Charging outside of Ashgabat, Turkmenistan and having a crazy border-crossing

Exiting Iran

It was a few minutes past 9 a.m. when we arrived in Bajgiran at the border between Iran and Turkmenistan. We were supposed to meet an agent of Hossein (Hossein was the one bringing us into Iran at the first place – see this post). We only found him after already having passed through the first police checkpoint. A confusing process to export our car from Iran started right away. I thought that all of that couldn’t take very long (we just wanted to leave the country…), but I got proven wrong (again). Benedikt and I ran through the border buildings, always following that agent (who only spoke Farsi). We waited and waited, went downstairs after a while and got exit stamps in our passports. After this was done, we couldn’t find the agent anymore.

It was probably 1.5 hours later, that I finally found him. He was at the working desk with the windows. A guy there started to explain to me that we have a big problem. Our customs paper indicate that we would leave Iran at the Nordooz border to Armenia and not to Turkmenistan, where we are right now. The paper also stated the car is grey, even though it’s main color is black. The people from the Bajgeran border already contacted to customs officials in Nordooz. Everyone is waiting for a letter of the border-boss in Nordooz that indicates that we can leave Iran towards Turkmenistan. I was told that this can take 1, 2 or 3 hours or a day. A day?!? I started to be really concerned. We had to get to Turkmenistan that day. Our whole trip, including guides, hotels and visa, was planned that way that we should enter Turkmenistan on the 17th of June (it is obligatory to have a planned trip with a guide in Turkmenistan if you enter the country with a tourist visa).

At around 1 p.m. we got informed that the letter of the border in Nordooz arrived! Ufff…. Because every border official had to type our customs form in their computer with a slow two finger method, it took another hour till we could leave the building. At 2:30, after about 5 hours at the Iranian side of the border, we finally left Iran.

Entering Turkmenistan

The Tesla had to wait outside, while Benedikt and I got our Turkmen visa in a building (we only had letter of invitations from a tour company). I was taking the passenger way, while Benedikt got the car registered (btw.: we had to pay petrol-tax even though we tried to explain that we will not use petrol – it wasn’t understandable for them). We met our driver, Mr. Zadar, who was already patiently waiting since 11:00 a.m.

Compared to the Iranian side of the border, the border process on the Turkmen side went extremely smooth – until the final step… We waited and waited and nothing happened. Only afterwards, the tour guide told us that the color of our car (black), tinted windows and colorful stickers of our Tesla were too much for Turkmenistan. The border officials weren’t sure, if it is allowed in the country (there president prefers white cars…). After many discussions, some official decided that the car should not enter Ashagabat, but is allowed to transit Turkmenistan. Ashgabat is a city, where the president has fun making everything to a white marble showcase and putting his white-color fantasies in the lives of everyone. It was probably the strangest city, I have ever been to.

Ashgabat and a long drive to Mary

Our guide found a parking spot for the Tesla outside the city. We charged at a Schuko in a small car wash in that parking lot. Unfortunately, the tour operator arranged with the car wash a price for the electricity, that was way too high (electricity is in most occasions of no charge in Turkmenistan – we found out later; petrol only costs USD 0,30 and gas is free as well).

We spent two nights in Ashgabat in the most luxurious hotel of our journey. On our third day in Turkmenistan, we left Ashgabat and continued a long journey to Mary (380 km). Benedikt and I were a little worried about this trip, since it really depended on the weather conditions how easily we could make it (the distance was quite far). Luckily, there was almost no wind. We drove slowly (around 70 km/h) and sometimes behind trucks. With 24% left we reached Mary. Way more than ever expected!

 outlet/socket  Volt  Ampere  kW  kWh
Schuko 220 10 amperes 2 kW 35 kWh

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