This entry is a compilation of some thoughts, stuff TW560 or I experienced and some pics of my stay in southern Spain this year.
First, in Switzerland in 2019 there is already a massive market penetration rate of electric cars, especially Tesla’s, but also many other brands. When driving the 20km to my office, I usually can see at least a dozen, if not more electric cars on the way.
In Spain during my 17 days here, I’ve seen a total of 2 electric cars: A Tesla 90D from the Netherlands and one Zoe from a public health sector office. That’s it. Big, chunky combustion engine cars are the craze here.
After a few days, TW560 was looking less white than tan and driving was difficult because of all the sand on it. As I don’t want to scratch the Plexiglass too much, I decided TW560 needed a wash!
Then, I wondered, why, with all the Spanish sun, aren’t the parking canopies all covered in solar panels? With just the surface of the ones for our building all our consumption would be more than covered!
According to one of our neighbors, this is not a question of not wanting to install them – it’s the local council not allowing them to be installed. I haven’t had the chance to fact check this but if true, this would be an answer why Spain’s energy mix hasn’t really evolved during the last 7 years – more on that below.
My family and I get into a very relaxing rhythm of getting up to go and have some Porras with freshly pressed orange juice and coffee before moving to the beach for some further relaxation. Then go back to the apartment during the hottest part of the day for some lunch and Siesta before returning to the beach for some more relaxation. Evenings consist of cooking some food and drinking some G&T’s or strolling along the beach with everyone else and since we’ve been coming here for around 15 years, we do occasionally bump into local people we know and start chatting with them.
Besides taking TW560 on shorter trips for shopping, there are some trips to the local POI’s such as Alicante castle or our usual shopping trip to buy some Turron de Alicante and Jijona. Since this is a delicacy eaten and sold only around Christmas, the only way to get it is to visit the producers just outside Alicante and in Jijona. We all just love Turron.
Another very important thing that completes any vacation in Spain is regular visits to my favourite family-run ice-cream place. So much dedication and focus on quality and variety!
Another task was to add some oil back into my gearbox. It turned out to be quite a search to get the right low-viscosity SAE140-type oil in Spain.
Reading up on gear oil types was yet another rabbit hole I went down waaaay too far! Lucky me I had enough time on my hands! 🙂
After visiting a few garages, I eventually found an Opel dealer who was willing to sell me less than 5 litres of the oil I needed. I was really surprised how expensive this oil is … is Chanel No. 5 made of gear oil?
In any case I need to get some oil into the gearbox, as now, a week later, there isn’t any oil there anymore.
5 minutes after refilling and putting the charger back where it belongs, I peek under the TWIKE and to my dismay, there are already new drops forming. This seems to be a very serious problem that needs to be addressed immediately when I’m back home.
For the time being, I still have enough oil to refill.
On another note, every time I’m in Spain, as we’re not renting, I get to go through the bills and information from our utilities. I covered Spanish electricity generation and national mix already in-depth.
Below I’d just like to lament Spain’s apparent inability to move forward towards a more sustainable energy mix. Below I’m comparing 2011 vs. 2017 for all of Spain and 2012 / 2019 for exact figures regarding the utility my parents-in-law have (not) chosen, as Iberdrola is one of the last resource, base utility for anyone who hasn’t chosen any other provider – in Spain euphemistically called ‘Comercializador de Referencia’, instead of what it used to be ‘Comercializador de Último Recurso’ (C.U.R.).
Spoiler alert: Their ‘reference’ has lots of room for improvement!
Let’s start with Spain’s energy mix – which from a renewables point of view isn’t too bad…as long as you don’t look at what they were able to do in 7 years’ time!
Hmm. Renewables went from 31.1% to 32% – +2.8% – with all this sun? (and potentially wasting lots of potential – see above?)
But: how did our utility develop? This is the energy we’re consuming…
In short – our energy mix in 2018 is MUCH worse than in 2012!
Renewables: 14.3% > 5.2%: -36% (and it already was at only 46% of Spanish average 2011)
Nuclear: 25.1% > 30.3%: +20.7%
Coal: 19.8% > 24.6%: +24.2%
Raising nuclear and coal percentages has a knock-on effect on CO2 and radioactive residues per kWh!
Assuming a Spanish energy mix for TDE2019, I produced 57.7mg of highly radioactive waste to get to Alicante!
It gets even worse if you calculate CO2 emissions per kWh:
Again assuming a Spanish energy mix for TDE2019, I produced 32.7 kg of CO2 getting here.
This is 16.15g CO2 per km. This is still not too bad if you compare this to the 90g-264g CO2 typical cars emit per km…but only because the TWIKE is the most hardcore economical EV out there and I’m a hypermiling junkie. It could easily be double with my TWIKE.
Let’s do the same calculation for a Tesla – Lets assume a sensible driver and a ‘normal’ (motorway) driver > 170Wh – 250Wh per kilometre and the need for quite some A/C in Spain.
For TDE2019 this would be
Sensible driver: 2023 * 170Wh (= 0.073kg/km) = 147.88kg of CO2
'normal' driver: 2023 * 250Wh (= 0.135kg/km) = 273.10kg of CO2
Here comes the usual mantra: As an EV driver it is really important to know where your energy comes from and how it’s produced!
Back home in Switzerland, TW560 is fed (super-fresh and organic) 100% renewable energy – and has been for the last 10 years!
As always, time flies and soon it is time to head back home.
This involves taking out my trusted extension cord that has been with TW560 since the beginning. It bridges the 4 floors between TW560 and our apartment. This installation reminds me of my creative charging in India.
This will be a super-slow charge meant to be ready at 5 am – in time for our departure from San Juan back home. My family will take the car whilst I’m going to stop over in Tarragona and take the ferry from Barcelona back to Genova.
Looking forward to my drive tomorrow!