we leave early and drive towards the hills. we decide not to charge at the first stop where everyone else just eats breakfast but to press onwards, albeit very slowly.
we are sure that with very economic driving that we can make it or that we just need to charge for 15-30 mins somewhere.
the climb is very steep but the road is mostly ok, we therefore even have some time to concentrate on our surroundings which are stunning. lush green forests and palm plantations.
we get to the plateau and quickly do some maths – we are about 1.7kWh short of what we need to get to belgaum. this is – given a standard 10A plug – about 40 mins of recharging. this by the way translates to about 3 chais and some chatting about the TWIKE to the local people.
the first chai place tells us, that it would be absolutely no problem to get electricity. however, there is none. the grid is down due to some failure.
furing the next 20kms we try over and over and get the same answer: grid down, we do not know when it’s going to be back. 🙁
finally, before we head out on another 20km stretch of road which then would have been too long for our remaining charge, we head to the local police station of the little dusty village we’re in and ask them about electricity. none, is the answer. but there is a woman there who starts talking to the police officers and they then direct us to follow a car – they would give us electricity.
very interested in this offer we followed the car for about 1km and arrived at the local hospital. they then directed us to a plug which indeed was live. entering the building, i then saw where the electricity came from: an UPS with 4.6kWh capacity!
i told jc to just go for 5A, which would take us just about 1.5h for the 1.7kWh. the UPS didn’t like this too much… it went down in just a minute claiming to be overloaded. we reduced our charging rate (which is such a godsend with the TWIKE, since most electric cars don’t really give you any choice else than 10 or 16 amps charge rate) to 2A (466W) and started charging. at this rate we would need more than 3 hours to get the required energy…. i installed my office (mobile network with agonizingly slow gprs was up) and settled in for a 3 hour session working and phoning with my team members.
unbeknownst to us the hospital director and the police had phoned up the energy provider and told them that they needed to bring our sector back on-line because there was an electric car that needed to charge its batteries. (there was no fault in the grid – it was simple load-shedding)
as complicated as things seem sometimes in india, they got the grid back up within 30 mins and after some minor startup fluctuations, we were back in business! hurray!
the road stayed very very bad.
we eventually had another part of the TWIKE that said to itself “enough is enough”. the hood locking mechanism broke (solid metal tube) and left us with a hood that could no longer be closed and popped up if not held down!!
i think it’s time for the TWIKE to get back to switzerland for some serious TLC! fortunately, the wave is only another 3 days and we’re praying that the roads will be better from here onwards. in belgaum we charge our completely empty batteries with 2 phases and although we are by far the last car to arrive, we’re the first one to leave with completely charged batteries!
the drive to kolhapur is dark, uneventful but on a very nice road. good night!