Highlights of our 5300 km electric trip from Michigan to Romania

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Every trip, short or long, has its beauty, difficulties and special memories. Our trip on two continents started on Christmas Day in Livonia, Michigan, with final destination Timisoara, Romania. But first we had to get our brand new Model 3 to Baltimore, just in time for shipping it to Europe on January 7th, 2019.

With support of the Tesla Super Charger network in US, the first stage (619 miles, 990 km) was a walk in the park.

Leaving our new Tesla in the port of Baltimore on December 27, was a somewhat emotional moment. We were looking forward to recover it in Drammen, Norway around January 21st. This is where the real adventure begins.

Our Model 3 was two weeks late and information was scarce about why and where the car got stuck. Tracking the vessel carrying our car doing “doughnuts” in front of Bremerhaven, Germany, did not help either, as did not the strike in Seebruegge, Belgium, both ports and operations somehow connected to the shipment of our car.

Picking up the car in Drammen was even more fun, as it snowed seriously over the weekend. We got a shovel to free up the Tesla from the Norwegian winter grip and it took about one hour of good exercise at – 15 C …

With enough “US electrons” left to reach Asker, we made it to our friends at Elbilmek. Valdemar and his team provided a 32 A type 2 cable, the first EU full charge and tips about how to charge a US spec Tesla in Europe … slow, very slow.

Compared to the Super Charger speed in US, we got max 10 kW charging at AC stations in Europe, but we knew this ahead of our trip from Erwin, when we bought the adapter from evChargeking.

As a retired couple, time is on our side and the slow pace of our trip, was in the end the very best experience from crossing 6 countries in Europe (Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Austria, Hungary), before reaching our destination in Romania.

We spent magic moments with our friends in Malmo, who drove for the first time an electric vehicle. The warm reception at the local Tesla Service Center, after showing up with our US spec Model 3 categorized as a “grey car” in Europe by Tesla, was very welcoming.

What means driving a “grey” Model 3 in Europe? … no access to Tesla’s own SuperCharger network or destination chargers, no possibility to use CHAdeMO or CCS adapters, no GPS, no connectivity. Why would anybody do something so stupid then, as to bring their car from US to Europe?

First of all because we waited a long time for this car and we really love it !

But there is also a financial benefit of doing it, because renting a car for three month in Europe and paying for overpriced gas, instead of (mostly free) electricity, is far more expensive than shipping your own car. In addition, in Europe you have to return the rented vehicle to the same country where you picked it up, and this was not our plan.

After several black and white winter days with snow, ice, fog and very strong cross winds, while crossing the bridge from Sweden to Denmark, Copenhagen looked gorgeous under the warm colors of the morning sun.

And so did our Model 3 in front of Copenhagen’s new Opera House.

Same in Hamburg, with images competing for the most beautiful morning cityscape with those of Denmark’s capital one day before.

In addition, friendly people at Tesla’s store downtown Hamburg helped us out with the a basic 16 A travel adapter. This is required to be able to charge with the Tesla’s US Model 3 UMC at home in Europe.

The days spent with former co-workers in the Ruhr area, relatives in Wetzlar and old friends in Mainz were very relaxing and charging at home demonstrated again to be the best option for EV owners who are not in a hurry.

Driving to the southwestern part of Germany, into the Black Forest mountains feels like taking a step into a fairy tail country. Great hospitality, good food, excellent beer and phenomenal weather made our “Schwarzwald” trip the absolute highlight of the entire two continents trip.

How can you beat climbing in a Model 3 to 1200 m (3900 ft) on a perfect winter day, with lots on snow and beautiful sunshine? … may be just by rushing into the next valley, using regen breaking and taking advantage of the stiff suspension and low center of gravity.

The next stop in Tuttlingen was dedicated to meeting Drey, one of our greatest supporters and adviser in all things US spec Tesla in Europe, and his mom, who makes the best bean soup in the world. Thanks again for inviting us to stay for lunch !

In Munich we met a great team at the local Tesla Service Center. They tried to help with faster charging methods, even so everybody was overwhelmed by the “Model 3 invasion”, as local sales just started three days before our arrival.

In Vienna same picture of long waiting lines for service and overcrowded nearby streets by new Model 3s, waiting for their local customers. Soon enough, after Tesla’s production and logistics hell, “service hell” will become the main complaint of European customers. Current facilities and teams cannot absorb the workload generated by the Model 3 invasion. The “No time for burn outs” coffee mug on the service tech’s desk, tells the story clear and loud. Hopefully Tesla will listen.

Somewhat concerned about charging in Hungary, we arrived at the Holiday Inn in Budapest and the receptionist was happy to inform us they had just installed three Tesla destination chargers. It was beyond difficult to explain, that we had to look for a non – Telsa charger … “But don’t you drive a Tesla ?” she asked with honest surprise. How do you explain in a foreign language that driving a “grey Tesla” forces a Tesla owner to search for non Tesla chargers?

However, our final destination in Timisoara, Romania was close enough to not worry anymore about anything. Charging overnight for free at the local Media Market store, as we did before at IKEA, Kaufland and some local public stations in Norway and Sweden was just a bonus of our 5300 km trip.

Who cares if your Model 3 is black or white ? … or even “grey” in Tesla’s definition ? The joy of driving the best car you ever owned in eight countries on two continents can not be spoiled by anything.

Already looking forward to our next Tesla adventure.

semnatura Monica & Dan

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Dan Boboescu

My lifelong career in automotive started with design and testing of ICEs (internal combustion engines), continued with service and car sales, evolved into global seating design, requirements and knowledge management, to recently find a passion for electromobility.

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