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 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 plugshare.com, 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