Living in Michigan forced us to pick up our first Tesla in Lyndhurst, Ohio on November 2nd, 2018. As if having the closest service three hours away from home is not crazy enough, soon we decided to take our beloved new car to Europe.
We wrote extensively about the inconvenience (no access to SuperCharger network, slow type 2 charging, no navigation) of traveling with a US Tesla in Europe, but the joy of visiting friends and beautiful places, meeting extremely nice people, like Drey and his family, always willing to help, made our trip to Romania a very slow endeavor.
After arriving in the medieval town of Sibiu, the European Culture Capital in 2007, and performing several parallel drive tests with our Model 3 and a Hyundai Ioniq, we realized the major impact a comparative experience has for people, helping to better understand the joy of electric driving and its major contribution to educate about electromobility.
As a retired couple with plenty of time, our initial three months travel plans, extended to six months, dedicated to a series of events allowing 79 drivers and 154 passengers in Romania, Germany, Sweden and Norway, to experience the Model 3 magic.
For our test drives we picked some of the most beautiful places around Sibiu, the National Park Semenic, Dracula’s Castle in Bran, the auto-show in Brasov and our home town, Timisoara, the designated European Cultural Capital in 2021.
We had to depart on August 20, just as the Model 3 was becoming popular with Romanian buyers, even without benefiting of the 45000 RON (about 10500 USD) subvention for electric cars, one of the highest in Europe, because Tesla is not officially present in Romania.
With great help of very nice people at the Tesla service centers in Linz, Austria, and Nuernberg, Germany, we experienced first hand the power of OTA updates, allowing us to fast charge using ChadeMo charging stations with an US adapter.
Fast charging on our way back to Norway, allowed us to offer longer test drives to our friends and also to move much faster to our final European destination, port of Drammen, meanwhile enjoying some high speed driving on German Autobahns.
In Scandinavia we found a completely changed automotive landscape. Compared to February, when the first Model 3s reached Europe, and people were curiously asking about our US car, by September it was normal to park next to another Model 3.
The Model 3 tsunami took the European market by storm, climbed quickly to be the number one BEV in Europe and even became the best sold model of any type in Norway, Nederland and Switzerland.
However, the service network did not keep up with the huge increase of cars over a short period of time and we met customers not happy at all with the European Tesla service delays.
We dropped off our car in Drammen, a major entry port for Tesla in Norway, the largest European market so far, and recovered it in Baltimore on October 22nd, just in time for its one year anniversary.
After getting back to the full long distance capabilities of our Model 3, this time supported by the US SuperCharger network, navigation and connectivity, we could not resist to take advantage of the peak fall colors in Shenandoah National park and drove the entire 105 mile winding road of the Sky Drive.
From February to September we had to use multiple apps to identify charging stations in Europe (managed by over 6000 providers) and several RFID cards, to be able to start and stop charging. Being able to enjoy again the smooth Tesla customer experience on our way back to Motor City was a blessing.
Happy birthday and many more electric adventures to come !