Part I: Amsterdam - Göteborg return trip by Jaguar I-Pace
Summertime means season of electric roadtrips. It’s the best time to drive with long days in Europe (daylight till 10PM) and dry roads (if you’re lucky). Thanks to the temperature, when not above 30 degrees Celsius, you can also get great consumption on almost all EV’s. Of course the Jaguar I-Pace is not any EV. But more on that later.
I set out on a Saturday morning for Hamburg. Leaving from Amsterdam in the rain. First thing I did was checking in on the newest HPC Amsterdam will have to offer at this Total station next to the A10 (ring road).
In fact, this photo is now a week old and right now you can actually charge your vehicle already, but you have the use the Total website. Only charger #1 is available, and with € 0,59/kWh it’s not cheap, but in line with Fastned when not using any charging card.
From Amsterdam to Hamburg is always a bit tricky since HPC stations for some reason are nowhere to be found near Hanover/Bremen yet. So I decided to take it easy and drive to Fastned Melle and do one big charging session there. Mileage wise not that smart but easy going nonetheless. Many traffic jams made consumption a fiesta. In Hamburg I tried some local chargers, the infrastructure is probably the best you can find in any big German city. For many years now Hamburg has been building a trustworthy network around the city, if I’m not mistaken charging point #1000 will be installed somewhere soon. Read more in German here.
I was curious because I’m carrying a Nuon charging card. In Germany this can be a handy one because it’s supposed to work at the Ladenetz-compatible stations. Somehow it just not always does. I’ve even had mixed results at one and the same charger. Don’t ask me why. So in Hamburg it turns out to be quite useless unless you find an Allego charger somewhere. There’s a pretty cool HPC station west from Hamburg, at Garten von Ehren. (I visited that one on the way back home, YouTube video coming up).
Even though I was driving an I-Pace that’s only been on the road since March ‘19, after charging up and a short coffee break an hour after, the screens of the car went dark again. I lost count of how many times this has happened to me, and my passenger could not believe I wasn’t joking when I explained that we could not listen to music on the Meridian system anymore.
More rain storms followed and huge traffic jams we had to endure before arriving after 18:00 in Hamburg. Obviously I then ran into an Allego charger l that had the CCS connector as busy for days on Chargemap (I just thought, ‘hmm it’s available even though the app shows it’s not’). Might be working and in use by now, if anyone is close please confirm! In the outskirts of Hamburg near my airbnb I found a wonderful free alternative charger. Much recommended, not a single soul in sight at night too.
I also tried my tricks to get the system (screens and sound) back up again. Might publish a video later. No direct result. The next day it started raining again on the road to Copenhagen and I was very curious to try the Aabenraa Ionity station. I only tried two chargers because I was fully loaded up with passengers and didn’t want to connect and disconnect all day. They didn’t want to start the charge with the Jag. Still same puzzle as back in January (I got lucky once after a few retries that time, but on the way back home none of them worked). These Porsche Design chargers don’t seem to be very easy going when it comes to charging up the I-Pace. Still some software issues to solve I believe. I will love the design always though.
Continuing our ride to Fredericia, DK. There we found a Ionity station with four chargers ready to go. They were a bit hidden behind the gas station but yeah. Some indication would be nice. Or a high roof(!) Anyway, the charging session went beyond all expectations and added to my feeling that the failing infotainment can actually be a blessing in disguise. Because my miraculously speedy Honda charge back in December(!) was also happening when all infotainment was down, I’m now thinking this could be (a very weird) pattern. Checks and balances that are not being done and could lead to higher charging values… Maybe it was a coincidence, but isn’t that too strange?
Actually I just realized I had one other crazy instance where A) charge was working where it normally doesn’t: at Aabenraa. B) it was faster than usual, and the infotainment during that ride was also not working. I now firmly believe that the system that’s pushing the actual charging down, is not functional when the infotainment (and other stuff obviously) crashed before arrival at the charger. See the video I shot at Aabenraa in January.
Now we get to the fun part. The Ionity charger at Fredericia actually was my best Tritium experience yet. And I’ve had plenty shitty ones actually (thank you Salzbergen). Just watch the Tritium video embedded below to see the stability of the 100kW charge. Very nice. It set some hopes for the rest of the journey. I was still quite far from Sweden. Temperature outside wasn’t impressive at perhaps 20 C. It did stop raining. I noticed when looking for the Ionity charger that there was actually this big station next door with a beautiful wooden structure.
I spoke with the owner of the Kona, who came over the other way and check out the Jaguar(s) charging up at the Ionity station. Normally Ionity could be considered ‘cheap’ in Denmark (and most other places really). But nothing beats free! EOn & Clever probably want as many usage statistics as possible from this station, it has been up and free for a while now! Go soon! What was very cool is that the driver of the Kona told me there was ‘another station like this’ at the other side of the Big Belt Bridge! So of course I had to check that out.
The e-tron arrived after we had been charging up for 15 minutes already. We left after 30 minutes of charging. The e-tron left a minute earlier with more kWh charged than the I-Pace. What can I say, they went for a coffee and left with 30kWh+ charge. The future is right here. Of course consumption is too. I was allowed a pic of the dash when charging.
Soon we were to arrive in Copenhagen, of course I was very glad I made it this far without spending a lot of money on energy. Because if you look at pricing in Denmark when charging, things get messy quickly. Just look at Maingau or Chargemap when in DK and they will show you horrible prices that go above and beyond a full euro per kWh. A country with so much wind energy. I don’t get it. Also I noticed something when driving around Denmark back in January this year. During my weekend of arrival all the EOn chargers (back then all these HPC’s I visited on this summer trip didn’t exist yet), so I stopped at some 50kW stations, that worked in January without any ID. It was a windy weekend, so I made up the story for myself that when it’s a windy weekend in winter they will put these chargers in ‘free vend’ (but it could’ve been connection issues to the apps and so on, just as well).
I wanted to get back to Denmark in a weekend again to check my theory. There was no wind. Or hardly anyway. And it wasn’t free. At any of the 50kW stations. All these blasting new HPC’s were very much free (they probably won’t be if you read this in 2020, haha). Amazing. Life is good when you’re heading into new territories early it seems. But then the arrival. Copenhagen city. My 2nd time around. Last time I got lucky, any 50kW EOn station I could find delivered free CCS charges back then in winter. I knew it wouldn’t be that easy this time. There is also no Lidl or Kaufland to save you here. All my Couchsurfing requests for CPH failed. So I ended up checking hostels. One hostel I found had a 50kW charger close. And I was just driving around town anyway. I checked it out.
So what can I tell you. The parking spot is not public (from the west side public access is blocked, from the east side you can just come in freely). Yet on a weekend night there were people entering it with their Danish car just to have a sip of wine next to the car. The text saying you shouldn’t park here is only in Danish, maybe you don’t speak it and when somebody questions you, you just explain that life was tough to find a parking spot in the neighborhood (especially with EV, not really true). Anyway, I entered twice in the span of a week, always after 9PM. The charger was never in use. There are many ‘slow charge’ opportunities for the cool E-nv200 vans riding there. So as long as you don’t block them from charging and you don’t park over night I don’t see a big problem with a ‘juice up’ while you stay nearby. Your mileage may vary.
The drive continues into Sweden and I actually had some more cool discoveries and tried out my Dutch Nuon charging card everywhere I could. I will tell you more about that in the next blog. I’ll also share some more info on the ride back home and the chargers used. See you soon!