Charging in Siaulai, Lithuania

Dense charging network in Europe

Benedikt and I traveled for over 72 days without any official charging station. We always managed to find electricity somewhere and planned with enough spare time for the task. Being back to the EU means for us being back in an area with plenty of charging opportunities (or so we thought). Despite, despite the EU and all the wonderful charging stations, today in Siaulai, Lithuania, we encountered our most serious problem so far…

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 expect 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 offering 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 a 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 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. Since it wasn’t our lucky day, the fuse blew after only 2 minutes charging.

We had no other choice but 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 fell asleep in the early morning in our hotel beds in Kaunas.

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

Charging in Bolu, Turkey

After four days in Istanbul, we had to leave this wonderful city eventually. Our plan was to head towards south-east, to the mountains between Ankara and Samsun. There is a small national park where we thought staying and going for a hike could be nice. Since the distance between the national park and Istanbul is more than 500km, we were planning to charge the car at a charging station at a shopping mall, outside of Bolu.

Turkey has charging network named “Esarj”. This company behind the network is working on setting up more and more charging stations. It already has an interesting net of charging stations along the busy routes of Turkey. As mentioned before, Esarj has a charging station (with 22kW) in front of the shopping center of Bolu.

Like many charging systems, also esarj requires a sign up. Benedikt tried to do this for us. he did not succeed, since the sign-up process requires a Turkish identification number. Because we obviously do not have one, we arranged with Osman from Esarj that we get a charging-card anyways, we would call him when we are about to charge and he would unblock the charging station from the distance. This worked perfectly and thanks for the charge, Osman and esarj!

The only problem we had (and the problem recurred a few times after that in Turkey) that the charging station or the car lost at first one phase and later all of them before having finished the charging process. Our theory is that sometimes the electricity network is not very stable or too much traffic is only on one phase. If one phase is overused, the Tesla or NRG-Kick pulls themselves out and charging therefore slows down or stops. Luckily, every time it happened, we noticed it quickly and started the charging process again (this helped sometimes, sometimes not).

After we charged at Bolu the battery to about 85% we left for the Ilgaz Mountain National Park and arrived there later that evening at around 08:30 p.m.. The roads in Turkey are really good. That way it is not a problem to be driving at night.