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Charging in Poznan

It would take over 135 days in our journey for me (Benedikt) to travel a couple of hundred kilometers on my own! Magda had travelled to Munich by plane to attend a friend’s celebration, so I was on my own.

After a very enjoyable lunch with an old sdw friend in Warsaw, I headed towards Poznan. Poznan, as the last stop before our journey would end, presented another major milestone: We were entering supercharger land again! Poznan supercharger is nicely located right next to a number of restaurants and parks.

Curiously enough, the charging rate peaked at 120 kW for a split second (at 8% state-of-charge, SoC), and holding 119 kW for half a minute or so. That’s a rate we’ve never observed at any other SuC. My best guess is that the 60 minutes of cooling down for the car at our airbnb place was helping a lot. We’ll have to observe that.

I only discovered Poznan for a couple of hours and spent most of my time in the airbnb — I wasn’t feeling spectacularly well and needed some rest after the great time in Warsaw.

Charging in Warsaw, Poland

Last stop – Warsaw

A friend, for whom I will be the maid of honor at her wedding in October, planned to have her bachelorette party during the last weekend of August. I am no fan of these kind of events, but still, I bought a flight ticket and left Warsaw on August 25th to Munich. Benedikt and I enjoyed the last day of our epic journey in Warsaw the day before. Both of us can hardly cope with the fact that it is over now. No searching for electricity anymore, no continues travelling, no new input every day. Instead, more and more a “normal” life will start again.

Charging in Warsaw

We were in Warsaw last June. The first public charging station where we tried to charge last year, didn’t work. But exactly this charging station was only a few meters down from the airbnb that hosted us during our days in Warsaw this year. Benedikt didn’t forget to take the RFID-card (Galactico) for this particular charging network in Poland with us on our journey. Unlike the year before the charging station worked and we could very comfortably charge almost right before our apartment. I really appreciate this convenience and sometimes still wonder how easy everything is and seems here in Europe.

outlet/socket Volt Ampere kW kWh
Typ-2  220 volt  3 * 32 amperes 22 kW 60 kWh

Charging in Augustow, Poland

Journey almost over

If you enjoyed a whole week with your best friends around you, there’s an emptiness when they’re not around you anymore. I really needed to calm down and realize that our journey will be over very soon. The place where we tried to calm down was in the polish countryside – surrounded by woods and lakes.

Finally mobile data connection in the car

We bothered Tesla since we entered the European Union about the fact that the internet in our Tesla didn’t work. Our Tesla was supposed to have a SIM card that was valid in the entire EU (and, as we found out, also in Turkey – see this post). But it just didn’t catch any reception in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. As soon as we approached the Polish border, there it was! We finally were online again! Navigating via Tesla, usage of the browser, listening to music through spotify – all of these nice (but actually not necessary things) were possible again. We were excited :-).

Schuko-charging

The hotel that we stayed at in Augustow offered us a Schuko-outlet to charge the car. We approximately charged 30 kWh during our stay there. Enough, so that we would easily reach Warsaw the next day and would have some reserve energy left in the battery.

outlet/socket Volt Ampere kW kWh
Schuko  220 volt  1 * 10 amperes 2 kW 30 kWh

Charging in Vilnius, Lithuania

My 30st birthday was on August 15th. We celebrated it at the Caspian Sea with few very good friends. I invited more friends to join us at the weekend. A house in the middle of nowhere, equipped with Sauna, beach volleyball field, a lake and more fun stuff waited for us to spend an awesome weekend there.

Charging #1

Vilnius is located 350 km from the Baltic Sea. We had a short charging stop at a CHAdeMO charger located right at the highway. Only the few minutes we needed for a bathroom break and to get coffee were enough to charge additional 120 km.

Charging #2

There was hardly any doubt that the guest house we rented would have three-phase electricity. Benedikt really enjoys (and misses) setting up charging connections at a fuse-box. You can imagine how happe he was, when he found a fuse-box right at the entrance of the house, where he installed our adapter. We didn’t charge a whole lot at the guest house, but it was good to have the back-up there.

Charging #3

Thursday night, the day before the rest of our friends would arrive, we did a “big-family shopping”. Lidl and another hypermarche offered charging stations (CHAdeMO) right in front of the supermarkets. By the time we were done with shopping, the Tesla was charged with 90%.

We had a blast kayaking on a river not far from the guest house on Saturday. The weather was perfect and everyone enjoyed the day out in the nature. Since the house was perfect to accommodate a large group, we didn’t mind that it started raining in the evening. A large kitchen, a barbecue, a sauna and a lake in front of the house were enough to make the evening in the Vila Tola very memorable.

Charging #4

On sunday we planned to do a guided city tour through Vilnius. By chance we parked on a parking lot in the old town that offered a typ-2 charging station. The parking rate was high, but we didn’t mind paying for it, since we charged about 50 kWh for free (a lot of energy got used by several trips to the airport and back).

Charging #5

Together with Ben (friend from Zurich) and Timon (also Zurich friend, who we also met in Kyrgyzstan (see this post)), we stayed one more night in Vilnius (Mo-Tu). Right before we had to bring Timon to the airport on Tuesday, we charged the car at a CHAdeMO-charger in downtown Vilnius. Ben had brought to Vilnius stickers of almost all the countries that we traveled through. We only had to put them on the car! That’s what we did at the charger. It is such a proud feeling that we have when seeing so many different flags and have very special memories to each of these countries. These memories are something, that will stay for life. We are extremly grateful for this.

Even though we had to renew the charge every 15 minutes, we managed to charge the car full enough that we could leave in the afternoon to Poland.

Charging in Vente, Lithuania

Finally, fuse-box charging again

With friends, we spent a few days in Vente, a small Lithuanian village opposite of the Curonian Split. When we arrived Benedikt immediately found a fuse-box with three-phase electricity and was excited to set up a charging connection. We are used to be confronted with not so happy people when we try to set up a charging connection without previously asking. Accordingly, Benedikt and I were a bit nervous when the owner of our guest house arrived in the evening. But she was probably the coolest host we met on our journey. Not only was she happy to meet us, but she also offered a CEE-socket in the garage of the house that we had no access to originally. How great is that!

Wrong wired socket

Benedikt plugged the adapter and the NRGkick in and … nothing worked. The socket was wired incorrectly. A phase and the neutral was mixed up. Actually, this could have ruined the NRGkick and also the Tesla. Luckily, nothing like this happened. Benedikt fixed the socket and only a few minutes later the Tesla started to charge.

outlet/socket Volt Ampere kW kWh
fuse-box & CEE-16  220 volt  3 * 16 amperes 11 kW 60 kWh

Charging in Kaunas, Lithuania

Lidl-charger in Kaunas

After a desperately needed sleep (read this post, to read what hold us back from sleeping), we approached a Lidl parking lot in Kaunas. Unlike the day before, the charging station at this Lidl worked perfectly. We did grocery shopping for the upcoming week and hung out at the charger until the car was fully charged (took us about 2.5 hours).

CHAdeMo-charging

First time we were using a CHAdeMO-adapter that volker of the TFF forum (German Tesla forum – Tesla Fahrer und Freunde) offered us to use during the rest of our journey. We are very happy that we have this adapter with us now. The adapter allows us to charge at CHAdeMO charging stations. These fast-charging stations deliver up to 50kW of direct current (300-500 V, up to 350 A). That means we can fully charge our car from 0-100% in about 1.5 hours! On that day in front of the Lidl in Kaunas, there were so many Nissan Leaf who wanted to use the CHAdeMO-charger (and can’t use typ-2) that we hardly used it ourselves.

Lithuanian Baltic Sea

Even though we weren’t charging as fast as we could have, we were still in time to pick up our friend Corinna from the airport in Kaunas. Together, we drove to Vente at the Baltic Sea where we met other friends and where we stayed all together the upcoming 3 days.

 

outlet/socket Volt Ampere kW kWh
CHAdeMO  350-400 volt  120 amperes 44 kW 10 kWh
Typ 2  220 volt  3 * 32 amperes 22 kW 60 kWh

Charging in Siaulai, Lithuania

Dense charging network in Europe

Benedikt and I traveled in total for 72 days without any official charging station. We got used to manage finding electricity always somewhere and planned our days to have enough time for that. Being back to the EU means for us being back in an area with a wide charging network. The app “plugshare” shows plenty of opportunities where to charge electric vehicles. We feel spoiled and almost a bit lazy having such a resource of charging opportunity. Of course, charging and planning where to charge takes up way less of our mental resources and is no priority in our daily planning anymore. In Siaulai, Lithuania, we regretted this…

Charging or rather not charging in Siaulai

We left Riga in the late afternoon and intended to charge at a CHAdeMo charger in Siaulai. What we didn’t expected, was that the charger was out of service! We had our battery at 7% and there wasn’t really any other charging opportunity in the city. What to do? First, we asked at Lidl, the supermarket that provided the charger on their parking spot, if they have another three-phase outlet we could use for charging. They had none or didn’t wanted to give it to us. Second, we contacted someone, who offers a private CEE to charge EVs in Siaulai. Unfortunately, he was out of town and couldn’t really help us either. Benedikt already thought about camping at a Schuko outlet. That would have been the last option for me. It was about 7 or 8 p.m. when we started to drive around the city to look for restaurants or gas stations that might have three-phase outlet. And then we found a small mall. Since we had quite a few good experiences with finding CEE-outlets in underground parking, we also gave that one a try.

Charging (at least a bit)!

And there it was, right at the entrance door, a red CEE-32 outlet! There were even a few official charging stations in the garage! But, all of them were without electricity. No one in the shopping center was interested in solving this problem. We found one other, better hidden, CEE-outlet in the garage. But, since it wasn’t our lucky day, the fuse blew after only 2 minutes charging.

We had no other choice to go back to the “obvious one”, roll out an extension cord and charge like in a goldfish bowl. Luckily, no security noticed our doing. Unfortunately, we could only charge with about 13 amperes (even though the outlet was a CEE-32), since the voltage dropped increasingly with more amperes. It took us 2 hours to reach a percentage of the battery that would allow us to drive to the next charging possibility at a hotel, 80 km away from Siaulai.

The last charge of the night

With the 22 kw of the hotel charger that we could use for free, it took us another hour until the car was charged enough to finally drive to Kaunas. We left Panevezys at 1 a.m. and it took us almost 2 more hours to reach Kaunas. You can imagine how tired we were when we finally fall asleep in the early morning in our hotel beds in Kaunas.

outlet/socket Volt Ampere kW kWh
CEE-32  220 volt  3 * 13 amperes 8 kW 15 kWh
Typ 2  220 volt  3 * 32 amperes 22 kW 25 kWh

Charging in Riga, Latvia

A normal day in Riga while catching up with an old friend

Darya, a friend of mine who I met 6 years ago while doing an Erasmus-semester in Vilnius, Lithuania, invited us to visit her and her boyfriend in Riga. It is such a treasure to meet old friends and to catch up with them. For us as notorious travel birds, it was especially nice to not need to worry about anything since our host took care of everything. We strolled together through Riga, enjoyed the view over the cities roofs from Darya’s former university, saved ourselves from a thunderstorm while hiding in a cozy bookstore/café and were guests at a house party of a friend of Darya and Reinholds in the evening. What a fun day!

Charging at the golf resort

Reinholds, Darya’s boyfriend, is one of the best amateur golf players of Estonia. He had a tournament the weekend we were in Riga. Since Benedikt and I have never followed a golf tournament, we were excited to be Reinholds support team during the finals. Of course, we were even more excited when he won the tournament with at the decisive 18th whole! The car charged at a Schuko outlet at the golf course with 2 kW throughout the day.

Charging at Raddison blue

Darya and Reinholds live at an awesome location in the middle of Riga. The neighboring house of them is a Raddison blue hotel that offers CEE-outlets in their basement for charging. We would have charged there earlier, if the garage wasn’t packed. Sunday afternoon, there were enough spots free. We enjoyed charging with 25 amperes, like recommended on the info-board next to the outlet. Since the outlet was only a 16 amperes one, we weren’t so sure if that works… it didn’t. We blew a fuse and only noticed when we thought the car would be charged. Another 45 minutes waiting (and charging with only 16 amperes) and we had enough energy to reach Siaulai, Lithuania, half-way between Riga and Kaunas. Read in the following post, how nothing worked like planned and how we arrived in Kaunas 5 hours later than expected (means at 3 a.m. in the morning)…

outlet/socket Volt Ampere kW kWh
Schuko  220 volt  1 * 10 amperes 2 kW 8 kWh
CEE-25  220 volt  3 * 16 amperes 11 kW 12 kWh

Charging on Saaremaa Island, Estonia

Digital Estonia

After a beautiful drive through the picturesque landscape of Estonia on roads, we arrived at the ferry port of Virtsu. Estonia is probably the most digital country on the world. Since almost 10 years, things like voting or submitting the tax declaration digitally are normal in Estonia. Of course, also buying a ferry ticket on the phone is an easy task. After being part of probably the smoothest “ferry-boarding-process” that we have ever experienced, we arrived on Saaremaa, Estonia’s largest island situated in the gulf of Riga.

Charging on Saaremaa

Estonia has an excellent network of charging station. The company Elmo is responsible for it. ABB is their hardware partner. A person working at ABB found out about our trip, contacted us and offered his help, whenever something wouldn’t work with the charging stations. We came back to his offer in Kuressaare, the capital city of Saaremaa. The first charging station that we approached didn’t really work (even though a Nissan Leaf was charging with the CHAdeMO charger). Unfortunately, our contact at ABB couldn’t help either. Luckily, there was another charging station in the city. That one worked without any problem. While we enjoyed the city and strolled through a local festival at the harbor, the car was nicely charging with 22kW.

Elmo charging app

One fact that we highly appreciate about the Elmo charging network in Estonia is that there is no special RFID-card needed to start the charging. One can download an app, create an account and manage the charging process through the app. Every charge costs around 4,50€, which we think is a fair price. I think, most EV-drivers are willing to pay the price for electricity for their charge. But no (travelling) EV-driver appreciates complicated authorization processes via RFID-cards that need to be organized before arriving to the country.

Enjoying our time on Saaremaa

We stayed one day longer on Saaremaa, because we just liked it a lot there. It’s a picturesque, quite island with nature reserves to hike and lots of streets with little traffic to cycle on. It is very likely that we’ll return to that beautiful place.

outlet/socket Volt Ampere kW kWh
Typ 2  220 volt  3 * 32 amperes 22 kW 60 kWh

Charging at the Sunwellfarm, Estonia

Locking ourselves out of the Tesla

On the way to an Airbnb in the middle of nothing in Estonia, we managed to lock ourselves out of the car. The whole day the key already had a loose contact. Though, as soon as we moved it, the car recognized it again. During a short stop at the side of the road, both of us got out of the car, with nothing in our pockets, closed the doors and when we wanted to return, the doors didn’t open anymore. It took us a while to turn from panic into a working mood that helped find a solution. We thought about stopping a passing car to get other tools that helped us break into the car (maybe lift the key with a wire). Another option was to break into the frunk (supposedly that’s easier), lift the car with the car-jack and make the key inside move.

After discussing for a bit, we decided to try a different technique: we wanted to somehow try to open the door with the door-handle from the inside. To do so, we pushed several sticks through the isolation of the passenger’s door window. Even though we noticed that the technique wasn’t bad, we didn’t manage to have a stick stable and long enough to reach the door handle. Binding to sticks together was the solution in the end. After almost 2 hours trying to break into our own car, we finally succeeded! The door opened and the alarm of the car started to honk loudly. Both of us were so relieved. We managed to break into our own car without any tools and could continue our trip! I guess, we won’t forget a key in the car anymore…

Nature in Estonia

After the shock of the locked car, we needed some down time. The perfect place for this was a little cabin in the open land with not much more around it than some fields, forest and a nature park. We spend 2 nights in the nature and enjoyed a beautiful hike through the moorlands and nature park close to the cabin.

Easy charging at Schuko

While we enjoyed the quietness and the nature of Estonia, our car was peacefully charging from a Schuko-outlet that was situated at the front porch of our cabin. I always enjoy it, if we don’t have to spend any extra time or effort to charge the car (or to find a place to charge it).

outlet/socket Volt Ampere kW kWh
Schuko 220 volt 1 * 10 amperes 2 kW 50 kWh