Charging in Turkmenabat, Turkmenistan


We had to have a guide with us anytime during our stay in Turkmenistan, except for our day in Ashgabat (there is enough police present in the city that guides aren’t necessary – that is at least my theory). We chose to travel with a tourist visa (and not a transit visa that wouldn’t require a guide), since this allowed us to plan better ahead. Many transit visa get rejected (this year roughly half of them). Further on, we wanted more than the minimum amount of 3 days of the transit visa to cross the country.

On our last evening in Turkmenabat, our second guide returned to Ashgabat and Bac, a local tourist guide, started accompanying us. He arranged that we could charge the car (three phases connected to fuses) at a car workshop opposite of his home. He invited us in the evening to join him to visit some friends. Turkmen people are just as hospitable and welcoming as we know that Iranians are. We enjoyed pelmeni, barbecue, Ukrainian Vodka, Turkmen tea as well as bread, baked in a clay oven in the back of the first family we visited. We feel very privileged that we could enjoy this fun evening with Bac and his friends.

Leaving Turkmenistan and entering to Uzbekistan

The next morning, Bac brought us to the border and helped us exit Turkmenistan. His help made this border-exit to one of the easiest. Unlike expected, the border crossing into Uzbekistan wasn’t bad at all. It took a while to fill out the customs forms and to get our medications checked (Uzbekistan is very restrictive on what kind of medications can be imported). All border guards were very interested in our car. We showed them some of the features of our Tesla and distracted them from their routine. That way, the car control was quite superficial. It took us only about 2 hours until we were in Uzbekistan. Compared with our last border crossing that took about 8 hours (see this post), this felt almost like nothing.

 outlet/socket  Volt  Ampere  kW  kWh
 connection to fuse box  240 Volt  3 * 16 amperes  12 kW  35 kWh

Charging in Mary and visiting ancient Merv, Turkmenistan


It was possible to charge the Tesla at the hotel in Mary. There was a three-phase connection outside the building and we just had to connect our open wires to the fuses.



Mary is an oasis city in the Karakum Desert. It was an important place of shelter and trade on the historical Silk Road. The city followed the streams of the Murghab river. The current city Mary exits only since about 150 years. 5 older cities with traces of village life as far back as the 3rd millennium BC. Not much is left of the older cities. The area where they used to be is now known as Merv. One can still visit the city walls and some buildings today. The areal is huge and one can imagine that Merv was in the 12th century for a short time the largest city of the world.

We visited the ancient town after a night in Mary. It was impressive, even though the sun burned down and it was terribly hot. After this visit we drove 200 km on bad roads from Mary to Turkmenabat. Benedikt had to pay close attention to the road to not drive into one of the many, deep potholes.

 outlet/socket  Volt  Ampere  kW  kWh
 connection to fuse box  220 volt  3 * 12 amperes  7 kW  45 kWh

Charging outside of Ashgabat, Turkmenistan and having a crazy border-crossing

Exiting Iran

It was a few minutes past 9 a.m. when we arrived in Bajgiran at the border between Iran and Turkmenistan. We were supposed to meet an agent of Hossein (Hossein was the one bringing us into Iran at the first place – see this post). We only found him after already having passed through the first police checkpoint. A confusing process to export our car from Iran started right away. I had expected a short wait and quick-and-easy process (we just wanted to leave the country…), but I got proven wrong (again). Benedikt and I criss-crossed the border buildings, always following that agent (who only spoke Farsi). We waited and waited, went downstairs after a while and finally got exit stamps in our passports. After that was done, we couldn’t find the agent anymore.

It was probably over 1.5 hours later that I finally found him. He was at a very particular clerks desk. A guy there started to explain to me that we have a big problem. Our customs paper indicate that we would leave Iran at the Nordooz border to Armenia and not to Turkmenistan, where we are right now. The paper also stated the car is grey, even though its main color is black. The people from the Bajgeran border already contacted the customs officials in Nordooz. Everyone is waiting for a letter of the border boss in Nordooz that indicates that we can leave Iran towards Turkmenistan. I was told that this can take 1, 2 or 3 hours or a day. A day?!? I started to be really concerned. We had to get to Turkmenistan that day. Our whole trip, including guides, hotels and visa, was planned that way that we should enter Turkmenistan on the 17th of June (it is obligatory to have a planned trip with a guide in Turkmenistan if you enter the country with a tourist visa).

At around 1 p.m. we got informed that the letter of the border in Nordooz arrived! Ufff…. Because every border official had to type our customs form in their computer with a slow two finger method, it took another hour till we could leave the building. At 2:30, after about 5 hours at the Iranian side of the border, we finally left Iran.

Entering Turkmenistan

The Tesla had to wait in no-man’s land, while Benedikt and I got our Turkmen visa in the police building (we only had letter of invitations from a tour company). I was taking the passenger way, while Benedikt got the car registered (btw: we had to pay petrol-tax even though we tried to explain that we will not use petrol – it wasn’t understandable for them). We met our first tour guide and driver, Mr. Zadar, who was already patiently waiting since 11:00 a.m.

Compared to the Iranian side of the border, the border process on the Turkmen side went extremely smooth – until the final step… We waited and waited and nothing happened. Only afterwards, the tour guide told us that the color of our car (black), tinted windows and colorful stickers of our Tesla were too much for Turkmenistan. The border officials weren’t sure if it is allowed in the country (their president has a strong preference for white cars…). After many discussions, some official decided that the car should not enter Ashagabat, but would be allowed to transit Turkmenistan. In Ashgabat, everything is marble white, and so have to be the cars. It was probably the strangest city I have ever been to.

Ashgabat and a long drive to Mary

Our guide found a parking spot for the Tesla outside the city. We charged at a Schuko in a small car wash in that parking lot. Unfortunately, the tour operator arranged a price for the electricity that was way too high (electricity is in most occasions free of charge to the people in Turkmenistan; petrol only costs USD 0,30 and gas is free as well).

We spent two nights in Ashgabat in the most luxurious hotel of our journey. On our third day in Turkmenistan, we left Ashgabat and continued a long journey to Mary (380 km). Benedikt and I were a little worried about this leg of the trip, since it really depended on the weather conditions how easily we could make it (the distance was quite far). Luckily, there was almost no wind. We drove slowly (around 70 km/h) and sometimes behind trucks. With 24% left we reached Mary. Way more than expected!

 outlet/socket  Volt  Ampere  kW  kWh
Schuko 220 10 amperes 2 kW 35 kWh