Lidl at Laon

Getting our third charge of the day (and still without it costing us anything).

Again, there are two charging points in the Lidl supermarket car park. But, again, only one is working. Well that’s not quite true. The first one looked as if it was all fine, then demanded an RFID card, despite being emblazoned with a sign saying ‘Borne en libre accés’. But neither of our RFID cards worked (one French, one English). Slightly worse than that, once the DC CCS plug was in, we couldn’t get it back out. After a few minutes of jiggling and a minor panic, we freed it.

Obviously the other terminal worked like a dream.

On the last motorway stretch between Bully-les-Mines and Laon (amusing pronounced by the BMW sat-nav letter by letter as L-A-O-N) we experimented with the REx Range which is meant to keep the battery topped up using the onboard generator. When we’ve used it in Britain it works well, and the amount of charge left in the battery rarely changes by more than 1%. But on a French motorway at 130kmph it’s very different and a bit worrying. Even with the REx on, the battery charge starts slowly dropping half a percent at a time, and it doesn’t stabilise.

There’s an obvious solution, which is to slow down a bit. So we do. And at 110kmph the REx does its job and the charge stops dropping. So why worry? Well, ahead of us we’ve some fairly long sections climbing to get over some hills into Switzerland, and then finally up the valley to Champéry. If the charge drops like that just with drag at 130kmph, what’s going to happen in the mountains?

Since we started talking about the trip people have been asking “Are you sure you’ll make it all the way?”. Oddly, this is the first moment we start to ask the same question ourselves.

250 miles down, who knows how many more to go…

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