Sant Salvador was a revelation – such an cute little coastal town. Foreign tourists – very few, no English signs, very Spanish and relaxing. We enjoyed good seafood and went to the beach every day, enjoying the sun and very reasonable temperatures given the heatwave elsewhere in Europe.
As mentioned before, we didn’t book anything until the last minute and that was true for the second week of our summer break as a family – we had the option of heading further south or returning to France’s southern coast for some days…which we decided to do as we liked the Camargue and wanted to visit Sainte Maries de la Mer.
The distance to cover today is >500km. The original plan was to return via Barcelona’s LEZ but at the last minute I decided to take an alternate route around 100km inland, taking me to places I’ve not yet been.
Today’s goal is to cover distance quickly and not hyper-miling. This is why my trip computer shows much less range than usual.
The first few km are still along the shore but very quickly I’m heading away from the sea for the day.
Very gradual climbing lets me enjoy very cool air for quite a bit. Nature, meanwhile, was pulling out all stops – the pre-sunrise colors in the sky were insane.
Eventually, I got to see the first hills I will be crossing today. With the sun rising temperatures rose, too. The route took me though a hilly landscape with an unnoticeable but steady rise in my average altitude. I – to my surprise – eventually made it up all the way to 900 m ASL to feel cold in my t-shirt driving along.
My phone then chirped and gave me some digital wellbeing news – the confirmation that I really didn’t use my phone too much last week!
Cruising along at 80 kph obviously drained the battery much quicker (nearly twice the usual consumption) as usual and saw me checking for charging stations just before the french border in Figueres where my charge card providers showed a commercial charging station with 22 kW and 63 € Cent / kWh.
Also, I wanted to eat some breakfast and the Churros my wife and I ate in Figueres just a week ago were divine…so Figueres it is. This charge will not be a full charge – I’m planning on adding around 8kWh (around an hour for my quick-charge enabled TWIKE) whilst eating my Churros.
Whilst driving to the charging station through Figueres, I spied a set of simple Type2 charging stations at the local Lidl and thought…hmm – they might be already active and useable for free.
I checked and hey, these are serious charging points: 22 kW peak power (much more than the very reasonably sized 7.1 kW single-phase chargers at Carrefour). Also, no activation required – just plug and charge.
These installations are a very good initiative and I feel like this is – yet again – a golden phase for long distance non-Tesla-EV drivers like me.
10 years ago, I could be sure that any charging station I would decide to use to recharge en-route would be available and free. Eventually, all of them would be usually occupied by i3 or Tesla drivers…especially the free ones. Depending on where they are located, even non-free commercial charging stations are not much better nowadays.
Are we back to an oversupply of charging stations due to initiatives like this one or Carrefour? With typically zero customers with EV’s I predict that rising energy costs and people being forced to save that they will eventually start hogging these charging points just to keep their mobility costs low…which in turn will force Lidl to introduce some sort of measure to get these people to identify themselves and pay for the energy if they don’t buy products (above a certain amount) and start charging them if they overstay.
For me, today, the experience was grand: Arrive, plug in the Type2 cable, get energy, feel hungry, go eat Porras.
The Churreria I was a week ago was closed. However, the one we actually had wanted to go was open…and just 150m away.
This time I indulged in the full set, complete with ‘con Chocolate’. I dunk the Porras in the chocolate and get the maximum calorie/fat hit possible. It had a very, very nice effect on my overall happyness today!
After this very satisfying intermezzo I return to the TWIKE to find the charge still going on at full rate but the temperatures being critical.
My TWIKE has ZERO temperature management. At 40°C outside temperature, a 5°C rise of the battery itself is not worrying at all, especially considering the quick charge they are being subjected to. But 45°C is the maximum temperature according to Samsung SDI’s battery specification and I want to avoid a thermal runaway event.
Both motor and electronics are either close or above their critical / warning design temperatures.
Time to stop the charge and let everything cool down by driving a little slower.
Before leaving I head into Lidl for some aircon and to buy water and some ice-cold soda.
Just before I left, checked how much energy had been consumed by the charges. The charger itself was 6 months old and only showed a 36 kWh / month consumption. Broken down to a daily 1.2 kWh average consumption, my 8.2 kWh charge of today is way over the norm!
Leaving Figueres, the next hills that move into view are the ones between Spain and France. Heading left I could go to Andorra but that would add about 200km to my trip today and isn’t an option.
I cross into France on the normal road and quickly reach Perpignan. This time I don’t stop here but push further. Temperatures are crazy – 42°C. Driving along the flat roads without any wind is just like driving through a huge furnace. Hot air above the road gets pushed into the TWIKE. Not a nice experience.
Eventually my phone which is partly in the shade decides to quit in two steps: first, not charging anymore…
Then, shutting down all apps, even maps, and only letting me use the phone app. Time to stop at a petrol station and get the phone down to acceptable temperatures.
My next stop for today is meeting a long-time reader of this blog, Pat. He saw the route I had planned and reached out with an offer I could not refuse: Rosé wine and a plug.
Weatherwise – a grey front with gusty winds was coming up and I was rather happy about it – I was drinking water at a rate of 1 litre per hour and still felt rather dehydrated.
Later afternoon, I made it to their apartment and was greeted by Pat and his family. We set up the charge immediately and settled down to drink a few first glasses of rosé wine before heading down to the beach for some more drinks and a bite to eat.
Ah this is where life begins! Seafood, sensibly priced!
The grey front even brought a few-minute-long drizzle that did wonders to reduce the temperatures. I bid farewell to Pat and his family and started my last 80km stretch of road which was very tricky as the wind came back with very strong gusts and the roads were – for a lack of a word – soapy with humidity mixing with months-old dust and rubber on the surface. Many a roundabout I went around sideways!
I survived the 80km to arrive at Grau du Roi and was welcomed by my family in our new apartment I had booked the night before.
Today’s drive was long but nice and varied. Especially having the luck to find the Lidl charging station and spending time with Pat whilst recharging a second time.
The consumption levels show what driving fast and not hypermiling look like: instead of the usual 33Wh/km I’m up to 53 today (well, this is still 3-8 times less than today’s EV’s but nevertheless)
Later that evening, we explore Grau as a family, catch a bite and a drink. The bar we ended up at had an interesting take on drink sizes!
We’re going to stay here for a few days and enjoy French-style summer beach holidays.
I then will start the trip back home on my own in order to get in another few days just me and TW560.