Part II: Amsterdam - Göteborg return trip by Jaguar I-Pace
A lonely ride up north. Crossing into Sweden was easy. I don’t want to speak about the toll. Tunnel & bridge. I showed my drivers license to the lady at the border, no interest in passports here. If you are interested in my first hour on the road in Sweden, you can hear (and watch) me right here.
So on to my first Swedish charging experience. Thanks to a free charge up in CPH it wasn’t necessary to reach Halmstad (a two hour drive). But over there the map showed little opportunity. On my way I found a charger in the Dutch Nuon app. Next to IKEA. And yes, it worked wonders. Toilet & charge break time.
The adventure continues. My first steps on Swedish soil. It’s already history. I love these quiet roads. I spot some Norwegian and Swedish Tesla cars. Also a couple of Leaf cars (old and new). In Halmstad itself there are a couple of fast (50kW) and slow chargers. Bee, EOn, Clever, InCharge (Vattenfall) they all have their stations here. It’s not a lot but at least you’ve got options.
Of course with my friend that I’m meeting here we visit the Systembolaget. The only place that is allowed to sell alcohol in this country. Even though in bars the sales of alcohol is apparently very easy going. Since my friend is about to go to work, I head into the countryside for the night. I find a hostel nearby a lake, and a twenty minute drive from a Lidl with a free charger!
I’ve made a small point about it above. But just because I couldn’t believe it I have to repeat it. Next door to the charger there is a Burger King ‘restaurant’. I’m not a fan, nor do I come there a lot, but nowadays I find some of these places next to my Ionity & Fastned stations, they have decent toilets (sometimes) and so on. Why not have some fries. Or. A Rebel Whopper. A Rebel Chicken. Halloumi burgers. What? Yes when I came in, the biggest ‘ads’ hanging above the people working here, is this huge sign with all their ‘Rebel’ alternative burgers. With fake chicken and fake cow and all. Tasty. Not cheap. (Nothing in Sweden is?) We’re entering a new era where a Burger King is actually really trying to sell you a burger without meat. I was surprised. Really surprised. And I’ve been eating ‘Groentenburgers’ from McDonald’s since 1993 in the Netherlands (they don’t sell these anymore, now they have a vegan fake chicken thing that I’m not in love with).
Sweden I love you! Driving for 15 minutes to get to the ‘bigger road’, all by myself. 10AM. Can’t remember the last time I spent 15 minutes in a car without any traffic. So I’m actually traveling back to Halmstad, to have lunch with my friend. Charging up with the Nuon RFID at this community centre or what is it exactly? It’s a Vattenfall/InCharge connected charger, so it works like a charm. Only 11kW though. Which means the I-Pace ‘struggles’.
Before we decide to head north to Göteborg, the weather seems more promising tomorrow for a beachday nearby. I look up charging opportunities in the big city. Göteborg has plenty of chargers, trying to find out more about pricing I click through some links I find in the Chargemap app. This then for some (lucky) reason leads to reading about the local energy company placing a new HPC near to the central train station. Goal set for arrival. Because there is one thing these recently built HPC’s seem to have in common (even Ionity does it in the first weeks after opening a new spot): They are in ‘free vend’ mode, most of the time. Still unconnected to the roaming deals and so on.
Many road works near the central train station lead to some miles wasted. But we get to see some extra, haha. The charger was not on Chargemap yet. I put it there. I’m so happy to be one of the first people charging there, at least it feels like that (it’s been put in place in May). Although I also think it’s important to connect to the right apps immediately. Because who will charge here if nobody knows you can! Anyway, you will be able to find the charger right here.
Time to enjoy the city, we find a parking with chargers where the Nuon card works thanks to Vattenfall roaming. Since Göteborg is quite hilly, I notice a lot of electric biking going on, and also shared scooters by Lime and other brands seem to be ‘everywhere’. Not yet as popular as in Paris, but it will come, although in winter obviously just too cold I think. Beautiful city, much recommended to visit, and easy to charge up when parked. Be aware that many chargers are in paid parking lots which means double costs. Then half an hour of HPC’ing might make sense, economically! Right now of course, in the future we will have to see if they cut tariffs for electric cars parked and so on. In Hamburg for example in the centre you’re allowed two hours of free parking when driving a (German) electric car. They want your license plate to show you’re driving electric. Bit of a nuisance when coming from abroad..
Fast forwarding to the next day back in Halmstad we cruise along the coast and visit the local beaches. It’s a very sunny day, the sea is like a swimming pool, calm, not cold, and oh so clear.
Almost only Swedish license plates near the beach. This place is not well known to a foreign crew. Which makes it all the more fun. Feels like a secret place. And it’s so pretty. The most beautiful day of the holidays yet. Clear Blue Skies. It’s also my last day here, the ride back home will start soon. I will sleep in Copenhagen tonight, the car will be full of people to Hamburg tomorrow. I don’t know where I will be sleeping though yet, haha. I even don’t know for sure where I will charge, but I know where I will try!
On my way home I pause for a photo break at Ionity Malmö, I also realise I forgot my jacket in the closet of my friends’ house after driving south forty kilometers. Even though it sucks to lose the range, I turn around because I don’t like to ask my friend to take my summer jacket on the plane later in August, doesn’t make any sense! I’m not in a rush anyway. But turning around in an electric car always feels a bit wasteful. Interesting how that works mentally.
Extra fun when the charger (I didn’t really need) is marked offline on Chargemap and I can put it back to online after a succesful charge. The beautiful day turns slowly into a beautiful evening and I’m following the advice my friend gave me; paying a short visit to Lund on the way south. I’m impressed by the town and thankful for stopping.
Sunset over the bridge that connects Sweden and Denmark, it’s so quiet on the road. Some Depeche Mode blasting on the Meridian soundsystem. Even though it’s lonely out here, it’s good. Peaceful. The outskirts of Copenhagen are back in my face in no time, and I can look for my charger and a hostel again. I decide to try out a new hostel and use my Xiaomi device to stroll around town.
Meanwhile in Copenhagen especially it seems charging is optional even when parked next to a charger. This seems very counter intuitive to me and I don’t really understand other than that charging is very expensive so maybe people want to save on juice, but how to drive then? This is a very normal image in the city. And here even one out of two cars, obviously the I-Pace, is plugged in.
I still have to look into pricing on these Clever chargers, there must be a trick to pay a better fee than with Maingau for example, around a euro for a kWh is obviously not gonna work out with the Jag. The next day after a disappointing and overpriced breakfast I headed out with a fantastic and joyful BlaBlaCar crew in the car, to the free Fredericia HPC charger!
Driving all the way down to Hamburg the temperature seems to go up and up and up and up some more. It’s 35+ celsius when we stop some 70km’s north of Hamburg to juice up quickly at a Ionity station. Around 4PM I drop the crew near the Hamburg Hauptbahnhof and I just made up the plan to continue driving to Amsterdam, one of my passengers wishes to join. Because I’ve wanted to try the HPC from Allego next to Garten von Ehren since I found it not working back in January, I head out of town and shoot a video there.
I will show you the video below that I recorded when all was fine and hot around Hamburg still. Just before I looked for a bakery and on the bicycle lane got hit by a car riding my Xiaomi roller. Oops. Bicycle lanes without actual bicycles in them are not to be trusted. Don’t expect anyone to look, because nobody is using a bike outside of the city centre it seems.
A great friend then booked me hotel next to the Hauptbahnhof so I could recover a bit before going home. After hours of waiting and some x rays to check on me in the hospital “I could continue the ride”. Not all my body parts were feeling so good. It was time for a drink. I did get right back on the Xiaomi again, it beats walking when in pain, haha. Made it back ‘in once piece’, sort of. In the morning I go on an adventure after charging the thing in the hotel. Great coffee, tasty vegan breakfast, all thanks to recommendations of friends. In the afternoon it’s time to head out. We hit major traffic jams all over Germany but after three hours and then some we make it to Autohof Salzbergen.
I don’t know if the Jag software changed, or the station did, or both. But I’ve been back to Salzbergen with two Jaguars now and it worked fine both times. Which is a statistic unhead of just months ago. Makes me happy. Thanks Ionity, thanks Jaguar. I’m very glad that this station is now very useful indeed. Just before the Dutch border. In the evening back in Amsterdam I went to check on the latest HPC installment at the Total station.
With a friend I decide to check on the newest Fastned near Amsterdam. Because we love Fastned. Such an important company for e-mobility in the Netherlands. Any EV can drive safely around the country thanks to them. Keep it up!
This new Dutch HPC corridoor shows where we are going. Fast charging will be everywhere. The expansion of the HPC networks around Europe I have witnessed this year: I traveled to Denmark in January, and I just did it again, and the changes, in less than half a year, I can travel without planning now. There are fast chargers everywhere when you get to Denmark. Weird thing is that still, between Hamburg and Amsterdam the situation is ‘less than ideal’. Hanover and Bremen are weak spots in the German HPC infrastructure, and there seem hardly any stations planned, which makes it even more strange. I hope Ionity and Fastned will come to the rescue, again.
It’s Friday night so obviously I went to visit the Allego HPC next to Nieuwegein (again). And it seems only the two chargers most right on the parking lot are actually accepting charging cards. (Didn’t try app activation on the others, sorry for that). Because actually that would have been nice to try, because I will close out this blog about my Nordic travels with advice on the latest and greatest charging card from the beautiful Sachsen. It’s EINS e-mobil app. Five euros for a DC charge session at any Allego station. Also AC by the way. Especially with cars like the Jaguar, but also Audi, Model 3, any big battery, Kona, e-Niro, you name it. Super useful. Who knows how long this will last. Enjoy the summer! Oh yeah I would have never known about EINS if it weren’t for Maarten at laadpastop10, a true inspiration. He writes in Dutch. See you somewhere in Europe.
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