Charging in Zanjan, Iran

 Search for electricity part 1

After the night in the 1000-star hotel watching an impressive starry sky, we reached Zanjan with the car’s battery being at about 8%. We were lucky, that it was only 11 in the morning, since it would almost take us the whole day to arrange something to charge the Tesla…

At first, we approached the four hotels of the city. None of them had apparently three-phase electricity. The last and most expensive one told us they have three-phase electricity. But since it is at the back of the building and our extension cord isn’t long enough for us parking in the front and charging in the back of the building, we can’t charge at their hotel. It is supposed to be too dangerous to park the car at the back of the building, even during the day. Nothing could argue them out of this idea. Approximately three hours already passed since we entered the city and the display of the Tesla showed 7%. Not much more driving should be done, before we should find something to charge.

So far, we normally found help at hotels. Zanjan was different and therefore we had to start looking for three-phase electricity somewhere else. We approached the first car repair workshops. Since they didn’t have a lifting ramp they also did not have three-phase electricity. I started to get frustrated with only receiving rejections. We missed the hospitality of Iranians that everyone told us before.

Search for electricity part 2

Luckily, when we just wanted to leave to search for other workshops with three-phase electricity, Hahdy, a person speaking well English and working at a trading company next to the car workshops left the building next to the car workshops. He approached us and told us that he will help. Having someone to translate is really valuable. Hahdy told us, that we would just need to buy the right plug for Iran and then everything would be fine. Of course, it was not that easy… I waited at his company, while he and Benedikt approached the upcoming one or two hours 6 or 7 different electronic supply stores, all throughout the city, to find that plug. Even though Hahdy translated, there was a lot of cultural misunderstanding. The Tesla had at that time only 5% left in its battery.

The last electronic supply store where they found help, was right in the middle of Zanjan, in the crowded street leading to the main bazar. The shop owner wanted to sell Benedikt at first a CEE-16 plug, then an CEE-16 outlet (“Europeans need this kind of stuff…”) and only after Benedikt asked also a bit frustrated in the most direct way “just tell me that one thing, what kind of three-phase plugs/outlets do you use in Iran?” the owner showed him the plug that we already bought in Montenegro (see this post). What a surprise! The only difference to the Montengro plug is that the internal wirring of N (neutral/0) and PE (protective earth) are switched. Seems stange to us, but that’s how it is ;-).

Finally – three-phase electricity!


Benedikt and Hahdy parked the car at the opposite street side of the electronic supply store. The owner offered an extension cord with an open-end, where Benedikt connected our open adaptor. Before starting to charge, we always test with a phase detector if the neutral wire is the neutral and if the phases are also at the right position/have voltage on them (this is actually really important, so neither the NRGKick, nor the Tesla will get broken). It was hard to convince the electronic shop owner that this procedure is necessary. In the end, every confusion was solved and the car started charging with 16kw at 24 amperes on all three phases.

While all of this happened, I hung out at Hahdy’s trading company and chatted with the sales girls there. I never really understood, what they bought/sold, but it was interesting to get an insight in an average Iranian company.

Since the four hotels that we approached in the morning weren’t any great offers (high prices for little value), Benedikt and I decided to use the rest of the afternoon to walk 2-3 kilometers through the city to check out a hotel on the other side of town thatwe didn’t know about earlier and just discovered on maps.me. When we approached it, we saw that it was closed. With the day almost setting and us being already pretty tired, we took a taxi to the other side of town to go to the cheapest hotel that we checked out in the morning. Apparently that hotel couldn’t offer us any room any more. Somehow, it seems we shouldn’t be lucky in Zanjan. Since it was almost 9 p.m. we walked to the next alternative and got a room at a very basic hotel, where 70€ for the night seems overpriced. But we were just too exhausted to go any further.

Benedikt went to get the Tesla, that was charged at 95%. It was only due to our total exhaustion from a tiring day that he turned down several dinner invitations. The people at the electronic supply store and all neighboring stores where extremely friendly. They themselves where happy that our Tesla was in their street the whole day long. That day brought us famousness in Iran, since an Instagram page for cars with 250.000 followers posted a picture of our Tesla parked in the street before the bazar in Zanjan. The next 48 hours we were overwhelmed with messages and new Instagram followers. Benedikt and I are super happy about this and hope that even more people will help us find three phase electricity in Iran.

 outlet/socket  Volt  Ampere  kW  kWh
 Montengro outlet with swithed N & PE  220  3*24 amperes  16kW  70

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