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New motor burn-in trip

After TW560’s recent motor replacement Seb, a long-time reader of emissionless.ch, wished me luck with my next 191k. Since we hadn’t met for quite a while, I answered his comment by proposing a trip to perform a thorough burn-in for TW560’s new electric motor… and whilst doing so we could meet for some good food and wine.

Just two weeks later, I had a two-day series of meetings in and around Geneva coming up – a perfect moment for such a burn-in, since Seb lives just around 80km from Geneva. With another meeting in Bern to take care of, everything came together for a perfect trip / charge combination!

Good morning! The day looks promising!

Good morning! The day looks promising!

I first head to my office for some meetings – it’s always nice to see the Alps when driving to the office!

A brilliant day awaits!

A brilliant day awaits!

At lunchtime I start my trip towards Bern where I have my first meeting.

Egerkingen - let's have some lunch

Egerkingen – let’s have some lunch

Egerkingen is a small village close to both main Swiss north/south and east/west motorways. Tesla’s’ Supercharger station was at 5/6 occupancy, whilst the 3-in-one Evite charger was occupied, too. I wasn’t planning to charge there anyway, since there is a Park&Charge station just a few metres down the road – in the park garage of a very old (since 1683) Swiss-style restaurant called Kreuz. I’ve charged here since I got my TWIKE 8 years ago. The owners are very friendly / eco-aware and have a love for good service and food. Definitely worth a try … and Gault Millaut agrees with me 🙂

Yes! A free charging station

Yes! A free charging station

Old school system

Old school system

Very happy to be able to charge at full speed I head to the restaurant for a bite.

50 minutes later, I’m back on the motorway for a short 45 minutes drive to Bern.

Berne: 5 minutes

Bern: 5 minutes

Bern is a city with its own full Swiss Alps panorama. Depending on the weather, the Alps seem to be just outside the city!

Berne & alps - beautiful!

Bern & Alps – beautiful!

I’ve come to Bern with my TWIKE since I bought it – the city has many easily accessible P&C and other charging stations everywhere.

I choose the closest charging station to my meeting in Bern: Bern’s main train station.

Always a good bet - Berne main train station parking

Always a good bet – Bern main train station parking

This parking has many different types of parking spots – XXL, Compact, Electric: brilliant!

However, when I arrive at the charging point things have changed from how they were in the past! Instead of 4 outlets for 4 parking spots, there are only 2 Type2 plugs. (WTF?) And… my favourite pet peeve: activation of charge with a RFID from a local electricity provider.

Grrr. Another charging point "lost" to RFID!

Grrr. Another charging point “lost” to RFID!

Luckily, since I employed a somewhat creative manner to enter the parking level where the charging point is located, one of the garage employees approached me and asked what exactly I was doing here. I answered with a question – do you have the card required to activate this charging station? (the answer was yes!)
Bern’s local utility has a total of 4 (!) charging stations for which they have created an own management layer with RFID authentication…and no roaming or other means of authentication/payment for non-bernese ev-drivers. Although – for the moment – anyone can apply for the card and charging is free, this is again a fine example of a solution created by people who either don’t drive electric cars themselves or have never taken their ev further than one charge! Just imagine that with a ‘normal’ car you’d have to get a local card to be able to fill your tank before leaving!

At least EWB is serious about electric mobility as is our largest Swiss car-sharing company!

Electric car sharing

Electric car sharing

We bring Berne electric mobility

We bring Bern electric mobility

Back from a quick 60 minute meeting, I find TW560 fully charged and ready for a relaxing drive to Lausanne, where I will be meeting with an old acquaintance during my charge.

Your smile is my smile

Your smile is my smile

Just across Lausanne’s Palace Hotel I have a 11kW charging point nobody knows about and therefore is always available. 🙂

My secret 11kW charging point in Lausanne

My secret 11kW charging point in Lausanne

Regular readers of my blog know what’s coming now: If you’ve not yet been to Lausanne – it belongs on your bucket list of places to visit. Need convincing? Click here!

No better place to spend some time whilst charging

No better place to spend some time whilst charging

I settle in for a 70 min charge (arrived with a 2% SOC). Sounds long, but yet again: with a live piano, plush surroundings, a cigar and a good conversation I stayed somewhat longer than the actual charge!

This is where I belong :)

This is where I belong 🙂

After bidding farewell, I drive to my hotel close to Geneva. It’s close to midnight when I arrive. The hotel’s name suggests it having a view (Le Beauregard) – we’ll have to wait and see tomorrow.

French Alps, from my hotel room

French Alps, from my hotel room

The view is nice, indeed!

My day today is peppered with meetings. First 2 meetings are in Geneva’s old town, one of which is at Tesla’s Geneva store, since I’m planning an electric car event for my company’s customers for the fourth time, this time for our French-speaking customers. Then a business lunch close to Nyon. After that, I drive back to Geneva for 3 more meetings before heading towards Seb’s place in lower Valais.

friday

As I leave the hotel and start my drive towards Geneva, the city is still shrouded in fog.

Driving towards Geneva

Driving towards Geneva

Tesla’s Geneva store doesn’t have any charging facilities, nor can i park my TWIKE anywhere close. No problem. Just 200m from the store, there is a parking garage with 8 (!) charging points.

Cars with tails

Cars with tails

Cars with tails

Cars with tails

Lunch is coming closer and after a short drive, I arrive at Nyon and am looking forward to some local food.

Lake Geneva is rather big and has a few fishermen providing top-quality fresh perch every day. We dine at a restaurant that buys from these local fishermen. The price is more than acceptable if you taste the fish!

Filet de perche

Filet de perche

After my business-lunch I leave the Restaurant to find TW560 covered in snow for the second time this year. (The first time was during my recent visit to Vienna)

Finally, snow

Finally, snow

During the 30km drive on the motorway back to Geneva I hit heavy snowfall.

Even more snow

Even more snow

Very quickly, the roads turn white and even I lower my speed.

Back to Geneva

Back to Geneva

Hmm. This wasn’t as much fun as it could have been. 🙁

Back to Geneva, I park TW560 in yet another parking garage to charge, since I’ll be needing a full (and warm!) battery to make it to the lower Valais in these conditions later this afternoon.

More charging

More charging

There are just a few design shortcomings with a TWIKE: Accumulation of snow in wheel wells is one of them.

Full of snow - 10% more energy

Full of snow – 10% more energy

Just 30 mins of driving through snow and slush has already completely filled both wheel wells and the snow is now sitting above the tyres, acting like a huge break pad – at a cost of about 10-15% more energy. Let’s hope the snow melts before I’m back from my last meeting for today.

Back from my meeting I was happy to see a huge puddle of water under my TWIKE! The snow was gone and TW560 is ready for a the trip to Seb.

It kept snowing and as night fell, temperatures dropped considerably. All the slush and water froze, leading to very dangerous and extremely slippery roads…Not all drivers noticed this in time. It didn’t take long until I was stuck in the mother of all traffic jams.

Argh! 5 cm snow = chaos

Argh! 5 cm snow = chaos

My ETA for Seb was pushed back by 150 minutes and Google was trying hard to save me some time!

Google getting very creative to save me some time!

Google getting very creative to save me some time!

Endless traffic & waiting!

Endless traffic & waiting!

Tired and cold, I finally made it to Seb’s. We started our evening with tasty food and had lots to talk about since we hadn’t seen each other for quite some time.

Seb makes his living with extreme high-resolution photography and commercial photo spheres for immersive product/real estate presentation on the web.

Seb's workspace

Seb’s workspace

We continue our conversation until the wee hours of Saturday morning. It’s clear that TW560 will be back sometime soon 🙂

Around lunchtime, I head back home although I could have stayed on for much longer. It’s difficult to describe why exactly I feel so at ease when I’m in the Romandy – it’s just a very nice place to be – with good food and very friendly and open people!

Blue skies promise a very nice drive!

A beautiful day to cross Switzerland!

A beautiful day to cross Switzerland!

I took the alternate route back home – away from motorways and past many famous Swiss places: Gstaad, Interlaken, Lucerne, Zug, Zurich.

saturday

Just across the valley, on the southern hillsides, Aigle’s wineyards stick to the steep inclines and make a very drinkable wine. This wine works particularly well with Fondue or Raclette.

Aigle wineyards

Aigle wineyards

Bye-bye, Valais!

Bye-bye, Valais!

The higher TW560 climbs, the more fresh, very white snow from yesterday is still visible.

Heading towards Gstaad

Heading towards Gstaad

Around Gstaad, my batteries are slowly in need of a charge. There are a few charging points available, but I decide that there is only one we can consider worthy for us: the opulent 5*+ Gstaad Palace Hotel. (click here for some Gstaad Palace eye candy)

With its towers, unique architecture and bespoke interior design it has been a favourite destination for the rich and famous for over 100 years. (I just like the look and feel…and the outstanding levels of service and attentiveness of the staff there exhibits.)

Back to TW560’s needs: fresh electrons 🙂

Let's see what happens...

Let’s see what happens…

I drive up to the hotel’s main entrance and wait for one of the doormen to approach before opening the hood. They clearly are bemused by the vehicle but are also visibly unsure what exactly to do with this situation.

What follows is why I like this kind of establishment: I tell the doorman that I would like to charge my vehicle and during the charge sample some of their fine offerings from the bar. Certainly! Welcome to the Gstaad Palace, Sir! We are very happy to offer you as much electricity as you might require. Unfortunately, we are unable to offer you our valet parking service for this vehicle – our head of valet parking services will happily accompany you to the parking garage to show you where to connect your vehicle! We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience.

Charging in style @ Palace Hotel Gstaad

Charging in style @ Palace Hotel Gstaad

The charge is over much too quickly!

I head down the valley towards lake Thun and Interlaken. After the Grimsel pass, TW560’s batteries need another recharge and I’m hungry, too. I decide to charge at Cantina Caverna, a Restaurant deep in the Brünig mountain and part of the Brünig Park, which even boasts a 300m climate controlled, indoor shooting range where Switzerland’s best teams practise.

Nuclear bunker style bar

Nuclear bunker style bar

Nuclear bunker lounge

Nuclear bunker lounge

The entrance to the lair

The entrance to the lair

I already knew the restaurant from the Best of Swiss Gastro 2016 awards and was happy to try it. The very unusual setting deep in the caverns of a mountain certainly added to the culinary experience!

Very happy and satisfied, both TW560 I start the last leg of our trip today.

on my way home :)

on my way home 🙂

From Lungern lake until home, we drive at full speed on the motorway … with a quick 15 minute recharge en-route ….

ABB terra & CEE standard - maximum comfort

ABB terra & CEE standard – maximum comfort

and we were back home.

3 days, cross Switzerland twice, mostly high-speed motorway driving and no problems. This burn-in has been a full success!