Charging in Urmia, Iran

Drive to Urmia

The traffic in Iran is supposed to be one of the worst. I wasn’t worried, since Benedikt got by now good in driving calmly, but also offensive. I had and still have a good feeling that he manages the traffic and so far, he did good 😉.

The traffic is especially crazy in cities. There seem to be no rules (which is interesting on cross-sections). Hosseins house is in the middle of Urmia, where we somehow managed to get to. The battery of the car had only left about 17% of its charge. We needed electricity. Hossein’s house itself didn’t have three-phase electricity.  But by connecting directly to the electric meter of the house, we managed to charge 4.5 kW (instead of the usual 2 kW) at 20 amperes on one phase. That way the car was supposed to be charged at about 80% the next morning.

Discussion on electricity prices

Electricity prices seem a very sensible theme with a lot of people. Also with Hossein’s dad, we had a discussion that, even though it might seem expensive, electricity prices in Iran are not at the level they are in Germany (1kWh costs between 0,02€ and 0,10€ in Iran, compared to 0,25€ to 0,30€ in Germany). Whenever we are charging somewhere, we always insist to pay for the Kilowatt-hours that we are consuming. After having it experienced before, we are a bit sensible when people try to exploit our need to get electricity. I guess it is a sensible topic and it might seem greedy, but for us it just seems like being used or tricked if people ask for a lot more money than they would have to pay themselves for electricity. Hossein’s dad wanted about 12€. That is as much as we would pay in Germany. On our ongoing journey through Iran, we hardly had anyone ask for money to let us charge anymore. Iranians are known for their hospitality. Maybe that made us even more puzzled to be asked for so much more than expected.

Since it was the night of the election results in Iran, Hossein was out celebrating the results and wasn’t at home to mediate between his dad and us. In the end, the problem was solved the next morning, when Hossein talked to his dad and we ended up paying a fair price (5€) for the kWh that we consumed.

We left Urmia with a car charged at 82% and headed east, crossing the Urmia lake (an environmental disaster in form of an almost tried out salt lake) to reach later that evening Maragheh.


 outlet/socket  Volt  Ampere  kW  kWh
direct connection to one phase of electric meter 220V 1*20 amperes 4.5kW about 50kWh

Charging in Meghri, Armenia


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.

Border Armenia/Iran

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.


 outlet/socket  Volt  Ampere  kW  kWh
 Schuko at Bed&Breakfast 220V 12 amperes 2kW about 17kWh