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Chapter 6 - Day 3 - Best laid plans and a fabulous morning snack

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Chapter 6 Day 3-  Best laid plans and a fabulous morning snack

Today was a bank holiday in the UK so I had agreed with the crew to minimise driving and to have the morning to explore Antwerp. We would then leave at midday to arrive at the Moers supercharger in time for lunch at the Hotel there.

Unfortunately the elevenses at the nearby Chocolate Cafe were just too tempting...

These tasted as good as they look and by the time everyone has savoured their Belgium chocolates time had slipped away. We got back to the Multi-Storey car park to unplug the charging cable about an hour and half later than planned. We didn't think anything o this but it was going to have knock on effects for my careful lunch planning.

My plan had to be to stop at the Moers SuperCharger for lunch which is in the grounds of the Van der Valk hotel about 2 minutes off the main road. Now the Sat Nav in the Tesla did say we could make it all the way to our next stop in Munster if we drove carefully below 125KM/H  but these were German Autobahns we were playing... sorry... driving on and we wanted to test how well the Tesla drove at speed (short answer it is like a roller coaster launching and this isn't even the performance model). I had, therefore, planned to get to Moers and spend an hour there over lunch so we could try 150KM/H plus and see what happened to consumption.

Looking back at our actual consumption we probably would have made it to Munster with about 5% to spare even with the speeds we drove at but I didn't want to give my sceptical passengers any excuses to suffer range anxiety. They were already getting wht they called charger anxiety, worrying where the next charge would be and worrying that we had to charge at every stop. This latter was actually false I probably could have skipped a few charges - particularly the one last night which ended up costing nearly twenty euros for an extra 150KM range and seemed a particularly expensive charge but as part of this exercise I wanted to try a few different options.

Setting off was further delayed when I couldn't get our Type 2 cable out of the charger at Antwerp. Now this turned out to be anti-theft and I just needed to tap the PlugSurfing Fob on the charger again to release it. Once learnt I wouldn't make that mistake again - the perils of being an EV amateur.

As we drove off we did get to talking about how compared to filling a petrol car the whole EV charging infrastructure seems complex for complexities sake. Tesla definitely got it right with the SuperChargers seemingly being able to recognise the vehicle plugged in and organise any necessary payments. 

Free in our case but lifetime free SuperCharging is coming to an end. It has already officially ended for new purchases but if you use a referral code from another Tesla driver you can still get it on a Model S or X purchase. I found out this is going to be limited further later this year when even with a referral code you will only get a year's free charging.

There was a definite difference in attitude in the car between those to whom travel was about the journey and those who just wanted to get to the destination. The fact that the Moers SuperCharger and indeed a lot of SuperChargers wasn't in a rest stop just off the road and you had to drive a little way into town was seen as an issue for the latter. They did make a valid point that if you drive for business you are often on tight deadlines and everything just has to be convenient.  To counter this I love the fact that I'm given the incentive to explore new places and to be fair most SuperChargers are no more than 5 minutes off the highway.

I don't think we have stopped on this trip at any point we wouldn't have normally in a petrol car. Indeed whilst if we drove many cars capable of the acceleration and speed of the Model S we would probably have needed to stop for fuel quite often, its fair to say that in most case the driver needed a stop even quicker than that.

Despite some pretty bad roadworks we ate up the KMs to Moers and once we crossed into Germany could push the speed up to 150KMH (the max on AutoPilot) and have a fairly relaxing high speed journey. I say fairly because again the build quality of this car is a little questionable and there is a fairly loud wind rushing noise audible on the passenger side at anything but really low speed. 

Still the Tesla is undoubtably fun to drive.

As those KMs vanished we found ourselves in Moers and parked up at the nearly empty SuperChargers round the back of the Hotel. Whilst again there was a lack of signage these weren't too hard to find.

We strolled into the Hotel (quite a walk from the SuperChargers) to find that we were too late and they had stopped serving lunch. Now had this been a conventional motorway services we would have at least been able to get a drink and a sandwich but here after waiting nearly twenty minutes for someone to appear in the empty bar area we did finally manage to get a coffee but that was it. 

We gave up and headed back to the car which to be fair was about 80% charged more than enough to get comfortably to our destination. Still the experience was not optimal. As I said at the time I could see why so many videos on YouTube were of Tesla owners eating and drinking in their cars at SuperChargers.

Anyway on we headed with one of the sceptics now driving. They had to admit the car was pretty fun to drive and soon had it, legally, touching the equivalent of 100MPH.  They said they had never driven anything quite like it with the instant acceleration from any starting speed simply amazing them.

They also began to love regen - the process of putting more energy back in the battery when slowing down. At one point whilst in heavy stop/start traffic we had driven 20KM and gained 9KM back in regen. As they put it you can't go into a petrol station and ask them for free fuel because you had to brake lots.

One thing we did have to watch as the car just zipped through the KMs was missing our turns we would be on them before we had noticed the sat nav telling us to exit. 

We did make it to Munster though and got to experience the Tesla Destination charger at the Movenpick hotel (apologies my German friends the editor I'm using whilst mobile doesn't allow me to use the correct accents for Munster or Movenpick)

Tesla destination chargers are basically the same charger as you could have installed at home. The hotel here had three in the underground parking. Again no signage to tell you they are underground and not in the few above-ground spaces but they are very obvious once you go underground and the hotel staff are very aware of the need of Tesla owners and ensure they are not ICEd(the term EV drivers use to describe an Internal Combustion vehicle parking in a EV space) Also what was interesting was that although there were three Tesla chargers one of these was made available for any EV to use (it is basically a tethered type 2 cable.)

The best thing about these chargers, at least at this hotel, is they are free. You do have to pay the same parking charge you would for any car.

So other than a mishap putting lunch plans in disarray the Electric journey went really smoothly today and times very swiftly. To be fair we all enjoyed elevenses so much the missed lunch really didn't matter in the scheme of things.







 
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