharger in Chambery

All over France, for the time being, the installations are temporary. In case of two cars connected at the same time the power is shared, but still much faster than a 22kW outlet.

In Chambery the  Supercharger is in a commercial center, very convenient spot ! 

The time of a coffee and the next stop is in Dijon, at the Tesla Supercharger of Nuit St. George.
The charging station is on a hotel parking, which is open 24/7. 
The hotel has a 3 stars restaurant, which can offer lovely meals in the heart of the Burgundy region. Unfortunately on Sunday and Monday the hotel restaurant is closed ! So no lunch for us :-(

At 200mt, next to the Ibis hotel, there is a boulangerie that makes also sandwiches, but not on Sunday :-(.

After some camping type of lunch, we head to Reims, at the restaurant Del Arte, (Rue de la Ferme Pierquin, 51450 Bétheny).

The restaurant owner is also a Tesla owner, so a fast charging plug is made public and available to us !
Next to the restaurant there is also a Mc Donald.

Last stop is in Nivelles, Bruxelles, at the Suprecharger of the Hotel Van der Valk. Too bad that there are already two Teslas charging ! So we kill the time on a 7kW plug next to the hotel entrance...,. Luckily only for few minutes, as the Superchargers come free just for us !

Finally back to Holland, happy and satisfied, to prove that now the Tesla Supercharger are a reality also in Europe !!

And it can get only better :-)

Thursday, July 17, 2014

We made it to Tuscany !

The second part of our journey, from The Netherlands to Tuscany by Tesla Model S, passing via Savoie, is successfully concluded !
The story of the first leg of the trip is here: From NL to Savoie.

The route is not that long, from Valmorel (Savoie) to Siena (Tuscany) it's about 725 km...

...but there are no Tesla Superchargers on the way. 
We have to rely on the newly installed charge points of Eneldrive.
On the net, very few, conflicting reports can be found on the points around Turin, Genoa and Pisa. So many questions are nagging me: will they be there? will they work?
The plan is to charge in Turin and Forte dei Marmi, with back up in Pisa.

So our pioneer's Italian electric tour starts from Valmorel at 8 am, direction the Frejus tunnel. 

215 km later, at 10:45 we get to the Ikea store in Collegno, in the Turin's outskirts, where two charge points are waiting for us, right in front of the entrance.
"Welcome, place the card over the screen"

A bit anxious, I pose the brand new RFID card from Eneldrive on the pole, plug into the Type 2 outlet..... 
Yes, it flawlessly works !!
We take the chance for some shopping and lunch, for a stop of about 2 hours and half.
We set off with direction Forte dei Marmi, on the Versilia coast of Tuscany, for 310 km. 

We get there at about 16:45. The charge point is right in the town center, on a one way road. There is one Eneldrive pole only, as well as one only parking spot, placed before it, so that a car with a front plug would have no problem (i.e. Zoe and Leaf).... too bad that the Model S has the plug on the rear side, and our cable does not reach the charge point !

The only choice is to park on the spot in front of the pole, that is actually reserved to the Police, with the risk of getting fined or even clamped.... 
I was so much in anguish that I didn't even take a picture :-(

This is a picture kindly provided by the pioneer of the Italian electric mobility, Roberto Petetta, and his Zoe, taken on the same spot.
And here it is the message that we pityingly left on the Tesla windscreen, hoping in the Police's mercy:
"On the parking spot reserved to charging, the cable did not reach the plug"
We spent 2 hours on the beach, we had a great time  playing in the sun and in the water, and when we got back.... full of Police all around and no tickets, nor clamps :-)

Last 180 km to go and we reach Siena at 21:00.

This was my dream since we got the Model S last year and it's now reality.... we made it to Tuscany !!!

Overall, 725 km in 13 hours, 5 of which charging (and relaxing on the beach :-)

Some info on the Eneldrive charging points and the necessary card.
The poles have two outlets, one for Type 2 (Mennekes-like) delivering 22kWh and one for Type 3a, delivering 3kW:

About the card:

This  is the Eneldrive RFID card
You can get the card from an Enel shop, unfortunately it is not possible to get it remotely. Moreover, the card shall be connected to an Italian bank account, no foreign account nor credit card is allowed.
I find this a major shortcoming for a charging network that is actually properly working and fast developing, to finally allow full electric mobility even in Italy.