Karl’s Journey – back to the future
The 2233km Challenge – Part 2
Karl and his companions embarked on an adventure and went on holiday by electric car. Despite good planning, there were some anxious minutes to get through until they made it at the last minute for their planned sailing trip in Zadar. They had to overcome a few obstacles such as inactive charging stations, bug invasions and incorrectly located charging points. The outward journey was successful. But after a relaxing break on the water, there was still the return journey to weather and survive. We are curious to find out what exciting adventures Karl experienced on his journey home…
From Zadar to Nuremberg
“After we had already successfully navigated the sea with wind (and diesel), it remained to be seen whether eMobility would also get us back to Nuremberg in one piece. The whole thing got off to a good start: we were allowed to use the ship’s CEE connection to charge the Zoe and started the 1100km return journey with a full battery.
The first stop was the island of Pag, not because we already had to charge at that point, but to find out if it would work at all.
It didn’t. The socket remained closed and the display black. Even contact with the PFID card changed nothing.
We tried to get help from the café next door, but of course they had nothing to do with it. At the supermarket, they referred me to the tourist information office nearby. They in turn advised us to call the service hotline. How helpful… So I dialled: – beep – “You are connected to ELEN. Unfortunately, you are calling outside our office hours…”. Sometimes all you can do is give up.
So plan B: all our hopes lay in the hotel we had booked, which had a tick in “charging facility available” on booking.com. When we arrived, we found the following: not a charging station, but a normal socket.
The whole night we spent there was just enough for the little Zoe to charge up.
The next day, we played it safe and drove to the station we had stopped at on the way there. We charged at the only free AC cable next to a diesel car that occupied the other eParking space. The electric car that arrived shortly afterwards had no choice but to charge from the other side, across the lawn.
One meal, one dessert, one coffee and many eMails later, we were ready to continue our journey with 99% free Croatian electricity.
To avoid the stresses and strains of the journey, we made another pit stop at a shopping centre before reaching Zagreb. Fortunately, more free charging, with a bunch of free charging spaces to choose from. Too bad the shopping wasn’t free too.
I just couldn’t make any sense of what to do with the symbols on the Wallbox. But a simple click on “Start” in the app worked, so never mind. All in all, it was a nice change to have six chargers all to ourselves.
The next stop was near Maribor in Slovenia, where Karl hoped for a similarly positive experience. But unfortunately, nothing came of it. First, we missed the public charging station on the motorway and then mistakenly followed signs to the opposite side of the motorway. Then we passed a Tesla station, only to find the following: a charging station without a charger.
This is somehow a symbol for the current state of eMobility: a lot of space that is not filled.
Being the picture of misery, we attracted local hospitality in the form of a BMWi3 driver who not only advised us to charge for free at the nearby Lidl car park, but also escorted us safely to our destination.
We spent another night in beautiful Graz, again with official “charging available” according to booking.com: again a normal socket. It wouldn’t have made sense to start complaining now.
It has to be said: eMobility gives you the opportunity to discover new places. When we looked for free charging stations on ChargeMap, we found a Sparkasse charging station in the wonderful city of Wels. Or the Regensburg Arcaden, a shopping centre where we enjoyed the beautiful world of Tesla for a short time. And if you paid for the parking ticket, it was even free of charge.
I invested the free charge in fast speed to arrive home a few minutes earlier. Safe and sound, we reached home sweet home – or so I thought. When I plugged it into the homemade Schuko extension I had used so many times before…nothing happened. Half an hour later I knew why: the plug had totally disintegrated.” The End.
Ultimately, Karl made it to and from his holiday safely. It shows that such a long journey with a small electric car like the Zoe does involve one or two challenges, but in the end it is possible. At some points the journey was still a bit bumpy, but again experience helps to make the journey smoother.
Seen from the right perspective and with a smile, electric car journeys provide a lot of added value: if you see the whole thing as a little road trip to your destination, the holiday starts right outside your own front door. You can plan the charging stops in such a way that you can take in one or two sights along the way, and replace rest stops with a relaxed stop at the next restaurant. If you’re looking to slow down and reduce stress on your holiday, you can start right here. By searching for charging stations, you can also discover new places and routes that you would otherwise never get to know.
Those who are not yet convinced need not worry anyway: eMobility is on the rise and with the expansion of the charging infrastructure and increasing range of electric cars, this problem will soon be history as well.
Our tips for electric holidays:
- Planning is everything – think about your charging route in advance and see if there are any special sights on your way that offer charging possibilities….
- A miss is as good as a mile – drive with foresight and stop once too often rather than once too little, because not every charging station listed is actually an available, functioning charging station.
- Charging is not always the same – if you want to charge in a hotel, find out in case of doubt which charging option is available, so that you know what to expect.
- And most importantly: take it easy – relax and take any obstacles that arise with patience and humour, then nothing can go wrong on your journey.
Want to know how it all began? Discover how it all started in the first part of Karl’s report…