TMC is an independent, primarily volunteer organization that relies on ad revenue to cover its operating costs. Please consider whitelisting TMC on your ad blocker or making a Paypal contribution here: paypal.me/SupportTMC

Renewable Road to Russia (RRR)

Discussion in 'Belgium and the Netherlands' started by LastNLSig, Jul 28, 2016.

  1. LastNLSig

    LastNLSig Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2013
    Messages:
    1,057
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Last year’s Tesla Turkey Tour (TTT) demonstrated that driving the Tesla long distance is very well possible, at times challenging but before anything an enjoyable adventure. Now this year the family holiday planning ‘forced’ me to do a trip to Russia, if not to decide to take it easy and board a plane.

    I did some research this spring to find out how feasible a trip to Russia’s Black Sea coast would be. It turned out to be (at least on paper) rather feasible. But with enough uncertainty to still be somewhat of an adventure. Germany and Poland are easy. Ukraine looked OK for public charging infrastructure but some uncertainty about possible (safe) routing. Russia’s roads are fine but there is no public infrastructure at all.

    Due to work, business travel and some issues with the car that were being fixed, the decision to go for it was made at the very last minute and hence I did not post before I actually left.

    But here it is: The Renewable Road to Russia (RRR) trip. Some 3500 km (one way) from the heart of The Netherlands to Gelendzhik on Russia’s Black Sea coast. Wasn’t sure about the ‘Renewable’. A word used and particularly abused way too often. But I needed something for alliteration and it sounded better than ‘Revolutionary’ or ‘Risky’. After the TTT and the RRR it is clear that next year’s challenge should be the UUU. No idea yet what the destination of that trip could possibly be.

    This year I will report in English so everybody possibly interested could follow along.

    (Note: due to the very last minute departure and 24 hours of driving/sleeping on the first day, I was not able to write a report earlier; I will try to catch up today during charging stops and regularly post about the progress)
     
    • Like x 10
    • Love x 3
  2. LastNLSig

    LastNLSig Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2013
    Messages:
    1,057
    Location:
    Netherlands
    The preparation

    First I checked the possible routing. The shortest route is thru Ukraine and over the Crimea peninsula. However currently it seems impossible to get onto Crimea from Ukrainian mainland with a vehicle that has a foreign license plate. In addition on the way back (on which my children will join me) we would run into problems as you cannot enter mainland Ukraine from Russia over Crimea (as the conclusion will be that you have been on Ukrainian territory (Crimea) without proper entrance registration.

    Driving over mainland also means having to drive around the self-proclaimed autonomous Donbas area. A d-tour of about 500km, depending on the exact routing. There is a choice of the ‘shortest’ route from Kharkiv which leads thru the north of the Lugansk. Not sure about the safety situation there yet. I do not forsee any trouble, but will consult with the local people before deciding to go ther. Alternative is to cross the Russian border north of Kharkiv and from there drive around Ukraine. This would add some more km’s which if at all possible I would like to avoid.

    For charging I prepared some hardware. Last year I borrowed Dirk’s mobile charger and extension cords. This year I prepared my own. I planned to build a charger myself. But then I realized that I have an unused KEBA Kecontact P20 sitting around (which I never installed because at home the UMC on a 16A/400V outlet is working fine). So I took all essential hardware out of the KEBA and with the help a colleague put it all in a robust watertight box. The result is not the smallest mobile charger. But we did it in such a way that all the components can be easily removed and put back in the original KEBA casing again.

    In addition I bought some 32A/400V extension cords (25m total) and either bought or created several adapters so that I can plug into any outlet available. All together I now have close to 25kg of cables and adapters sitting in the frunk.

    In the salon I installed the fridge again (constant 12V outlet I created last year) and created a bed to be able to rest properly during charge sessions. Left back seat down, driver seat all the way forward , an air mattress (thick enough to overcome the ridge between backrest and trunk area) and a sleeping bag make for a full length comfortable bed.

    A spare tire and some tools to be able to improvise when needed complement the survival gear.
     
    • Like x 2
  3. HWS

    HWS Speedjunkie

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2013
    Messages:
    4,962
    Location:
    Zoetermeer, Netherlands
    Great!! Can't wait to read about your new adventure. Loved your Tesla Turkey Tour. Any maps yet about your planned route?
     
  4. Xfrank

    Xfrank Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2012
    Messages:
    5,316
    Location:
    Waasmunster, Belgium
    Good Luck!
     
  5. Rick A.

    Rick A. Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2015
    Messages:
    699
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Looking forward to read up on your next report.
    In regards to this:"Alternative is to cross the Russian border north of Kharkiv and from there drive around Ukraine. This would add some more km’s which if at all possible I would like to avoid." Always choose the safest way, not the shortest!
     
  6. AnalysiZ

    AnalysiZ Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2013
    Messages:
    2,328
    Location:
    de Kempen
    Have you considered to ferry from Varna (Bulgaria) to Kavkaz? And then E97 South?
     
    • Like x 1
  7. LastNLSig

    LastNLSig Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2013
    Messages:
    1,057
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Not an update, but an outlet for my frustration: Thought I finally found a stable Chademo charger in Kiev. Looked stable so I left to get some food. When I come back after an hour the darn thing has switched of minutes after I left. So starting over again with 87km typical range. It will be late tonight before I get to my hotel which assured me they have two outlets for charging. However no confirmation it will be 400V. So if it is 220 I will have a problem tomorrow morning...

    337 km to go. But I should first post some proper updates of the last days and not give priority to my frustration :(
     
    • Like x 3
  8. LastNLSig

    LastNLSig Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2013
    Messages:
    1,057
    Location:
    Netherlands
    July 26, 22:35 Time to leave

    After returning from Fremont (there are other factories than the Tesla factory in Fremont) the day before, I just got my car back this evening. Final preparations took a bit longer than expected. And although tired I decide to leave anyway. During the night the highways in Germany will be empty so I can make a quick first stint. And instead of staying overnight in a hotel I can sleep in the car.

    Goal is to reach (the border of Ukraine) in the first day (24hrs). It should be easy as most of the distance will be supercharged. In addition there is a Chademo charger in Krakow at a Nissan dealer (which I called ahead of time to confirm access).

    Up to Bad Oeynhausen the trip is smooth as expected. Bad Oeynhausen is a strange place where the highway A30 connects to the A2 to Berlin. But the last few kilometers are missing and a normal 2x2 lane road passes straight thru the village (with many traffic lights) The obvious contruction of a by-pass has been fought over for decades and is still in the making. So this place makes for a nice bottleneck and you can be stuck in traffic there, particularly during the holiday season. But not tonight of course with the A30 almost being empty. So I thought…

    Just before the first traffic light there is a sea of flashing lights in all colors (yellow, blue, red). Turns out that I am just one minute too late to pass this heavy load transport on the highway. Now at the entrance of the village there is no room to pass and I am stuck right behind it. The load the trucks carry are two windmill ‘main’ units. Due to the combination of these trucks with several traffic lights, walking thru Bad Oeynhausen would have been quicker. When we finally hit the other highway at the merging lane (up-hill which makes it worse), coincidently this heavy load transport hits another heavy load transport already on the highway. As a result for minutes there is a total stand still of all traffic on either lane.

    Anyway this night I learn that ‘Renewable’ is a proper choice for the title of the first part of my trip. Altogether I think I have seen hardware (wings, main-units, poles, etc.) packed on numerous heavy load trucks, for at least five windmills. It tells me that (if this is common practice every night and on every highway in Germany) Germany is doing a tremendous job in continuing to build its source of renewable energy. At least there is enough to enable Elon to keep supercharging me on my road trips.

    So that is what I do in Lauenau, Hohenwarsleben and Bersteland: supercharge. While charging I sleep a bit. But the charging is too fast to allow some real sleep. But in Bersteland I am so tired that I really fall asleep and only wake up two hours later. 'Rested' for the next part of the trip…

    Left Home: 22:35
    Arrive Bersteland: 5:47
    Distance travelled: 656 km
     
    • Like x 2
    • Funny x 1
  9. LastNLSig

    LastNLSig Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2013
    Messages:
    1,057
    Location:
    Netherlands
    upload_2016-7-28_18-33-3.png
     
    • Like x 5
    • Love x 2
  10. FVO

    FVO Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2011
    Messages:
    2,142
    Found out that Teslaclub Ucraine is placing KebaP20 chargers all over the country!
    Good job!!!
     
    • Informative x 1
    • Like x 1
  11. LastNLSig

    LastNLSig Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2013
    Messages:
    1,057
    Location:
    Netherlands
    July 27, Poland or Popeland


    ‘Well rested’ I leave SuC Bersteland at 7:47. But not after having used the restroom in the Van der Valk Hotel. At the reception I asked where the restrooms are. And while a younger lady answered my question, an older man asked whether I was a guest of the hotel. I told him I was a Tesla driver, charging my car at the SuC. Whithout a trace of hospitality he replied: ‘So what I am a Mercedes driver! Felt tempted to explain him the business model that motivates Van der Valk to have SuC’s installed at many of its hotels. But I knew I would be wasting my time. So I just went to do what I came for.


    After the last bit of the Autobahn to Forst, I enter into Poland. Just before the border I am pulled over by a Polish border guard. A ‘random’ check I guess. While waiting to get my papers inspected, some others perform an informal ‘inspection’ of my car. Then it is on to the worst stretch of highway in Poland. The first 70km is an old Hitler built concrete road. Nothing much has been done to it, except for endless repairs of the potholes. Recent repairs of the repairs have made is slightly better (there are no car damaging holes anymore) But it is still good for a very bumpy ride. However the air suspension absorbs it well and while there is no risk for damage anymore, it is best taken at high speed. (I know from driving air suspended trucks on this stretch)

    At Wichrow I park my car for the last Supercharging session. As expected I am alone at the 4 stall SuC. But within 10 minutes I am joined by a Norwegian and Swedish Tesla. The Swedish guy has been to Krakow and confirms the availability of the Chademo charger at the Nissan dealer. He also checked out the new Supercharger near Katowice which has been under construction for a while. I was planning to do the same, but I can skip that as he confirms it is not in operation yet.

    On it goes towards Krakow. Halfway there I am overtaken by fourty (40!) police cars (with all possible lights on). And in every single one of them the passenger turns its head to have a better look at the car. After the first 10 cars it becomes funny, after 35 hilarious. I pass them later on as they had the great idea to all stop at the same fuel station, making a nice queue. Getting closer to Krakow there are police cars at every highway entrance/exit. Are they there to welcome there friends? Will there be some demonstration of protesting police men? Couldn’t figure it out. Passing by Krakow airport there are security guards at the fence and some heli’s in the air. Something is happening here. In the city there is police at literally every crossing. What is going on?

    I park my car at the Nissan dealer and charge using Chademo adapter. I am welcomed in the Nissan dealership and offered to rest up-stairs. Unfortunately the wifi does not work, so I cannot keep track of the charging progress. The television ainthe client lounge finally clarifies what all the police was about: shortly the Pope will arrive in Krakow! I should have known of course, but as a protestant ‘from above the rivers’ I do not really keep track of the whereabouts of the Pope.

    Anyway, it soon becomes clear that I arrived ahead of the Pope and hence failed his blessing. When I return to the car after some 30-40 minutes, it find that the charging has been interrupted. When I restarted the charger it soon scaled down to 70A. Had to stay in the car to make sure it would not happen again. This charger was of the exact same kind as the charger at lake Balaton in Hungary I used last year. A brand to avoid I guess. Later than planned and with just enough charge to make it to my final destination I take off again. While driving thru and out of the city it is clear that there are many visitors to the city that have all come to see my car. OK bonus or them that they also get to meet the Pope.


    Driving strategy is different now. As there will be no fast charging anymore every kWh counts. However I refuse to go crawling at 80 – 90 km/h, as the purpose is to enjoy my ride as well. I keep it at 110-115 km/h which yields me the ‘typical’ consumption. Hence the car gets me the distance it indicates.

    I find out that the highway has now been completed all the way to the Ukrainian border. Although quicker than before it also got more boring. Particularly because of the endless sound absorbing walls they build along it. The road up to the border is almost empty. Hence it is surprising that at the border it is actually rather busy with long lines of cars. However the EU passport lane is only 4 cars. And although they are just changing shifts (in the past this would mean nothing happens for about an hour) I get out of Poland quickly.

    On the Ukrainian side the first guard (that needs to fill out my stamp collection card) asks whether this is an Infinity (?!?). Next I have to educate the guy inspecting my belongings that he should also have a look at the contents of the frunk. To my surprise it is a younger border official lady that is bold enough to asks me to have a closer look at the car (this is after the official obligatory inspections). Within 45 min I have taken the border hurdle.

    The day is not completely over yet. The last bit you will read in my next report

    (posting this on now as I might be off line for a while)

    Left Bersteland: 7:45
    Arrive Polish-Ukrainian border: 19:11
    Distance travelled: 798 km

    Total distance: 1.454 km
     
    • Like x 8
  12. LastNLSig

    LastNLSig Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2013
    Messages:
    1,057
    Location:
    Netherlands
    My effective progress today 250 km !
    But I have been at roads and places a Tesla has never been before and for sure will never be ever after. A day to quickly forget and a day to remember forever.

    Will try to catch up the reporting tomorrow. Too worn out now. First I need some sleep.
     
    • Like x 4
  13. Basvdpoel

    Basvdpoel Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2014
    Messages:
    781
    Location:
    Alphen aan den Rijn
    Great story so far!
     
  14. LastNLSig

    LastNLSig Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2013
    Messages:
    1,057
    Location:
    Netherlands
    The last bit of the first 24 hrs

    After crossing the Ukrainian border the car goes off line as the European Tesla 3G coverage is limited to the countries of the European Union. So it will probably still be a few decades before Ukraine will be covered. I will have to get the car online again with my mobile Wifi modem.

    Now it pays off to have ‘connections’ (you cannot live without them in these countries). I have been driving Humanitarian Aid truck loads to Novoyavorivsk for about a decade. It is a town, 30 km from the border, built around a factory of some sort that was important for the USSR. But the factory closed down in the early nineties and the town economically died. So I have called a ‘connection’ ahead of time today to get me a Vodafone 3G SIM card as all the shops will be closed by the time I arrive.

    However, to get to that town, there is one more hurdle to overcome. Or more accurately stated: one hurd. Where the road leads thru a small village, I hit the local cow hurd on its way home. At almost every house one or two cows take a turn to return to their home/owner. A post-communist way of cooperative farming. With cows running left and right I do not want to risk my car (like other do) by just pressing it thru. So I have to wait until most of them are gone and it is safe to pass.

    I meet my friend at a hotel/restaurant opposite to the town. It has a KEBA charger at the parking lot. One of those free charger that have been arranged by Tesla Club Ukraine. (thanks!). So while getting my new SIM enabled and installed I charge those few extra kWh’s needed to make it to nearby Lviv. With the promise that we will catch up on the way back I drop him off at his home (so happy he has been in a Tesla J) and set off for the last few kilometers.

    Lviv is a beautiful old town, but this time I do not get to see any of it except it’s old roads that are still in a deplorable state. I reserved a room in a hotel I found via Chargemap.com which is at the border of the city (in the direction I need to leave tomorrow) . Upon arrival I indeed find the Type 2 22kW charger at the parking lot. I plug in the car, register at the desk, find my way to the room and dive into bed. What follows is a total shut down of all my systems. After 24 hrs on the road and 1550 km travelled my battery is empty beyond the bricking reserve.
     
    • Like x 4
    • Love x 4
    • Funny x 1
  15. LastNLSig

    LastNLSig Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2013
    Messages:
    1,057
    Location:
    Netherlands
    July 28: Renewed visit to Kiev

    I sleep well (nice and quiet hotel) and take my time to get up, have breakfast and get ready to go. So instead of the previously scheduled 7:00 departure, I leave at 9:00. The plan for today is to make it well beyond Kiev. This should be possible with one short charge stop somewhere between Lviv and Kiev to add some 150 km range to make it to the Chademo charger in Kiev.

    The day is quite relaxed. After Rivne the road of is good quality and the drive is easy. I enjoy the scenery while I progress at 105 km/h. Just after Rivne I make the first stop to try the first available KEBA charger at one of the OKKO fuel stations. I can easily make it to the next one, but better to take the first available and have the next one as back up.

    Upon arrival the KEBA is functional and ready to use. So I start charging at 32A (22kW). But not after long the charging stops. The car reports that there is no power. So I go inside to find somebody to help. Inside the building I observe that I have turned off the lights in the restaurant part of the station. The tripped breaker is turned back on and charging continues. But again not for long. Thru the backdoor I can now help myself in putting the power back on. This happens a few more times. According to the local technician it is because of the heat (33 deg C outside). My impression is that the 32A charger is not the only installed ‘consumer’ behind the 32A breaker. Knowing there is a back-up at the next OKKO station (but nobody guarantees I will not have a similar problem there) I leave.

    The next KEBA charger does a better job. Although it sometimes reduces the power and once stops. So I have to stay with the car and restart a few times. But it gets the job done and the lights in the restaurant stay on. On it goes towards Kiev.

    Getting closer to Kiev the road gets more busy, the cars newer (on average) and more expensive and traffic more chaotic. A difference between the city and countryside I will notice a few more times during this trip. The quality of the roads in the city is quite horrible. This is also a general pattern in both Ukraine and Russia. The main Federal/Provincial roads are (in general) quite well maintained, but local governments have obviously other priorities for their budget.

    Shortly before arriving at the Chademo charger I get completely stuck in traffic. When I finally get to the scene I find a very complex uneven crossing of roads where there is construction going so that under the viaduct the 2x2 lanes are merged to 1x1 , on the left side of the road a motorcycle has been run over by a car (still lying on the road), a truck is stuck behind it. On the middle of the road a broken down Gazelle mini bus is stuck and underneath the viaduct there is another broken car blocking the traffic. In short: chaos at peak traffic hour. But none of the present officials have any intention to do something about it. Unfortunately a situation in Ukraine you will not only find in traffic.

    At Oxygen Electromobility I am welcomed by a very friendly crew that is more than willing to help me to get the Chademo charger going. They have a really nice and clean facility where they sell EV’s. Mostly Nissan Leave but they also help clients to get Tesla’s the official way. (There are others importing second hand Tesla’s from abroad that fail official Tesla support and guarantee). The first Model X is apparently also on its way to Ukraine.

    While chatting the charger seemed to stay very stable. So I am confident enough to leave the car and go search for some food in the neighborhood. When I return after almost an hour I find that the charging stopped shortly after I left! Very frustrating as it is already getting late. But we can now switch to the other available charger which apparently is ‘better’ (previously occupied by a Leave taxi, of which there are several in Kiev).

    I use the extra time to call a hotel near a city which will be within range before midnight (Poltava), to find out about charging options. To my surprise the very first hotel I call confirms that they even have an official charging station with two outlets. But I cannot get any technical details.

    After 2,75 hours total, I leave with 370 km range (it should have been completely full in less than 2 hours. It is already 20:00 and I still have almost 350 km to go for today. Driving out of the city over the bridge towards Borispol airport I remember my first arrival in the ‘former USSR’ 21 years ago when I drove the opposite route from the airport to the city in an old Icarus bus. Sweet memories. The world has changed a lot in two decades (and so did my mode of transport).

    When I arrive at the hotel late in the evening (driving in the dark is not ideal on these roads) I indeed find the charger in operation but it is not what I had hoped for. I guess it is a 1 phase, 220V (type 1?) standard. There is however a regular 220V outlet available on the outer wall of the hotel, so I can charge with 16A single phase using the MKC (Mobile KEBA charger). Bummer, because of the good progress today I had hoped to be on my way to Russia which only a short stop in Kharkiv to top up tomorrow.

    In conclusion: at every charging stop I made today there was ‘something’ with the charger and/or the charging. But it worked more or less as planned. But for tomorrow, for the first time, I will have to change the planning. It will not be the last time. But that will be tomorrow…

    Left Lviv: 9:00
    Arrive Poltava: 23:35
    Distance travelled: 887 km

    Total distance: 2438 km


    PS forgot to mention that at every stop I made I had to answer all the obvious questions about the car to at least a few people. The fun is not in answering the questions but in the various conversations that follow. Among others I am advised to at all avoid the Lugansk province (even the North).

    PPS Due to eventful days, too much talking at charging stops and some fatigue I am still behind with the reports. However I hope to catch up tomorrow. I might be able to also get some pictures online.
     
    • Like x 7
    • Love x 1
  16. HWS

    HWS Speedjunkie

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2013
    Messages:
    4,962
    Location:
    Zoetermeer, Netherlands
    Hi Daniel, still love to read your reports. It makes it almost sound easy. You didn't even have to make your own converter cables yet;)
     
  17. LastNLSig

    LastNLSig Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2013
    Messages:
    1,057
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Still have to work on my report on the third day. But here is a teaser on where I ended up on day 3. I did some 50 km of this.

     
    • Like x 1
    • Dislike x 1
  18. Wim S.

    Wim S. Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2013
    Messages:
    1,410
    Location:
    De Woude NL
    Video is privé.
     
  19. Edi99

    Edi99 Egbert Dijkstra

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2013
    Messages:
    1,898
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Dat zegt hij toch.. "where I ended up" -;)

    @LastNLSig - leuk om je ervaringen te lezen ! Een ritje naar Italië is daarbij vergeleken maar saai..
     
  20. LastNLSig

    LastNLSig Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2013
    Messages:
    1,057
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Sorry, was very late yesterday evening. Forgot to click the last button.

    Here it is:



    Message from YouTube: We detected your video may be shaky. Would you like us to stabilize it? :)
     
    • Funny x 5
    • Like x 2

Share This Page