I want to kick off this blog post by thanking N2S (www.n2s-group.com ) for sponsoring this trip. They are a visionary Spanish business who are helping make the charging infrastructure for all of us to enjoy in the future. They also recognize the value of early initiatives such as ours at Drive & Dream for which I thank them very much.
Preparing this route from Holland to Spain has been a challenge and I wanted to walk you all through the process.
1) With google maps I traced the route start to finish and then chose the general recharge points based on about 80% of the range of the car (400kms in this case)
2) At each charge point I looked for large modern hotels, not because I particularly like them but because they have good power installations that can easily provide a recharge. I like hotels because I can reserve the parking spot and get some help if there is any issue. Typically there are overnight and lunch stops. I figure if we are giving the hotel our business they will help us recharge.
3) Time to call or email all the hotels and find out who has a socket. I request red 32A three-phase sockets as they are great for the Model S and Roadster, and also have circuit breakers that are certainly not going to trip if we charge at 16A three-phase.
4) When I did this for this trip I got very very little response from the hotels. The only places I found were the Novotel CDG Terminal and the Pullman Lac Bordeaux – one in each location. In fact these are not ideal either. The Novotel has a blue single-phase 32A socket and the Pullman didn’t have a socket but said they would prepare it for our visit.
5) For our recharge stop around Poitiers I thought Futuroscope would be an ideal stop off as they have lots of electrical apparatus, and shoud be very interested in new technology. However after many calls and emails, and finally talking to one of the PR team, it became clear that this was not going to happen. That took 4 days to find out though.
6) Poitiers was becoming an issue but one of the Tesla motors France team offered to help – there should be a red 32A socket in the Plaza Hotel. However that was three days ago and when the Futuroscope PR person called this hotel for me they said they had no socket! This happens a lot. A call to the front desk or the reservations line rarely gets a good result because they just don’t know. Most if not all hotels (and amusement parks!) have plenty high-power sockets (all the clothes washers and driers use them) but they are not known as “car recharge points”.
7) Thanks to the guys in the teslamotorsclub.com forum we learned that many IKEAs in Frnace have high power charge points (>100kms per hour of recharge). There is one in Tours so this was quickly changed to be our lunch stop for Saturday.
8) For the trip through Spain I was relaxed. At Drive & Dream we have worked to prepare the Paradores chain (www.parador.es) to offer 32A three-phase charging and the Argomaniz Parador were happy to respond to our request.
So the trip is now about to start, but there are a few concerns:
* The Pullman Lac Hotel in Bordeaux still have not confirmed that the charge point will be ready
* The IKEA – Tours charge point is unconfirmed and may be occupied or non-functional
* The socket at the Novotel CDG Terminal is, as I said, a Blue single-phase 32A socket but I learned a day after closing that booking that the Tesla connector for this socket did not exist (they had told me it did, and I had paid them for it already, but that’s life)! So last night I built an adapter (branches three phases from one) but I have no idea if it will work, and the first time I will find out will be tomorrow night at the hotel with the car empty and everyone tired and ready to sleep.
We will write more here as the trip progresses…