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 Tehran, Iran

Setting up a meeting in Tehran

The evening in Qom (see this post) Mohammad from Tehran wrote us an email that he really wants to meet us and see the Tesla. He is such a big Tesla fan and it would just mean to world to him to meet us. We didn’t mind fulfilling his wish, since we would pass Tehran anyways on our way up north. Although, after having shown the car to a countless amount of people, the excitement on our side has gone a bit. Since a meeting is usually most fruitful, if both sides fully enjoy it, Benedikt asked Mohammad, if he can provide us with three-phase electricity. That way we could charge the car and show it to him meanwhile. A fully-charged car would also allow us to go straight to the Elbrus mountains and camp outside (otherwise we would have needed to stay in a city one more night to charge the car at a hotel or somewhere else). After having spent 11 nights “indoors” we felt ready for a night in the car.

Charging in Tehran (once more)

Mohammad found three-phase electricity right next to his home. It was in a former factory that hasn’t been used for a long time. The outlets, unfortunately, were super old and we didn’t have the correct adapter. In Iran, we probably already charged more often with a self-fixed solution than with a proper outlet and adapters. We were happy to find a fuse-box in one of the buildings. Unfortunately, we couldn’t disconnect the fuses. That means, Benedikt had to attach our wires with the connection being under high voltage. That can be a bit dangerous… Benedikt calls it “an operation on the open heart”. Luckily everything went well and we started charging with 32 amperes on all phases!

The car was fully charged after about 2 hours (we spend the waiting time at Mohammad’s house). The only dangerous moment with everything being under voltage occurred when Benedikt was disconnecting our wires from the fuse box. While doing so, our neutral connection disconnected from its supposed connection unintentionally. If this neutral connection would have touched one of the phases, our NRGkick could have been ruined. As the NRGkick is still working, we were lucky, I guess.

In busy evening traffic, we left Teheran. In the valley before the PASS after that a decline towards the Caspian Sea starts, we found a quite spot to spend the night.

 outlet/socket  Volt  Ampere  kW  kWh
 Connection to fuse-box  220 volt  3*32 amperes  22 kW  about 30