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TDST2017 – Day1: A beautiful drive to Brescia

As always, the last few days before a trip are a whirl of preparations, getting everything done and looking forward to the drive. Weather is forecast to be perfect – my daughter and myself are very much looking forward to our trip together.

Saturday morning, it’s still dark outside when we get up and start packing our TWIKE. I’ve changed the charge model to maximum capacity trip-mode (as coined by Tesla-speak) and TW560 spent the night slowly charging to 100%/17.7kWh capacity, which we will be needing today.

With 10 years experience and efficiency, we load all our stuff into the TWIKE within just 1-2 minutes and are ready to say good-bye to our family.

Everything is packed, we're ready to go!

Everything is packed, we’re ready to go!

With one last wave, we’re on our way!

Ready for our adventure!

Ready for our adventure!

We leave our village, shrouded in dense fog.

Paradoxically: Fog means sun above

Paradoxically: Fog means sun above

As always, we take a photo of TDST2017’s pilot team! We’re extremely good-looking! ๐Ÿ™‚

TDST2017 - Pilots

TDST2017 – Pilots

After climbing just 50m, we leave the fog behind us and start to see the perfect day awaiting us. The sun hasn’t risen yet – temperatures are still quite chilly.

Deep blue sky - we're looking forward to driving today!

Deep blue sky – we’re looking forward to driving today!

Sun is rising - this will be a perfect day!

Sun is rising – this will be a perfect day!

Since we have to cover about 480km today and want to arrive in time for dinner at our Italian friends’ house in Brescia, northern Italy, we decide to munch up some km by driving to the San Bernardino pass using the motorway.

On our way towards Chur

On our way towards Chur

We leave the motorway just before we get to lake Sufers and have a quick break to breathe some fresh air and take in the view. It’s beautiful as always. Unlike last year, when my youngest daughter and I attempted the same trip as TDST2017 and ran into some major problems, we’re not going to head over the Splรผgen pass to get to Italy.

Lake Sufers

Lake Sufers

Lake Sufers

Lake Sufers

If we would have had bad weather today, we would have taken the San Bernardino tunnel. However, with today’s brilliant weather, it would have been a sin not to drive up the pass! See for yourself…

Sheer driving pleasure!

Sheer driving pleasure!

All pictures here are without any filters or any other sharpening software applied. With the air being super-clear we had about 200km visibility and everything we saw took on a unreal quality.

With our battery slowly fading, we made it to the top of the pass.

We made it - one charge, motorway and climb: 20% SOC!

We made it – one charge, motorway and climb: 20% SOC!

It’s a far cry from my humble TWIKE-adventure beginnings when my TWIKE had a 45km range when driven very economically. Getting here with 20% to spare, having driven 90% at top speeds on the motorway – this is just incredible. Given that I now can coast / regen down to Bellinzona and potentially much further thanks to the energy gotten back from driving down the pass, I am in awe of the technological progress I’ve witnessed during the last 10 years!

No filters, just perfect conditions

No filters, just perfect conditions

One blue sky, heading towards San Bernardino village

One blue sky, heading towards San Bernardino village

Since it’s lunchtime and both of us are hungry, we decide to charge in San Bernardino village. I’ve charged here a few times, usually going the other direction, as with a full battery, I’m able to optimize usage by either discharging a full battery by driving through the tunnel or over the pass before going back to about full by the time I’m back down to Chur. The charging point I usually go to is a very quaint and very old restaurant with a very old owner who 7 years ago helped me out by giving me access to a plug-in his kitchen and letting me charge whilst I had a bite to eat.

Subsequently, after being listed in LemNet and having had a few EV drivers requesting a charge, the restaurant owner had an external 3-phase plug installed and always recognized me when I used to come to charge.

This time however, the plug itself was still active, but the restaurant itself closed until December. The owner still opened the door and told me that a friend of his had installed a charging station just a few metres away, since there were more and more cars arriving which wanted to charge with more than 11kW and he didn’t have any more kW to spare if he wanted his kitchen to keep functioning.

He then asked me if I could go there, attempt a charge and tell him how the experience was… happy to oblige. ๐Ÿ™‚

Nature, private charging point

Nature, private charging point

We found the charging station without any problems – it was functional and had a very mountain-lodge style vibe to it, being beneath a pine tree and all. ๐Ÿ™‚

With this sorted, we went to find some tasty food nearby and left our TWIKE to charge.

Obviously, we didn’t want to fully charge our TWIKE – there was still at least 800Wh of energy to be harvested on the way down … and with a 7.1kW charge, 90 minutes would put us in the perfect sweet spot of having comfortable levels of energy for the rest of the trip and still have enough capacity to absorb all recuperated energy from driving down 1700m to Bellinzona.

Since temperatures are over 20C, we take off the canopy and coast down towards Bellinzona with a distinct summer feeling.

It worked out perfectly. Arriving in Bellizona, we cross the Monte Ceneri Pass with its brand-new Tesla Supercharger with a fully charged battery. From there we cut across Lugano and drive towards the border to Italy, not direction Chiasso to the south, but with a small detour to catch the ferry across lake Como.

This part of our planet is seriously beautiful. Should you ever have the chance to come to Switzerland – please make an effort to include this part of the country in our travel plans!

Last few km in Switzerland

Last few km in Switzerland

We arrive in Menaggio and wait for our ferry. Italians are much more direct than Swiss people – we are complimented with regards to our vehicle and many just exclaim “che bella macchina!”. Lucky us, that we speak fluent Italian!

Waiting for the ferry in Menaggio

Waiting for the ferry in Menaggio

The ferry arrives with 20 minutes delay – no problem – we’re in Italy and things just take time ๐Ÿ™‚

Very small ferry

Very small ferry

7 years ago, during my first trip to this region with my TWIKE, I recorded a video of this ferry – the village at the end of the video is Varena.

Varena awaits us

Varena awaits us

After sunset, we put the roof back on and press on to Brescia, arriving just in time to meet our friends and their extended family for dinner. Everyone jokes that they had expected something to go wrong but were all very happy to see us and that we arrived in one piece.

480km in one day. Comfortable. Easy. This is how travelling with an electric car is definitely fun!

We’ll have a drive-free day tomorrow and will be meeting more extended family and visiting some of the places I couldn’t go last year.

TDST2017-Day1 GPS Track

TDST2017-Day1 GPS Track