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Stops on the way to the Alps?

Tips on where to stop on the way down?

We’re off skiing in Avoriaz the week before Christmas, aiming to get home on Xmas eve.

Planning to get the 1430 Eurotunnel after the kids break up from school on Friday lunchtime and hope to get to Troyes for an overnight stop on the way down.

Ideally we’d find a supercharger on route for a nice quick-ish dinner on the way down. Anything good at Reims on the autoroute or is there somewhere just off the motorway that’s better?

We think we might leave on the Friday evening from Avoriaz after skiing all day and get a couple of hours of driving in before doing the bulk of it on Saturday.

Snowchains out of stock on Tesla store so have bought snow socks instead (model y Geminis). Anyone got experience with these?

Thanks
 
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I did the round trip to the Alps twice last summer (2021). Troyes is a good stop, huge shopping centre and huge car park.
Found that Cuisseaux - Aire du Poulet was a nice stop on a quieter motorway, but not sure if that is on your route.

I found the motorway superchargers very poorly marked. Once you decide where to stop, do some research as to exactly where they are on the service centre site.
 
I did the round trip to the Alps twice last summer (2021). Troyes is a good stop, huge shopping centre and huge car park.
Found that Cuisseaux - Aire du Poulet was a nice stop on a quieter motorway, but not sure if that is on your route.

I found the motorway superchargers very poorly marked. Once you decide where to stop, do some research as to exactly where they are on the service centre site.
Have booked somewhere in Troyes to stop. Thanks!!
 

WannabeOwner

Well-Known Member
Nov 2, 2015
7,277
4,030
Suffolk, UK
I found the motorway superchargers very poorly marked

I've found that in French aires - non-obvious one way routes around the car park that can make it difficult to navigate to a stall even if you can actually see it! and in one aire which we stopped at the Superchargers were on the exit back to motorway ... I got out of the car and walked to make sure there WAS an entrance slip!

That said, I've found the Lat/Long in the SatNav to usually be accurate, so zooming in should enable a fair idea of where within the car park the chargers are.

I have a number of suggestions:

Stick the journey into ABetterRoutePlanner and see where it says you will stop (adjust for car model / weight / temperature / weather etc). If there are alternative routes worth checking them too (in case there are diversions or SatNav shows terrible traffic, on-the-day).

I make a list of what %age departure I need from each stop in order to reach the next one, and then use that as a double-check when I'm in France.

If it is wet you need more, quite possible MUCH more :)

You could have an "always charge to 80%" policy, which does provide contingency - and, of course, you just charge less at the next stop ... but charging 70% to 80% will be slower than the bit between 10% and 20% ... but not much and given it takes 5 or 10 minutes to get off the motorway, and back on again, personally I think its worth doing.

Plan a lunch stop at a Supercharger and do your level best to arrive at 10% - speeding up will help! turn off pre-condition given you are going to stop for an hour, otherwise you'll have to move the car (- plus save the money on cost of extra energy for precondition). An hour's stop for a nice meal :) will get you to 95+% (remember to increase the limit to 100% ... at busy sites Tesla will set the LIMIT to 80% on arrival - but you can (have to) override that). Of course an overnight stop achieves the same (if hotel has 7kW charger).

We've been driving to skiing "for ever". The "leave after school collection" (arrived at the school with the car fully packed!) coupled with losing an hour time change and French restaurants typically not serving very late means we have stopped closer to Calais that we would ideally like. We then usually left the hotel in the morning before breakfast was available, and grabbed something at the first Supercharger stop instead - to get miles under our belt.

Kids are grown up now, we now start earlier in the day and stay at a nice hotel/restaurant nearer to resort.

On the way back we used to stop skiing shortly after lunch, load the car, and get down the mountain and get to hotel. Now we do the journey in one day, making an early start. We enjoy our lunch, take an hour, and use that for a 10%-100% refuel. Other than that we reckon on 3x 20 minute stops - which are additional to what we used to do in ICE (plus a stop at the tunnel, but that's time-neutral waiting for train). Funny thing though, we are both ancient now, but we arrive fully refreshed. Back when we were in our 20's we arrived completely knackered - swapped drivers every 3 hours, and refuelled every 6 hours. So although its an extra hour in EV it is a WAY better experience. With the time change in our favour, on the return, we get home around 8PM.

There are chargers at Folkstone and Calais ("airside" near the duty free stuff). I think you'll need the Folkstone ones, as the next obvious stop is quite a long way down France (they may have built more since I last went in March '22 - ABetterRoutePlanner will know the answer to that one !)

If you are travelling Flexi in the Chunnel there are a couple of stalls in Calais at the Flexi lounge - which we have found handy. We chose to charge enough there to get all the way home, rather than stopping in UK. It may have improved but the Sevenoaks charger was, back then, the only option for us, is a fair bit off the motorway, has very few stalls, no amenities, and every other Tesla coming through the tunnel stopped there so there was often a wait. The chargers in Calais aren't very fast, but we figured sitting reading the paper in comfort was a better choice - but these days we don't have any kids that need entertaining.

Note that Chargers at the ports are only available outbound. There is a Supercharger in Calais (in Coquelles), so if you are tight for your outbound train, and missing one, in order to have time to charge, would be a significant delay, then you could choose to just go to Calais and charge when you get there - but Coquelles is a few miles in the wrong direction.

Get snow tires. Far better option - and use them in the UK for winter months. They are night-and-day compared to all seasons. Its a big chunk of change, but you only put the Winter 40% of your miles on them, and 60% on your summers, so both sets last longer ... same money at the end of the day. And you don't have to buy chains / snow socks (which are probably a huge compromise), albeit there is probably less than 50% chance you will need them at all - in all the times I've driven to the alps the roads have been clear on most of them

I've, once, driven up the mountain from Moutier to resort with packed snow all the way, in a front wheel drive car with Winter tyres, and I overtook everyone on chains effortlessly and in full control. We were in convoy with a Range Rover behind us - with chains - but even using snow mode he struggled to make much progress.

You might want to carry a card for a French 3rd party charger "just in case". Maybe get a window sticker for the tolls too.

Some links in case helpful

My first Alps trip in an EV


General threads on trips to the Alps, and my experience in March 2022


 
Last edited:

WannabeOwner

Well-Known Member
Nov 2, 2015
7,277
4,030
Suffolk, UK
Note that Chargers at the ports are only available outbound.
Actually, chargers are after check-in but before Passports / Customs - so a bit difficult to charge until last moment to board the train, as the passport / customs wait is hard to predict. The Flexi chargers at Calais are after Passport / Customs, so much easier to keep charging until shortly before departure.
 

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