The story of the Swiss Cat
Welcome to another holiday blog. After waiting nearly a week for Jaguar to ‘unplug’ my rental cat from the last user using the Remote App, I could finally get updates on my charges remotely. Visiting Berlin beforehand was ‘unplugged’ so to speak. But the Xiaomi helped me out finding cheap chargers. Now in Swiss charging up ‘on the cheap’ is not quite normal, but thanks to eins e-mobil and Ionity, it’s also far from impossible!
The Swiss trip starts with a drive from Konstanz to Basel on a Friday morning. A tactical pickup at Basel-Mulhouse airport of a friend after which we visit the local Aldi Süd for a free charge and a whole list of purchases to fill the Swiss house with German goods.
Driving in Swiss is quite the experience, probably nowhere else in Europe you notice that nobody, really nobody, is driving too fast at any given moment.
Afterwards the mountains really started. Time for a swim, and the Furkapass!
It was a beautiful experience, windows open, A/C off. 50km/h more or less, it feels like you’re driving for free. Downhill was totally amazing. Range just kept on increasing, no breaking needed for the curves thanks to the regen kicking in.
It didn’t take us long to arrive at our final destination: Bellwald. Thanks to a friend I borrowed 7.5m of extension cord for the schuko and yes, it worked wonders. (You have to look really careful to notice the cord going in the house at the first floor).
Time for some hiking, so the car was sidetracked for days on end. But there was also the opportunity for some more grocery shopping and lunch in Italy. So off we went. Powered with my Duferco charging card gifted by a fellow Jag driver, I salute you sir!
So happy I decided to look into the Duferco app, after checking out our opportunities for a Type 2 charge in Northern Italy. Chargemap, my regular supplier, doesn’t ‘know it all’, when it comes to Italy. So be aware you might need more apps to find all the chargers that you need!
After wonderful food and a hike up the hills to an old castle, we returned home. That proved to be a good moment to use the eins e-mobil app. At the local BMW garage in Visp (next to Brig) we charged for 5€, instead of the local Swiss fees that are quite huge if you’re not careful.
Quite the difference with charging up using the Type 2 in Bellwald. 90 minutes costs 12 CHF here. That means to charge up the I-Pace with 10kWh if you’re lucky, you’re paying 12CHF. Which is more than 11€. So be careful when charging up in foreign countries!
Monday we turned out to be surprised by the weather a bit and decided on another journey, to Täsch. Even though it was quite the drive (an hour each way), it maybe cost us 20% of the charge and that’s even in bad weather (rain and around 15 degrees celsius). Still to not deplete energy at the house we decided on trying another 50kW charger in the region. Weirdly enough the other day I couldn’t active the CCS plug with the eins e-mobil app. That’s how we ended up at the BMW dealership. Today we did get lucky.
Time to leave the car behind and head into the mountains! To show you at least a glimpse, here you go.
After some beautiful days (and cold nights) surrounded by mountains, lakes, and let’s not forget lots and lots of Italian pasta, we made it back to la Suisse. Here is one to show you the frunk, filled with the granny charger, 7.5m extension for the granny charger and the regular type 2 cable, all aboard!
Quietly a week went by, lots of hiking, lots of eating, lots of great views. Unfortunately this means getting ready for the ride home. Probably my longest one day trip since trying to race back from Madrid to Amsterdam in March (also in the I-Pace). Bellwald (CH) -> Amsterdam (NL), on Google Maps this gives 955km or 10h30 of driving. But that included an expensive train tunnel that takes you under the Furkapass, that we will not use. We will go up, and down the mountain!
As my company in the car loves mountains even more than I do, we took a ‘soft mountain detour west’ to the Grimselpass. We got lucky because all the racing bikes were heading uphill from the opposite direction. For us it was a quiet morning going up. It was definitely one of my sweetest mornings in the I-Pace yet. Granny charged up to 93%, started by going downhill leaving Bellwald till about 96% and then the way up smoothly started. But heading down from the Grimselpass we had a ‘free drive’ for tens of kilometers I think.
We thought about repeating the charging and buying groceries trick from the way to Switzerland again near Basel (but in Germany), but a Soul was there before us. Minutes. Ha.
Time for the first charging break: Fastned Herbolzheim. After spending hours and hours of driving! We still managed to arrive with a miracle 28% (left at 8:15 in the morning, charging break at 13:00 precisely). Time for lunch!
We meet a fellow Dutchie in a fresh Model 3 doing 140kW charging even above the 50% SoC(!) - Yeah we left after 25 minutes, gaining 33kWh, the Tesla only needed a 13 minute coffee break to do the exact same. Still the I-Pace is a traveling beast. Comfortable seats make life a joy on a day like this. From Fastned we head over to Ionity for another small break, only to find out the eins e-mobil app has a ‘day off’. NewMotion it is. They get lucky this time ;-]
Time to race! Because we will lunch at L’Osteria next to the Fastned which is ‘only’ some 150km away I can easily push forward now. With outside temperatures of 25 degrees celsius and some tailwind it’s a very joyful traveling day. For some more quiet parts (quite a busy day on the road) we head along with the Germans around the 150/160km/h mark.
Service being slow ‘as always’ (this was my 2nd visit) we ended up doing a 1h15 break here. Fully charged up(!) we left for a sprint to Arnhem, NL where we would complete the triple of EU High Speed Charging: after visiting champs Fastned (twice) and Ionity (twice, of which one just for show) now it’s the turn for Allego!
Because of the full charge at Fastned I could push with 140+ in direction of the Netherlands which is a lot of fun when the day just keeps on giving. After yet another smooth twenty minute topup, there was only one hour left. It was 21:50 when we arrived at the doorstep of my friend in Amsterdam. With just four charging breaks, three of which lasted less than half an hour, 1000km of driving (roughly) this was, without a doubt, my most succesful day with the I-Pace since rockin’ many many rental Jags since December ‘18. I wish you could hug a car, because this one definitely deserved a huge one.
I hope you enjoyed reading about my Swiss experience, there will probably come a Switzerland by EV guide somewhere in the near future, but I also still need to translate my guide to Spain, and publish one for Sweden and Denmark. There is a lot of work to be done. Should be easier now that I’m back home safe. I wish you all great times with any EV you can get your hands on, don’t forget you can get your hands on my PDF’s I made for traveling on the cheap (and wise) around the UK, France, Germany by EV if you request advice over here.
Never a miss a blog? Sign up for the electricfelix newsletter.