After a very nice evening with my friends in Brescia, it’s time to head back home.
Instead of choosing another selection of small road across the Alps, for today I chose to try a recently-built stretch of Autostrada that will take me to Milan quicker and with less traffic…and with a much better road surface.
We say our good-bye’s and off I go, promising to be back soon!
The motorway is as free as expected. I get TW560 into a truck’s slipstream and settle into a 1h20 drive to Milan. The road surface and the Pianura being flat brings my consumption to around 47Wh per Kilometre…at 95km/h!
Hitting Milan’s morning traffic I spend some time surprising local commuters – which was real fun as Italians are less reserved when showing emotions.
Every time I arrive at a toll booth on the Italian Autostrada, it somehow feels so different and special – I remember my first own trips to Italy by car in the mid-1990…fumbling around with Lira notes and never really knowing what to pay.
Before leaving Italy I always make a point of having a mindful moment with my last good coffee at a bar…today a highway restaurant must do as I don’t want to leave the Autostrada.
On Swiss soil, I have to decide where to charge, as my battery’s capacity will not allow me to do the full distance on one charge.
Nowadays, most petrol stations along Swiss motorways have EV recharging infrastructure of one or the other sort. Here in the Tessin region, there are a only cable-attached high-throughput chargers that I currently cannot use as I only have a Type2 male connector cable and need Type2 plugs (or normal plugs) which are getting increasingly rare.
On the other side of the parking lot we see one of the new contenders for a pan-European charging network – Ionity.
The usual RFID nonsense leads to very interesting pricing depending on your charge roaming provider. I currently travel with around 6 cards … just to get access to electricity!
I decide to press onward and charge at a restaurant after the St. Bernardino.
Further up I can see quite a lot of snow – I know that the pass is closed and will have to take the St. Bernardino motorway tunnel to get to the other side. I just can hope that the weather and road conditions are fine, as I’ve run down my tyres very far. Essentially I’ve got my favourite style: slicks without any grooves at all! (which are the most energy efficient, if a little dangerous)
I needn’t have worried: the weather is nice and there isn’t any risk of ice or snow on the road.
Arriving at the tunnel’s portal, I’m down to 8% charge and really looking forward to charging at the restaurant just 10km down the road after the tunnel!
Unfortunately, the northern side of the Alps are grey and cold. I’m looking forward to the charge and having some lunch!
But, as happens many times nowadays (and seems to me to be the current norm for my charging attempts), the commercial charging station just outside the restaurant doesn’t activate the charge. Wasting over a half an hour with a support person we discover that the charging sticker with the activation QR does not belong to the charging stations – so my scans were activating some other charging station at an entirely other place!!! But I wasn’t in the clear yet, as the remotely activated station didn’t charge my TWIKE either due to some insulation fault that immediately tripped the circuit breaker… I got increasingly frustrated and decided after this 30 minute waste of my life to press onward and find another charging station.
Fortunately, this isn’t too much of a problem since I’m at 1400m and most of my driving down the valley is rolling or recuperating.
25 km further I pull in front of a woodwork company which advertises a Type2 plug without and RFID or other payment method and am pleasantly surprised to find a reserved parking spot and a free plug. This time I’m charging within 3 minutes and enjoying the quick chargers slowly giving off some heat into the TWIKE’s cabin as it remains very cold.
Plugging in my TWIKE I let my mobile phone fall to the ground and broke the screen. As the screen still worked I was able to backup all my data and photos to my server at home during the charge.
My last charge for this trip is to 80% as I want to get home quickly and take the motorway, estimating the energy I’ll be needing.
Off we go! The last 200km are uneventful and I arrive back home safe and happy… but cutting very, very finely.
Another TWIKE adventure has come to an end. It’s been fun and long-distance TWIKEing is still lots of fun. Plus: Italy is definitely my country and I’ll be back soon again for more!