The road to Meghri from Kapan was one windy road up for about 1500 meters of elevation and the same down again. On the way down the hill, we could recuperate about 9kWh. Seeing the percentage sign of our battery going up and up, it almost felt like staying at a supercharger charger. The car was still/again at 80% charged when we arrived in Meghri. Charging at a Schuko would work out to have an almost fully charged car the next day.
A small Bed and Breakfast offered us a Schuko to charge the car (2 kW at 12 ampere). The people showed a great hospitality, even though, the breakfast was a lot better than the beds, blankets and cushions, that were still from Soviet times. Without much sleep, we left early in the morning to drive to the Armenian/Iranian border. I don’t like border days. The feeling to depend on the goodwill of random border controls, makes me anxious. I am also not very patient. Watching a person flip through my passport for more than 5 minutes seems to me just unnecessary.
There were three control stations before we left Armenia. On the last control (baggage control), the guy checking our car, made himself the pleasure to drive a bit with the Tesla in the area before we left to nowhere land. We didn’t mind, but saying no, would also not have been a very relaxing option. Keeping the border controls entertained with fun and facts about the Tesla is still a good option to get them out of their routine (see also this post). That way, their mood is usually quite positive and that helps (until now) to pass borders without much hassle.
On the Iranian side, Benedikt and I had to leave the car after a first check and go through immigration. Everyone gets asked what the name of their dad is, where one is born and what one is doing for work. I have no clue, what the board police man is using this information for…
Getting a car to Iran is quite an expensive joy. One can either organize a carnet de passage at home. The paid deposit should guarantee that one is leaving the country again. Since the deposit depends on the value of the car, the carnet de passage was not our preferred option. The other option to get a foreign car to Iran is that someone else in the country guarantees that one is leaving the country with the car again. In some forums, we heard about this guy named Hossein, who does a good job with this kind of service. We arranged to meet him after the passport control and he would do the import of the car to Iran for us. It took about 4 hours, till the whole process was over. A little exhausted (even though we had to do nothing than to wait), we entered Iran in the late afternoon. A 4-hour drive to Urmia, the city where Hossein is from, followed.
| Schuko at Bed&Breakfast
It was a windy road along the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan that guided us to Kapan. We saw on google-maps that there should be a “ARK-Eco-camp” in Kapan. Not knowing what that would mean, we reached in the afternoon an area looking somehow like a garden in a suburb of Munich. The “garden-manager” Armen welcomed us in his camp. Tiny cabins, fitting exactly two air mattresses, were the place where we would spend the upcoming night.
Armen tried his best to help us with arranging something to charge our car. Even though the Eco-camp has itself not much electricity (a thin, one-phase connection, that allowed us to charge 1kW at only 9 amperes), we managed to charge overnight about 15kWh. That would have been fine to reach Meghri, a town very close to the Iranian border. In Meghri, we should have better found a three-phase outlet though, to have a fully charged car before entering Iran. Of course, we had no information if that is possible. Considering all of this, I was happy, when Armen came the following morning to the camp and told us, he found three-phase electricity in the village. A furniture-making factory would be happy to let us charge.
Charging there was one of the greatest experiences of hospitality and help. The owner of the workshop helped Benedikt to set everything up (we put the three phases and the neutral wire directly on the cable outlets of the fuse box – see picture). While the car was charging 22kW at 3 times 32 ampere, he invited us for tea and Armenian sweets. 1.5 hours later we left Kapan with a 99% charged car. I wish, it would work always just like this.
| Schuko at ARK Eco Camp
|| 9 amperes
|| about 15kWh
|Fuse box at furniture making factory
|| 3*32 amperes
|| about 22kWh
Benedikt and I seem to have developed a certain taste for spa cities or places that are famous for their mineral water. After Borjomi in Georgia (see this post) Jermuk is the second “mineral water town” that we choose as a destination. Like in Borjomi, we enjoyed taking staying in the nicest hotel of the city. We need sometimes “vacation from travelling” which we find in western style hotels that offer all the comfort one could imagine (at still low prices compared to western Europe). Five star hotels offered us during the journey once in a while a retreat where we can just relax and not worry about electricity, potholes, quality of food and many, many decisions that we need to take everyday. All of this is sometimes tiring…
We planned to stay for two nights in Jermuk. Therefore the offered Schuko outlet, was enough for us. The car was charged at 97% the day we left .
On our “day off” Benedikt and I went on a hike on the hills above Jermuk. As we did before, we found pleasure in “eexploring” either vanished old hotels or skeletons of new dated but never finished hotels. Jermuk has been developed as a spa town during the Soviet Union in the 1960s. Many of the hotels and amusement areas of that time are outdated and abondoned since quite a while. For Benedikt and me these buildings seem like a big, adventurous playground. Contradictory, why any investor would want to add new hotels to the excessive supply of hotel beds in Jermuk, is still a question to us. Since we are travelling we question ourselves what drives people to start building big hotel complexes and stop not even half way done. We probably still think way to German (and educated) considering this topic…
Nici left early on Sunday morning after a fun evening with open-air cinema, film discussion and some drinks at Fabrica, a great place in Tbilisi. Benedikt and I charged the car one more time at the 22kW charging station in the city center of Tbilisi. The interest in the Tesla was very high this time. During the 20 minutes of charging the car, we were constantly surrounded by some men. If they weren’t looking at the different details of the car, they tried to buy our city scooter. We have two of those scooters with us. We want to use them for a fast and independent transportation in cities or during charging stops. So far, we didn’t use them a whole lot, because either the weather was too bad or the street quality too low. But this will change eventually, we believe 😉.
We escaped the crowed and left for the border between Georgia and Armenia. There was no line in front of the border, which was already a good sign. All in all, the border was easy. The only thing that took longer was to register the car to enter Armenia. We first didn’t know that we had to do this and as soon as we found out, the Swiss car documents (in German, French, Italian and Rhaeto-Romanic) didn’t make the filling out of the documents much faster.
What surprised us after the border crossing, were really bad maintained roads. The number of deep put-holes was extremely high. During the first third of the trip, from the border till Yerevan, our average speed was between 10 and 50 km/h. Luckily the road got better and better the closer we got to Yerevan.
In Yerevan, we could charge the car at a Schuko in the garage of a small hotel close to the city center. We planned to stay for two nights in Yerevan. Therefor charging with only 2kW was ok. After about 24 hours the battery of the car was charged at 85% again. By chance we found a supermarket including a big Armenian food-court on our way out of the city. The supermarket had a underground garage with many three-phase outlets`! Our Turkish adapter, worked with the outlets (which is kind of ironic, considering the relationship between Armenia and Turkey). We were very happy about this finding and charged the car with 11kW while we were having lunch in the food-court.
Yerevan isn’t a particular beautiful city or old city, since a lot of soviet architecture dominates the cityscape. Nevertheless, Benedikt and I were both inspired by the friendly and laid-back culture of the city. Compared to Tbilisi, Yerevan is less touristic, less crowded and somehow maybe even (mainstream) hipper.