Our time in Perpignan was great – especially meeting our friends and spending a full evening at their converted old house and lounging at their swimming pool whilst sipping rosé wine.
Today, we’re going to be driving another long stage which in this TWIKE translates to >300km. For this I’ve been charging the TWIKE very, very slowly during the last >24h which charges the battery at a rate at which it can store a sliver more energy in comparison to when it is charged at a normal rate
As said many times before, lithium batteries don’t like to be stored when fully charged. They age at a high rate, when they are at 100%. This is why I usually sync the end of the charge to be as close as possible to the departure in order for the batteries to be at maximum SOC as little as possible.
Thanks to the ability to reduce the charge all the way down to 1A / 240W and the relatively precise remaining charge duration estimation of my Dreifels DFC 30 controller (THE aftermarket addition that makes every TWIKE so much better – TW560 has had this controller since 2010 and I’ve never looked back!) and the ability to send me a text when the charge is done, I know exactly how long the batteries are at full charge / when the charge has completed.
As during the last few driving days, we start very early to cover some distance before the great heat.
That said, the temperature at 5.50am was already at 27°C.
Today will be a special day for TW560: in just a few kilometres, my TWIKE will have done over 300k! An epic achievement and testament to the ingenious concept behind the a TWIKE: simplicity combined with repairability – more on that in a moment.
Off we go! The picture below is brighter than it actually was.
About 45 minutes into our drive, we get to see the sunrise – a beautiful spectacle!
And in this beautiful setting, we’re about to see another special moment…
Boom – from 200k to 300k in 6 years. It took much longer than from 100k to 200k! I’ve definitely been driving my TWIKE less since I’ve stopped commuting to the office on a daily basis!
Every TWIKE with a DFC30 controller has two kilometre counters – the one on the controller which is very precise and another one on the inverter which is … less precise. I’ve largely ignored this one since I got my DFC30 but for the sake of completeness and in order to be able to compare with non-DFC TWIKEs I took a picture of the inverter count. A delta of 36k in 22 years.
The place we stopped for the 300k photos was very nice and the sunrise was just perfect. No noise, no traffic, just us and nature at its best.
From here we continue driving along the last few km of Frances southern coast – from one sleepy town to the next.
After not too long, we run out of France to drive along 🙂
The road from here has seen quite a few TWIKEs in the last 15 or so years. Even TW560 has already been here during TDE2019, not so long ago.
This stretch of road is one of the nicest coastal roads I know. It has all the goodies – hairpin bends, lots of steep inclines, very little traffic, beautiful vistas and sleepy little towns to stop and have a drink.
After this treat, we are slowly getting hungry and feel like having some breakfast. We could have had some in France but there is another thing that both my wife and I think it would make sense to wait until we’re in Spain…
Our favourite food: Churros (or, if available Porras) Addictive, hot, sweet, crunchy – foodie heaven! Combine this with a good café con leche and some freshly pressed orange juice and I’m a happy camper!
From here, we’re back to driving on very small roads along the coast on our way to Barcelona.
This drive is just beautiful – the small road meanders along the coast, sometimes 150m above the sea, sometimes directly at the sea, in and out.
Tossa de Mar looked the bit and both my wife and I felt like it was time for some Tapas and drinks since the temperature had gone up considerably and we were ready for a break.
We parked the TWIKE and walked down to the closest chiringuito just a few metres away, leaving the crowd (which I shooed away for the photo below) to look at the TWIKE and wonder what it might be.
After our break, we drove along in ever-rising temperatures. An hour later, we felt it would be a good idea to stop at a Carrefour to catch some cool air, buy some beach stuff and …whilst we’re at it, charge as it was complimentary and accessible without any activation.
To our surprise, we parked alongside a Swiss Tesla charging along at 7.1 kW (32A on one phase). This is very slow for the Tesla… for us this is the fastest we can charge!
After just a half an hour we’re ready to go again and with 3.5kWh more in the battery, we can drive toward Barcelona at a higher speed than we had initially planned.
Speaking of which… you might remember my trip back from Portugal during TDP2021 where I set up an account with Barcelona’s low emission zone administration and registered my TWIKE for entry into town? The process was pretty laborious including sending scans of my vehicle papers and registration fees and days’ worth waiting until everything was in place?
How handy to have the account now! Just log in and add some additional days, right? Well, kind of. Since it’s not yet a year ago, my last entry still counts towards the remainder of entries I’m allowed for 12 months.
The registration of the days itself worked fine, but the payment portion of the process always failed for some reason even after trying 4 different credit cards.
Pagament completat remained a firm ‘no’ – we even tried during our drive to Barcelona. I eventually found a number to call and the kind lady on the other end told me that, well, it wasn’t my fault that my cards were being declined and the process not working as their payment processor stopped accepting foreign cards … for the registration process of foreign cars!
She told me to enter the town nevertheless. If I registered my car and entry correctly I would not be fined. The town would be sending me an email with payment instructions at a later moment.
Here we go: this is the entry point for Barcelona’s ‘Zona Bajas Emissiones. An unassuming sign at the side of the road. Spanish cars are automatically set up and can have either full access if someone is a resident or very limited access as us foreign cars: 10 days a year.
In any case – foreign cars may only enter if pre-authorized and registered. All other details on the ZBE can be found here.
In Barcelona, things are as usual – a very pretty city with lots of traffic and even more red lights.
It’s always a treat to see a far-away city from a TWIKE!
We crossed the city within an hour or so and then were back on our national road in direction Tarragona – I’ve already driven along this road multiple times and am looking forward to another stretch of coastal road along the cliffs with dramatic views and small villages.
One highlight was a poster at a petrol station en-route with some interesting statistics – see for yourself!
What a surprise! Home charging is the cheapest option! We EV drivers have known this for ever. The only issue is with where the electricity comes from –
I’ve been going on about this for a while, especially since my extended family owned an apartment in Spain and we saw the highly informative utility bills which detail in excruciating detail how much CO2 and milligrams of highly radioactive residue is created by every kWh consumed…it’s not a pretty picture in Spain. – see link above for more info from TDE2019. It turns out that a large current-gen EV produces more CO2 than a green-tech Diesel car per km, assuming Spain’s standard energy mix! (And I’m not even taking the many milligrams of highly radioactive residue into account which a Diesel car definitely does not produce!) Ah, the pleasures of complicated things that need to be explained to standard consumers…
We on the other hand were pretty smug in our TWIKE – whilst ICE drivers were forking out €7.17 for 100 km in fuel costs, most of our charges were free and if we were to pay for them, it would be around €0.91 / 100 km for the TWIKE assuming private consumer rates. Yay!
Later that afternoon we felt like it was time again for a break. A small fishing village complete with a super cute and very typical tapas bar filled with locals and our favourite foods and devoid of tourists beckoned and we just had to stop.
I’ve already written a few times about our love for tapas, specifically Chorizitos and Boquerones. I could easily live off these two items…plus some G&T. 🙂
A good hour and some drinks later, we’re ready for the last 20km to our place at the beach in Sant Salvador.
Driving along the sea never gets old – I could do this for the rest of my life if I would no longer have to work.
We arrive at our place with everything already set up and drinks / ice ready for us. Our apartment is very nice with private beach access and a great pattio. We’re all looking forward to spending the week here before heading onwards…to places unknown, as we have not yet decided/reserved anything.
I really like this about my family and wife: the ability to be relaxed and keep all options open and not needing to reserve anything months in advance. I initially had planned to go on vacation in June and had to cancel my time off at the last minute due to some important process going on at my company. If we would have reserved something for the three weeks – we would have lost quite a lot of money.
An interesting EV/emissionless.ch related item is the fact that in Spain for a while plugs were compatible to Switzerland (TYPE J, not TYPE N) – before mass adoption of TYPE F Shuko-style plugs everywhere. I still maintain that both TYPE N and J are one of the best and most space-efficient non-reversable and safe plug types out there. Italy’s TYPE L is the most efficient space-wise but reversable.
Now, let’s get to today’s stats before signing off for a week of relaxation: