A charge card for Portugal

For our Sumer holidays this year we were torn between going to south Italy or to attempt to get to Portugal. So of course I started to investigate getting an access card for the Spanish and Portuguese charging network. Spain was relatively easy. Just get the IBIL & Easy Charger apps, and make an account. I few days later I received an RFID card and that was that.

Portugal was not quite so simple. First download the Mobi.e app and create an account. That was easy, and gives access to the AC charging network. But what about DC charging ? Well, there you need to have a contract with a CEME. Now the website of Mobi.e does have a list of CEME, but finding one that has a website, and of those, the ones that have the website in English isn’t so easy. Google translate can help a lot, but often important information is in areas that Google can’t translate such as images or dropdown boxes in scripts.

I ended up on the website of Prio, and with Googles help managed to find what I need and an application form, which of course was in Portuguese. I managed to get it filled in but discovered I needed to print it, and include a Portuguese tax number, which of course I don’t have. I sent it in by post anyway and used Google to write a letter saying I didn’t live in Portugal and was visiting just for a couple of weeks. The response was that I still needed a tax number and my German one would be ok. So filled out the form again, sent it in and it was rejected as the tax number was incorrect. After a lot of emails, with Google translate the very patient staff of Prio helped me get what they actually needed and hay presto, the account was opened, and all I needed to do was log in and change my password.

Except I couldn’t log in, it didn’t work

More emails. more back and forth and the guy changed the password and send me the replacement, and with that I could log in, and reset the password again.

Next step was to apply for a charge card. Opening a account does not apply for a card!. Well, I found out how to do that and waited, and waited. Nothing. A couple of days ago I thought I must have done something wrong, or the card had been lost in the post, so yesterday I applied for another card. Today, the original turned up. it just needs to be activated, and the PIN number chaged at a Portuguese charge point.

So yeh, I can now I can charge in Portugal. Unfortunately not. Due to illness I am currently off work, and my health insurance has told me I am not allowed to take a holiday, even though it would do me a world of good.

Prio Chargecard arrives.
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Future EV ?

Although my Ioniq is only 18 months or so old, I have been thinking for some time about what comes next. Originally I was thinking a Tesla Model 3 or maybe a Kona. However, a car I have been following for a while looks extremely interesting, and that’s the Byton M-Byte. I don’t know the pricing yet, nor have I seen one in the flesh, or should that be in the steel, so that will be a deciding factor of course. Another contender might be the Polestar 2, but I suspect that will be too expensive for me.

When can we expect to see the Byton on sale. Well, I don’t know that either, but Byton has said end 2019. I am assuming that will be China or the USA, with the EU more 2020. A 2020/2021 delivery time would fit in to my expected car change timetable quite nicely. However, of course, by then the Tesla Model Y will, *might*, be out and even perhaps a VW EV, or maybe not. One thing is certain the options available in a year or two will be more than now, with better range and hopefully lower prices. Delivery times are for me not as important. I had originally planned to keep the Ioniq for up to 6 years, so if I need to wait a year for delivery, it just means I order a bit earlier.

So what will I be looking for in a new EV? First and foremost, a fast charging speed, then the range. I would rather charge for 20 minutes every 2-3 hours than charge for 90 minutes every 6 hours. I tend to take a break every 2 hours when driving anyway as there comes a point when range is hours per bladder. Equipment level is naturally important, as are OTA software updates. So a built in wifi/LTE will be needed too. I love my regen paddles on the Ioniq and use them constantly. A large infotainment center is essential along with a good sound system. Full autonomy isn’t something I am looking for, but I can see it being of use as I get older, and my reaction times get longer. I can’t see me putting my car into a car sharing pool.

I guess time will tell what will happen when it comes time to upgrade. I am not in any hurry, the market is changing so fate that what id fantasy today will be the norm tomorrow. Who knows what we will see on sale in 2 or 3 years time. What “secret projects” are out there that will surprise us?

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2019 the first few months

Due to illness I haven’t updated the blog for a while, or for that matter driven very much. So what’s been going on with the Ioniq ?

In January we drove to Pisa for a week. We left very early int he morning and reached Pisa y early evening. The trip was a bit of an adventure with a terrible snow storm, in fact the next day the Brenner pass was blocked due to the amount of snow. We also had issues with getting a charged in one town. Enel X had a charger their at the offices, but refused access, despite their own app saying access was possible. Another charger in the town was defective, and a 3rd didn’t even exist. Eventually we got a charge at Lidl. The trips around Pisa were nice and relaxing. Plenty of type 2 chargers, but not many CCS.

Otherwise, we had a few short trips pin the local area and one trip to Heilbronn for my wife to run the half marathon, and another to Linz for the day.

The car is still performing perfectly, and we are still very happy with it.

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30,000Km Service and costs over the year.

It is now almost a year since we bought the Ioniq, and its time for its 30,000Km service. Actually it’s a few Km early, but I needed to get the winter tyres fitted so it made sense to do both at once. The cost breakdown is as follows:

  • €89.00 – 30,000 Km inspection.
  • €25.00 – New pollen filter
  • €71.20 – Mounting winter tyres on rims, balancing etc.
  • €35.60 – Cleaning all 4 break callipers and greasing mechanism.
  • €37.82 – Storage of summer tyres.
  • €49.14 – VAT.

This makes a total cost of €307.76 which is ok when you consider that includes a more work intensive tyre change. Our battery State of Health is at 100%, so no degradation despite probably 95% of the charging being rapid charges. In addition the inspection cost, we have had a total fuel cost of circa €450 over the 30,000Km. Our fully comprehensive insurance is relatively expensive at about €600. This works out at about 4 cents per Km (excluding cost of buying the car of course).  Judging by the prices I have seen for used Ioniq of a lower specification than ours, I would estimate depreciation has been about €2000 over the year. The Ioniq is currently in such high demand that the values are not really dropping much. I have even seen some offered for sale, and sold, at more than the original purchase price.

So all in all we are very happy about our EV and do not regret it for one moment.

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eRuda. A disappointment.

eRuda, or elektrisch Rund um den Ammersee, is the biggest meeting of EV drivers in Germany, and this year there was something like 270 EV registered to take part over the 3 day event. I had been looking forward to this since the spring. The meeting place was in Weilheim on the Friday 5th October. On arrival, we were not greeted or directed to park in any specific place, which surprised me as we had registered as part of a team. The first event we were due to take part in had already left a few minutes before we arrived, and so we were told just to make our own way to the destination. On arrival,  we waited a long time, looking for other people taking part before eventually we found them. The presentation about the village of Wildpoldsried was interesting however. In the evening there was a briefing for the next days “challenge”, followed by a presentation by Otto Schönbach who drove in a Twizzy from Munich to Nordkap. What a crazy trip!

Saturday we arrived early so we could be in the group leaving by 8:30. We had expected a start photo and to be registered as setting off. There were a couple of people standing around, and on enquiry we were told just to set off. The “challenge” was to get to the top of the glassier road, Rettenbachferner, the highest road in the EU. I didn’t find it that much of a challenge. I had expected the pass to be steeper. We saw a few other EV who were attempting it without recharging, by driving very slow, and thus causing a lot of tailbacks.  I don’t think slow driving EVs really promote their adoption. Anyway, we arrived at the top of the mountain with something like 50% charge after having a recharge some 10Km before the start  of the Ötztal. On arriving at the checkin point we were given the sticker, and that was that. We then had to head back to Landsberg am Lech. The instructions on the briefing said to goto one specific address, but it was incorrect. We actually had to goto the town centre. Once we arrived there, they asked why we were not on the leavers list, the list we were looking for when we left in the morning. However they stamped the back of our sticker with the arrival stamp and we parked up. Up to this point we had only seen 2 other members of our team.

I felt the whole eRuda was chaotic and not well organised. So we didn’t bother going to the Sunday events. I can not see myself taking part again.

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Stelvio or Bust.

It sort of a tradition that we take all our cars up to the top of the Stelvio pass during the first summer that we have them. For the Ioniq, this was delayed a few times, but at last it was now time to do the trip.

We left Munich at about 8am with 80% or so charge and headed down the A95 towards Garmisch. I had it in mind there was a rapid charger at and A.T.U. between Garmisch and Lermos so when we arrived at the A.T.U. and found no charger I was confused and a bit worried, as I now only had about 20Km range. Our only option was to return to Garmisch and plug into a 22kW type 2 from New Motion. I am certain it is not a 22Kw connection, as the car told me it would take 8 hours to charge. This would suggest the charger was only providing about 4kW I think. After an hour we had an increase of 18Km. We decided to continue to Lermos where we charged for another 30 minutes and had an increase of 25Km. This gave us enough range to get to the Ella rapid charger at Karrösten. it was now 12:30. I had imagined we would have been at Stelvio by this time.

After the rapid charge was completed, it was time to goto Malles Venosta in Italy where I planned to have a rapid charge before the accent of the Stelvio. As with the rest of the trip up-to now, this didn’t go to plan. The charger is on a public square in the centre of the old town. As luck would have it, the square was closed due to a village festival. The only other charges are both slow type 2 belonging to hotels and one of those is out of action since July so I decided with 110Km range, that we had enough range to get to Bormio where we would charge over lunch before returning over the other side of the Stelvio. From Malles Venosta to the top of Stelvio is about 20Km, and then from there to Bormio about 30Km. So it shouldn’t be a problem

The drive up the Stelvio is not recommended for new drivers or people who are not confident. Its narrow with a lot of kamikaze motorcyclists going way to fast around blind bends and cutting the corners of the hairpin bends. Going up the mountain I had several occasions where I had to stop because of this and because of other cars coming down the hill that refused to give way on narrow stages. I was always taught that those coming uphill have priority unless otherwise signed, this doesn’t appear to be the case in Italy.

From our initial 110Km at the foot of the pass, by the time we were half way up, we were down to 40Km. by the last 5 turns I was at two bars on the battery meter, and I had doubts we would make the top. On reaching the top we had 8Km range left and of course there are no chargers or even 240V power points anywhere to be seen. We parked up and went for a pizza, and asked the owner if there was anywhere to plug in. As expected the answer was no. I didn’t really enjoy the pizza for some reason. The top of Stelvio is a mess of parked bikes and tourist trap stores. We didn’t look at any. I usually enjoy the view from the top, and usually spend a bit of time looking at the stores, but today I was very worried about how we would get the 40Km+ to the next charger.

Isn’t regenerative breaking a great thing?

On restarting the car and leaving the parking place we had 7Km range. using a combination of regeneration step 1 & 2 we dropped the 16Km long 2000 meter drop, 48 hairpin bed road and recovered to 62Km in range. in addition we used no power at all actually going down the road, effectively we had 71Km of fuel free travel. We headed to the closest rapid charger at Lasa. There were conflicting reports about the status of this rapid charger. One said it had been removed and was being upgraded, another said it was getting the price info and that it was all ok and operational. The former proved to be correct. The charge point has gone. So we continued onto Silandro and charged there instead. The RFID cards proved to be an issue. Maingau/ESL was refused, as was Ella, SWM, Hyundai/enbw, Smatrics, and Chargemap. It finally worked with Plug Surfing. The next stop was Brenner. No issues there. For the Tesla owners, the supercharger has been expanded to 16 bays, and the CCS charger has been moved along 2 bays. There are 2 empty concrete bases, so it looks as if extra CCS may soon be installed. The type 2 charger has also been moved over and replaced with another type I think.The rest of the trip from Brenner to Munich went without any real issue, except an SUV/Tank trying to run me off the road at the Brenner bridge video toll gate. We arrived back in Munich at around 11:00pm with 90Km range left. The total distance was some 650Km. I didn’t record the kWh/100Km.

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To France for first time in the EV

My wife’s family live between Le Man’s & Tours in West France, so we drive there a couple of times a year. This journey was the one thing that was putting me off getting an EV. The charging structure in Sartre is really bad. My impression of charging generally in France was not positive. There are plenty if type 2, lots of type 3c, but not so many CCS ( or CHAdeMO for that matter). 

I has searched all the charging apps for CCS on the route I take from Munich for many many hours and came to the conclusion that it would be difficult to make the trip. Between Auxerre and Tours a distance of about 300km there was no rapid chargers that are operational. There was an option via Paris which I hate, but again the last 300km has only 1 rapid charger, and if that is broken there is no fallback. 

The other, preferred, optional route has a charger at a LIDL that according to Chargemap has been out of order since last November. I sent a series of emails to LIDL France and the emphatically stayed the charger us operational. Using this route I could probably reach my in-laws without a great problem. Once we get there we would have to use the granny charger at it’s low power setting. My in-laws only have a 6.6kW supply into the property!

We have for many years now split the drive over 2 days. First to Beaune, and then the rest, so this time was not going to be different. I booked a room at the Mercure Beaune Centre hotel partially because of its location and partially because it has chargers. Most of the chargers were Tesla Superchargers, but they had one charger with Type 2, Type 3c and 2 pin 240V sockets.  On arrival, and plugging into the type 2 we discovered the charger wasn’t compatible with the the Ioniq for some reason. We kept getting “Charger Error” displayed in the Ioniq, and the charger never started charging. We reported this to the hotel, but they couldn’t do anything as the maintenance people had left for the day. So we had to charge with the granny charger. The hotel did say they would get the maintenance guys to look into it on Monday. 

The following day we drove via Chateau Chinon-Ville, and as expected the Lidl charger was out of action. It was powered off, and covered in cobwebs. So much for the assurance from Lidl  that the point was functional. My plan B was to charge at Magny Cours, and that was a faster charger and fully functional.

The rest of the trip to the in-laws was uneventful really, except we discovered a new rapid charger at Neuillé-Pont-Pierre on the A28 (at the exit after the toll booth, which is about 35Km from our final destination. This was excellent as it meant we didn’t have to load down my in-laws house with our granny charger. My in-laws house is only provided with a 6kW electricity supply as it is in the middle of nowhere and they have only a few fridges and thats about it.  During our stay we topped up a few times at the local supermarket on a type 2, and on a day trip we failed to charge at a type 2 at Montreuil-Bellay. The charger had 2 type 2 sockets. one was in use by a Tesla and they were charging, but the second socket gave us the same error as at the hotel. It did finally say it was charging, but it terminated about 2 minutes after we left, resulting in a bill for 45 minutes charging for 0.01kW.  I successfully challenged the bill later.

New Rapid charger at Neuillé-Pont-PierreThe return trip we did a bit differently. We headed along the A10 towards Orleans, charging at Villerbon which is finally in operation, and then cross country to Charny. In the car park of the supermarket we found a type 2 socket which we plugged into whilst we had a very nice lunch at a local restaurant. Much to my surprise the Maingau/ESL card worked here. We increased out charge by 35%.

After lunch we continued to the Autoroute A8 at Sépeaux where there is a rapid charger. Unfortunately this charger is not yet in operation, o we had to continue across country to Aillant-sur-Tholon which is a really small town that has a rapid charger next to the church. On arrival there was a Zoe which was just finishing its charge, so a short wait of 5 minutes was on the cards. This was the first time we had to wait for a charger during this trip, but half an hour later we were fully charged and on our way again via the A8 to Beaune and back to the Mercure Beaune Centre hotel.  At the hotel, the type 2 charger still wasn’t operational, and again the technician wasn’t available. The hotel received a written feedback on this when I received their satisfaction survey. Anyway, we charged again overnight on the “granny charger” and continued the next day in the direction Mulhouse and Germany.

In Germany I also wanted to try a different route. For some reason in the south west of Germany chargers are few and far between except on the Autobahn. Just before Freiburg we charged on the motorway to 94% and then headed to Tuttlingen. According to the apps there was a rapid charger at the VW dealership which may or my not be operational, depending which app you look at. otherwise, there are a few type 2 around. On arrival at the VW dealer, the road was dug up and it was not possible to access the dealership. At least so it appeared. I parked close by and took a walk around, eventually asking someone on a bike in the forecourt. The dealership had an access via a back road, so we were able to reach the charger and get fully charged again.  I had planned a stop at Memmingen but the rapid charger there is broken, and has been for a couple of months. The CCS doesn’t recognise any vehicles. As our charge level was getting a bit low, i need a charge so our next stop was at Autohaus Sangl, where we originally purchased our Ioniq. There there is a free 20Kw CCS. On arrival the park bay was blocked by an i3 that had stretched its charge cable over to a type 2 charger in the next (and empty) parking bay. My only options were to park on the pavement or block the entrance to the parking.  I chose the former and no sooner had I plugged in that I was verbally assaulted by an older couple for blocking the pavement and received threats that they would call the police and get me towed away. Whilst they were technically in the right, the way they spoke to me telling me “in Germany we obey the law, which obviously isn’t the case where you come from” was out of order. After I calmly explained to them why I was there, and explained that I was unable to drive further unless I charged as this was the equivalent of a petrol station for me, they calmed down and we had a chat about range and charging duration. They went on their way and I finished my charge.

We arrived home an hour or so later, tired but happy.

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Norway

When we bought the Ioniq, we almost jokingly said we now had an excuse to goto Norway,  to test out the charging network. A few weeks later we decided we would drive there. Neither of us had ever been to Scandinavia, so it would be a total adventure for us. 

Planning.

In advance I obtained charge cards from Fortum Charge&drive and Grønn Kontakt for Norway and Clever for Denmark & Sweden. Additionally, I registered for a toll transponder and registered with Toll Collect so we could use the toll roads free of charge. I also watched many many hours of YouTube videos about Norway, and of course TeslaBjørns road-trips  to get an idea of where to go and how charging is. Of course a route needed to be considered, but nothing fixed was planned. My initial thoughts, once we arrived at Oslo was to go south via Kristensand , around the coast to Stavanger, then up to Bergen, onwards over Trollstigen, the Atlantic Road and onto Trondheim. Then if time and funds allowed further north maybe to Lofoten, before returning direct to Oslo. My wife had been keeping an eye on the weather in Norway for a month before we went on holiday, and they had a heat wave of 30C. She was happy.   Accommodation was not even considered at this point, but I already had concerns about the cost of hotels. As we know however, the best laid plans of mice and men so often go astray. so its better not to plan too much!

The trip

I suffer from back problems, and the week before the trip, the pain was so bad it threatened to cause a cancellation of the trip. I spent the best part of the week pumping myself full of pain killers which helped, but come Saturday, I felt I could not travel so we had to stay at home. Sunday was a bit better, but I was still not fit for a long drive. Monday morning I decided it was ok, and we set off around 10am.

Day 1

I wont go into all the details of the trip as a lot is not so interesting to tell. We headed in the direction of Berlin. We had one issue on the first day of a charge being out of order, and thus had to backtrack and goto a BMW dealer in Lauf an der Pregnitz. We had charged at the dealer before and just like the first time, the offered us a coffee whilst we charged. Thats service. As we take it easy whilst driving, and enjoy the drive as part of the trip, by the late afternoon we reached Spandau and spent the night there.

Day 2

After a relaxed breakfast, we continued onto Lübeck and spent a couple of hours looking around the town. Certainly a place to return to sometime. On the way there we stopped at a recharging point on the motorway and as so often happens we were bombarded by questions about the EV and infrastructure. After leaving Lübeck we headed to wards Flensburg. We didn’t get that far but in the late afternoon checked into a hotel run by a nice Russian guy in Rendsburg. He was interested in our journey and was surprised we were in an EV. I suggest to him that he should get a charge point or two, and mentioned that he could get a couple of destination chargers via Tesla, which he said he would look into.

Day 3

The route continued via a VW dealer in Flensburg, where we could recharge for free. Whilst waiting I thought it would be nice to look at an e-Golf. Of course they didn’t have one, and the dealer told be that it was not possible to order the e-Golf  as it was no longer being made, and I should consider a GTI.  I don’t know if it’s true that the e-Golf is no longer in production, but if it is, then it really shows just how uncommitted VW is to the EV platform, and calls into question if the concepts they have been showing will ever be made. After Flensburg we crossed over into Denmark. The total cost of the recharging for Munich Flensburg was a wapping €1,50! In Denmark I really wanted to goto Copenhagen. when searching booking.com, we couldn’t find any accommodation under €800 per night. So we parked up for 2 hours, visited the little mermaid after fighting our way through a bus load of Chinese tourists, and took a few photos. back into the city, had a coffee and left. The next road took us through the tunnel and over the bridge to Malmö. I was not impressed with Malmö. The bits we saw were just ugly. Also getting a charge was an issue as the e-on charger just wouldn’t work. I kept getting an error that said the car requested too much power. After 4 or 5 attempts I gave up and went to a circle K, where the charger worked at once without any problems. After a charge and a coffee and enjoying a very nice evening sunshine, we continued up to the sleepy town of Landeskrona, the home of Tycho Brahe. 

Day 4

The hotel in Landeskrona had only 4 rooms and a shared bathroom, so breakfast was in a local bakery. The morning was chilly, and as we continued north to Gothenburg or started to rain a bit. Not much but enough to annoy. The temperature was also sinking, so when we reached Gothenburg it was windy and cold. We had a walk around for a while and had a meal. I didn’t want to stop very long here as I wanted to reach Oslo if possible. So after a couple of hours or so we were back on the road. The motorway up the coast is a bit boring and really not much to see. We reached the border with Norway about 5pm or so, and the heavens opened reducing visibility to next to nothing. What a welcome! by the time we reached our hotel in Oslo, which we booked at a stop a bit earlier, the weather was a bit better but still very cloudy and rainy. The only hotel we could find at an affordable price was about 6km outside of Oslo, a hostel, up in the hills with “a fantastic view across Oslo”. Not when we arrived though as it was in the middle of a cloud. We arrived about 8pm and had only a few minutes to get into our room before the restaurant closed at 8:30pm. The food was terrible, cold and expensive.

Day 5

Today the weather was much better and we had a wonderful view across the bay.  In Oslo we visited one of the EV only parking places inside an ancient fort. It was very narrow. The parking had places for 100EV, but there was no place available. The number of EV in Oslo is incredible. Our time in the city was way too short, and its a place I would like to do a fly stay sometime. We needed now to decide how we were going to proceed, either go clockwise or anti clockwise along the coast. We decided Anti Clockwise, so set off for Trondheim. We made a stop at Nebbenes to look at the Tesla Supercharger station which has something like 30 chargers, and have a recharge ourselves. The station is really impressive. By the evening we were in Trondheim and checked into a Summer hotel run by students for 2 nights. The rest of the year the hotel is student accommodation, and it reminded me of my accommodation in military barracks. In the  evening we had a nice meal in a sort of pub restaurant.

 

Day 6

We walked around Trondheim a bit,  the town has its nice points.  Whilst walking around we charged the car in an underground garage for which we were never billed.  During the afternoon we made a short north to Levanger, the most northerly point on our trip.  We found an old fort at Skatval, which unfortunately was closed, but I did manage to get to fly my drone in the area for a few minutes and peeked over the walls. In the evening we had an Indian in a sort of take away place. The portions were very large, it was cheap (for Norway), but I didn’t enjoy it really.

Day 7

After leaving Trondheim we headed for the Atlantic Road. The weather started cold and rainy, but as the morning progressed, the weather improved. We passed by many small villages and some very beautiful fjords. Even relatively in the middle of no where we found charging stations with multiple rapid chargers. When we reached the tollbooth for the Atlantic road I asked if there was a discount for an EV and was told for EVs it was free of charge. This was one of 2 times that we had a reduction. The other being on a ferry where I only had to pay for my wife, the EV and myself being free. All other ferries we were told the discounts had been stopped. The Atlantic road, whilst short, is a nice drive. There are a few places where its possible to pull over and go for a short walk, but it was raining again and extremely windy.  I had a drone with me, that I bought specifically to film the road a bit from over the sea, but the weather was just too bad to attempt a flight. As for accommodation, we booked first a tiny house, and got a confirmation, but the owner phoned us and told us he was booked out, and we would have to cancel it over the website. His cancellation policy meant we would lose the cost of the room, which annoyed me. It took a good week for booking.com to refund the payment. We ended up in a house in the middle of nowhere which had about 5 or 6 rooms, a shared lounge and kitchen. The closest restaurant was about 12km away, a rather bad pizza place.

Day 8

The highlight of the day, and the trip, was to be Trollstigen. We left the accommodation about 9 and soon thereafter the rain started again. At some of the ferry crossings we could hardly see the ferry docking due to the rain. By the time we reached Åndalsnes, and time to charge the car, the rain had eased a bit, so we had an hour to look around and buy a few presents for our cat sitter.  We made our way to the foot of Trollstigen with patchy drizzle. Luckily as we went up the pass it wasn’t raining so we could see its beauty without being stuck in a cloud. I love driving mountain passes, and this one is not difficult at all. Sometimes its a bit narrow however and you do have to make room for the coaches that are shuttling tourists around. I think this would be more of an issue for people in motorhomes. At the top of the pass is the obligatory souvenir shop and cafe, but also a nice walk to lookout platforms over the road. Well, it would be nice it it was sunny, but once again it was drizzling, very windy and very very cold. Still, despite this, it was the highlight of the trip for me. We continued along the road past some very nice waterfalls and landscape to Geiranger, where again it poured down without pause. One of the things that impressed me here was the number of charging stations for of all things Twizzys that can be rented. We must have seen at least 50 that were charging, and at the fast charger there were again a very large number (40 or more) of type 2 and 2 pin sockets. Geiranger its self is very forgettable it it wasn’t for the fjord. I had wanted to take a boat to see the 7 sister waterfalls, but there were no boats running. 

Day 9

Overnight the rain didn’t stop, and I saw a sign saying the road was closed due to the weather, but there was no indication if the sign was up to date or not. The hotel receptionist said the road was open but could be slippery. Our target for the day was going to be Bergen but this didn’t happen. As we went up the hill the weather got worse and worse, the temperature dropped to 2c and then it started to snow. I was not equipped for winter weather, and I was not really happy about driving for hours on end in rain where I can hardly see anything. For this reason I also have no photos from this area of the trip. Checking the weather forecast for the next few days showed that there was no improvement in sight, in fact the rain was forecast to get worse. So the decision was made to head home. We changed direction and headed to Hønefoss. One thing we still wanted to see was some stave churches. We had seen one or two on the way, but they were all locked, so we planned the way back so we had a chance to see some more, and hopefully find one open. The one at Lillehammer was closed when we got there as was one other which was closed due to a funeral. We did find one at Vågåmo which is also the home of the artist Munch. The interior was very beautiful, but it was quite small. Our hotel at Hønefoss had a few EV charging points, but it turned out these were normal 2 pin sockets. In the online forums, it was said the EU ICCB would not work in Norway because of a different earthing system. There is actually a different ICCB version delivered in Norway. I decided to try mine anyway as I was there and at least see for myself what the error would look like. Much to my surprise my ICCB worked perfectly, and in the morning I had 100% charge. I have no idea why this worked, as its well known that usually they don’t work, and other brands like Juice Booster 2, Go-eCharge, and NRGkick, have a Norway mode. 

Day 10

Today was to be our last chance to see the inside of a Stave church, and the largest one in Norway, at Heddal. It was about 2 hours drive from Hønefoss, but it was worth it. The church is very interesting and has a lot of historical interest, and even some ancient rune graffiti which is only partially translated. We had to backtrack towards Oslo and took the tunnel under the fjord to get back onto the road to Sweden, stopping for the night at Fredrikstad. We asked the very nice receptionist to recommend a good restaurant where we could get real Norwegian food, as we had only had Norwegian once. She told us there was one in the town and we went to the place she stated, to find out it was a burger grill. Not what we wanted, so we ended up going to a Greek. As it turns out, the brother of the owner, has a restaurant on Crete, in the village next to where we have a house!

Day 11-12

I have merged these days together as there is nothing of interest to speak about really.  In Sweden we stoped for lunch in IKEA, which was just like at home. The only chargers at the IKEA in Uddevalle were 2Kw and on returning to the car the rain was so heavily that the cable was sitting in 1cm of rain water. We did have a tail wind most of the way which meant we have a good kWh/100km. By the time we reached our hotel in Halmstad on Day 11 the weather was getting better.Day 12 we took the ferry from Helsingborg to Elsinore in Denmark. The trip is quiet sort, basically long enough for a coffee, a cake and 10 minutes to look at the shop.  We continued via the pretty little town of Roskilde, the name reminded me of a place in Scotland. From there we continued across the belt road and back towards Germany staying at Taulov in a rather run down Best Western hotel.

Day 13

Our return into Germany was marked by a drastic reduction of charge points. Hamburg was hell to drive past due to closed roads and traffic jams. We wanted to charge in Celle, there was one “rapid” charger which was blocked by a local Tesla Model S 75D (?) plugged into the type 2 charge port. It had been connected 36 minutes and had taken 2kWh. The CCS would not start until the other charge session was completed. There was no indication of how long this would take. According to the ChargEV app there was another charger at Braunschweig which which we could reach with 20Km to spare. When we arrived we discovered that it was not compatible with any of our RFID cards and it needs a card from the local electricity company. Our hotel had no chargepoint of course. Cutting a long story short we managed to get a bit of a charge at the local DEKRA building with the new motion roaming and then whilst checking the ChargEV app again discovered and Audi/VW dealer about 8km away that had a rapid charger. We made it to the charger and got a charge to about 80% before giving up the charger to another Ioniq from Frankfurt that also needed a charge.

Day 14

A quick return to the Audi dealer to complete our charge before a very frustrating drive back to Munich. The charging infrastructure in Germany is very poor in comparison with Norway. We had to zigzag all over the place to find chargers which took a lot of time. We also had a couple of chargers that were not working. Very frustrating. Looking at the map now, and locations where i took photos I wonder how we came to have such an indirect route from Braunschweig. Some of it was certainly dictated by location of rapid chargers, but still, it was a strange track.

Summary

At the end of our trip we had circa 64 charging sessions, covered 5756km and spent about 100€ total on electricity. Would I do the trip again? Yes. For Bergen and the coast I would probably go on a cruise, as the distances are large. If I was to go there again, I would want to go all the way to Nordkapp, maybe via Sweden. The costs in Norway for food is high,  a pizza costs €18 and a sandwich is from about €8. On the other hand at circle K you can have a years supply of coffee in a circle K mug for 33€. Compared to Germany, accommodation the is also a bit more expensive with a cheap hotel starting at about €100 a night including breakfast buffet. if you want a better hotel you are looking at prices from €150. Our most expensive hotel was €185 which as the hotel at Geiranger. We booked for €150 via booking.com but the hotel increased the price when we checked in for exactly the same room. For my wife, her greatest disappointment was that we didn’t see any moose, except in a sandwich!

 

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Going to Norway

Our next (sort of) planned, trip will be in about 2 weeks to Norway.

I have not actually made any plans, other than get a couple of charge cards and accounts for that area and get a toll road transponder. We have no idea where to go, but we wills stop at Copenhagen, and then drive over the bridge to Sweden. From there up the coast over Gothenburg to Oslo, and then….its open. I am thinking Trondheim, and then the Atlantic road, or maybe further north. I know we cant reach Nordkap, partially as there are no (?) rapid chargers, and my Granny cable wont work in Norway, but also due to time/money. We will see where exactly we end up. One thing is for sure, it will all be new and interesting for us.

Recomendations on where to go are welcome!

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Bayerischer Wald

We went for a short drive today, only to the Bayerische Wald. We had wanted to try to get to Klatovy in the Czech Republic but as we approached the border the weather started to go grey and it started to rain, so we turned towards Zwiesel, where I have never been, but it was even worse rain there. So we came home again. We did try out a fast charger at Teisnach technology canter, but it was defective. However across the woad is the main office from E-Wald, and as luck would have it there was a guy in the garage there doing something with an electric VW Beetle. At that location there is also a rapid charger, which looks very temporary, so we asked if we could charge and they said yes. It was free which was good. Otherwise, a free charge at the BMW factory in Dingolfing, a short walk and free top up at Deggendorf was about all for the trip.

Zwiesel might be a place to go back to one day to visit the glassworks perhaps.

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