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 ur room before the restaurant closed at 8:30pm. The food was terrible, cold and expensive.

Day 5

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

Trondheim. We walked around the town, which has its nice points.  Whilst walking around we charged the car in an underground garage. Today, the charge for the charge hasn’t appeared on my account. During the day we made a short north to Levanger, the most northerly point on our trip. This 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. 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 raining, very windy and 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 be the fast charger there were again a very large number (20 or more) of type 2 and 2 pin sockets. Geiranger its sell 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. 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. 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 chance to see the inside of a Stave church, and the largest one inNorway, 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, unless you think a lunch in IKEA is interesting. The charger at IKEA was 2Kw and one 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.

Day 13

Our return into Germany was marked by a drastic reduction of charge points. 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 woe 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.

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 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.

 

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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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