Chemnitz

Unusually I had 3 days off in a row from work, so we decided to take a mini break. We wanted somewhere not too far away, and place we had never been to before. Chemnitz was decided upon. The trip was very uneventful in both directions. We drove we charged once we drove on. Thats about all there is to say about the trip there and back.

And how about Chemnitz? Well I can sum it up in 4 words. Been there, done that.  It’s not that Chemnitz is uninteresting, its more, how can I say, uninspiring. The major tourist attraction is and oversized bust of Karl Marx, apart from that there is, frankly, not much.

Ok, so how about charging infrastructure? Well, there is 1 rapid charger a few Km outside the city on the Autobahn going from Dresden to Chemnitz, none in the other direction. There is a type 2 charger in the Galleria car park, which can be started with a local RFID card or SMS, but the parking costs a couple of Euro per hour. We did find a type 2 charger on the street about 10 mins walk from the hotel outside the IHK building. This can be started by SMS and you can stay connected for upto 4 hours. We were of course charged for the SMS at standard rates, but I never saw a charge for the charging. e charged to 100% and then re-parked to the hotels car park.The hotel said they could not provide charging “for liability reasons” What?

The next day we drove to Coldiz Castle, famous to Brits as a WWII POW prison and the  subject of films, books and even board games. I visited the castle back in 1990 not long after the fall of the DDR. Since then there have been a lot of changes at the castle, and the town of Colditz. The town is quite nice, but the tourist office looked at us like we were from Mars when we asked if there were any charging points for Electric vehicles in town. Needless to say, there are none. Chantal had never been in the area so the tour of the castle was new to her and I think she enjoyed it. We were there just after some massive storms which caused quite a lot of damaged to the Castle, and they were already doing repair works. The car park was partially dug up as well. It turned out that our guide was half British so we had quite a long chat to him after the tour. We mentioned we were in an EV and that it would be good if they could get a charger installed as Colditz was a black spot, and a charger would attract EV tourists. I was pleased to hear him say it was already planned.

Currently the area around Chemnitz is a very black hole for EV tours.

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The search continues in Brno

Following on from our failed search for a cat, we had made contact with someone in Brno (CZ), who had some ragdoll kittens for sale. She offered to come to Munich so we could see them,but we said we would goto her. It would be less stress for the kittens if we didnt want them and we could see the mother and father as well. The only problem is the Czech EV charging network. The only access to it is with a contract at €15 a month. They are not connected to any roaming network, nor is there a pay as you go possibility. I took the step of writing to the network owners telling them how tourist unfriendly there network is, and I actually got a reply which in a nutshell said. “so what!”.

This mean of course the best route over Prague was a nonstarter for us. The best alternative was to drive to Vienna,and then go straight north via the shortest route possible, and back the same way. Each way would be close to 600Km. As this probably wasn’t going to be possible to go there and back in a day, I looked for a hotel in Brno with a charger. I found one that had a Tesla destination charger. I emailed them and they confirmed they had 2 points. This meant that one was free for non-tesla usage as well. A trip of 600Km was going to be our longest trip to date. I already had a Smatrics app and account so I foresaw no major issues with charging.

Going to Brno we charged 9 times. The motorway was taking its toll and it was very cold.  Our last charge in Austria was at Hochleiten and it was with a very uneasy feeling that I entered the Czech republic. The destination in Brno was about 90Km away, so if the hotel charger didn’t work, I would have enough charge to get about half the way back to the charger.

Arriving at the border to the Czech republic, I had to buy a toll sticker, and whilst chatting to guy at the kiosk, he told me there was a charger at Lidl in Brno. For some reason I hadn’t seen this listed in any of my charge point apps. A quick google search and I had the address of Lidl in my navi and we headed there first. On arrival I was surprised to see the point blocked my a Nissan EV-200 which was charging. I plugged into the Type 2, as I had no idea if or when the owner of the EV-200 would return, and as I turned around he returned. We had a quick chat and he explained to me that the point was relatively new, and Lidl was rolling out more chargers around the country. As he left, I moved over to the CCS and got a full charge and did some shopping. It turned out Lidl had an English week with all sorts of English food goodies (all made in Holland!). Arriving at the hotel, I pugged into the destination charger to top upto 100%

We bought two Ragdolls from the breeder and set off for home on Sunday. Brno looks like an nice place to visit sometime, when its warm. As we had the two kittens in the car, we didn’t look around. On the way home we took a different route and only recharged 5 times. It was still bitterly cold. One thing that irritates me a bit is that some chargers close on Sundays, and after shopping hours. Now I understand Lidl & Co put in the chargers to attract customers, and that is super, but I think it might be a two edged sword as the local councils my have less incentive to install rapid chargers. This in turn means outside of store hours transit traffic can have problems getting a charge. Please Lidl & Co leave the chargers on 24/7, even if that means we have to use a roaming card like Plugsurfing or The NewMotion to pay for the chargers. Free is good, open 24/7 is better.

I found charging in Austria to be expensive. The distance covered was 1193Km and the total electricity cost was €108,76 which works out at almost 11 cent per Km. The killer in these cost were the adhoc charging rate and the €1 start charge. The charge locations and costs are below.

New Motion

Frixing €‎ 5.67

Smatrics

5280 Braunau am Inn €‎ 9.05

Smatrics

4300 St. Valentin €‎ 14.90

Smatrics

3500 Krems €‎ 13.37

Smatrics

2123 Hochleiten €‎ 14.27

Free

Hotel Advanti €‎ 0.00

Free

Brno €‎ 0.00

Smatrics

2123 Hochleiten €‎ 15.09

Smatrics

Stockerau €‎ 6.65

Smatrics

3373 Bergland €‎ 13.57

New Motion

Amstetten €‎ 1.68

Free

Gmunden €‎ 0.00

Smatrics

Piding €‎ 13.11

Plug Surfing

McDonald’s €‎ 0.00

Free

Park One €‎ 0.00

 

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Looking for a Ragdoll

It was empty in the apartment without a cat so we started looking around and decided on a ragdoll, which in tern mean we had to make trips to visit breeders. One weekend we visited 2 breeders in the Bayerischer Wald and somewhere east of Nuremberg neither had what we were looking for, but it did confirm the type of cat. Even thought we didn’t find what we were looking for the trips in the area were excellent. Both areas were places we had never been to before and certainly and area that in summer I will drive in again.

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